Developed out of strategic planning sessions, with industry member input and full board approval, the start of the 2023-24 fiscal year marks the beginning of a new, pillar initiative lead by the CRC.
The ‘Rice Footprint’ will be a multi-layered effort including the CRC’s policy, conservation, public education, efforts and a newly created grants position. The Rice Footprint will reflect the acreage needed within the Sacramento Valley to sustain habitat, floodplain and small community needs, with the effort ultimately leading to economic incentives to keep rice in production and protections of lands used for rice cultivation.
A comprehensive Rice Footprint economic and environmental study by a team of UC Davis scientists and scholars is underway that will detail the baseline number and distribution of planted rice acres needed within the Sacramento Valley to support the regional economy and rice farming communities, species that are dependent on riceland habitat and the broader environment.
The CRC is currently pursuing voluntary working land easements in rice, with the goal of securing $250 million in the next state resources bond and the creation of new state and federal programs for growers that support voluntary easements in wildlife-friendly rice agriculture.
These are just some of the initial first steps in this multi-year effort. CRC staff is meeting regularly, planning workshops and getting input from the industry, state and partner agencies on the development of the Rice Footprint.