By Lexi Clark, USA Rice
KAPLAN, LA -- Coinciding with September National Rice Month, Louisiana rice farmer Christian Richard is being recognized by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as their Farmer Spotlight Honoree for his commitment to conservation and stewardship. He was nominated for the honor for his leadership and advocacy for sustainability in rice production.
Richard is a sixth-generation rice farmer with a desire to leave the land better than it was before. As he says, "U.S. farmers should not be afraid to tell their story of how we are being productive while conserving natural resources and maintaining the safest food supply in the world."
Through his involvement in the Louisiana Master Farmer Program, Richard developed a resource management system plan. Though he has been working to address resource concerns on his farm for many years, he didn't have a way to quantify those environmental outcomes and realized that documenting his sustainability improvements could facilitate greater trust with the supply chain and provide consumers with more specific information about environmental performance.
"Use of tools, such as the Field to Market Fieldprint® Platform, to document the field-level metric performance is necessary to meet consumer demands," Richard said. "Farmers can be more pro-active in providing feedback to our customers and stakeholders."
Field to Market's Fieldprint® Platform is an online tool that helps farmers better understand and communicate how management decisions affect overall sustainability performance and operational efficiency.
Richard is a participant in the Rice Stewardship Partnership Fieldprint® Project sponsored by USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited with a goal of conserving three of the nation's important natural resources: water, wetland wildlife, and working ricelands. The effort combines public and private resources to enhance riceland across the country to improve crop production while providing valuable habitat for waterfowl.
Through his participation in multiple USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, Richard has integrated beneficial conservation practices throughout his farm, including precision leveling and no-till planting.
"We're so proud of Christian as he truly exemplifies the ongoing commitment today's U.S. rice farmers have to not only preserve the environment but to enhance and protect it," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.
The Richard family (photo by Allen Breaux Studio)