Arkansas Discovery Farms, Anheuser-Busch partner to host rice production field day in NEA

by George Jared ([email protected]) 315 views 

A rice production field day will be held Wednesday (July 20) and will be co-hosted by the Arkansas Discovery Farm Program and Anheuser-Busch. It will highlight water and nutrient efficiency, carbon sequestration and include tours of the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center, Pratt Farms and Busch Agricultural Resources.

The field tour will be 8:30 a.m. and begin at the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center located on Arkansas 1 in southern Poinsett County.

Anheuser-Busch uses millions of tons of rice as a primary ingredient in its staple beers including Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. More than 70% of the rice it uses is grown in Arkansas and the top input for the crop is water.

The company is trying to find ways to aid farmers in developing and implementing water conservation practices and it donated $100,000 to USA Rice to support the Rice Stewardship Partnership (RSP). It has supported the program in each of the last four years.

The RSP is a public-private venture between USA Rice, Ducks Unlimited, USDA, and supply chain partners that provides growers with technical and financial support to transition to more efficient irrigation, nutrient, and energy practices while creating wildlife habitat on working ricelands.

“We are excited about co-hosting this field day with Anheuser Busch to focus attention on continuous improvement to increase profitability in rice production through more efficient use of soil and water resources in real-world situations,” said Mike Daniels, director of the Discovery Farms program and an extension specialist in water quality. “Greater efficiency is becoming an increasingly important consideration in agricultural sustainability and profitability, especially in light of rising inflation and potential supply-chain issues with inputs.”

The research is being funded in part by a grant from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation which supports the Arkansas Discovery Farm Program’s network of working farms that document the impact of conservation on water quality and soil health to serve as learning hubs for the industry.

“Please join us for a Discovery Farm roadshow showcasing innovative and efficient farming practices from multiple inlet rice irrigation. to cover cropping,” said Bill Jones, agronomist for Anheuser-Busch. “It is my goal to share the great work the Discovery Farm system is doing to research to allow local growers, agronomists and industry members to make more informed decisions.”

Jones said the company’s commitment to soil health practices is directly related to its 2025 sustainability goals and “ambition to be net zero by 2040 and educating all stakeholders in the region is critical to succeeding at scale.”

Anheuser-Busch is the leading consumer of rice in the country, according to the company. It buys about $120 million worth of rice each year, and most of the rice used by the company is grown within an hour’s drive of Jonesboro. At its local mill located just outside the city’s limits, about 2.6 million pounds of rice is milled each day.

The agenda for the day can be found at Arkansas Discovery Farm program.