By Don Molino, The Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network
Louisiana rice farmer Paul Johnson from Welsh says rice fields are vital to keeping water as clean as possible.
“The rice stubble serves as a field protective sediment for nutrients before they can leave the field,” says Johnson. “Studies have shown water leaving the rice field is 35% cleaner than water leaving any tillage field that is left free to drain.”
According to Johnson most people don’t have a very good idea of what takes place on a rice farm.
“The technical water management, structures, pumps or the money that is invested annually by rice farmers to efficiently irrigate the fields and hold that water.”
Johnson also points out rice fields are vital to another crop: crawfish.
“Crawfish are king in Louisiana,” said Johnson. “Our state provides more crawfish to the rest of the nation than any other state. And the majority of those crawfish are grown in rice fields. The economic benefit that comes from crawfish alone to this state is huge.”
According to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry the Louisiana crawfish industry is worth some $200 million annually.