For rice producers who are planning to idle any acres this growing season, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has a program that could help wildlife by maintaining seasonal upland nesting habitat on those acres. As a part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), NRCS is currently soliciting applications for rice fields that can provide quality nesting cover for waterfowl during the spring and summer. They are interested in fields that will be idled during the 2022 growing season and have cover crops or significant volunteer vegetation on them. Ultimately, this program will provide an incentive payment to leave vegetation undisturbed for the waterfowl nesting season (April 1 – July 15) and allow access to monitor nesting activity.
- Application Deadline: March 4
- Must have idle rice fields for the 2022 growing season
- Fields that are participating in a water transfer are still eligible
- Must have vegetation on the fields suitable for nesting birds
- Cover crops are preferred but volunteer plants may also be acceptable
- Must have some form of brood water within a half mile
- i.e. flooded rice fields, irrigation canals or ponds
- Leave the fields undisturbed from April 1 to July 15
- Payment rate: $24.10/acre
Producers interested in this program should contact Luke Matthews, Wildlife Programs Manager for the California Rice Commission, at (916) firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthews will be work with NRCS to verify field condition and assist eligible producers with the application process.