The financial boost has enabled TNC to install irrigation timers on 30 farms to manage water use on approximately 15,000 acres of land located predominantly in critical groundwater areas in the Delta of Arkansas.
Field flooding is an important part of the rice growing process – a critical ingredients in the breakfast cereal giant’s Rice Krispies, Rice Krispies Multigrain Shapes and Rice Krispies Snack Bar – as it helps to control weeds, mitigate soil erosion and maximise crop yields.
The Mississippi Valley Alluvial Aquifer – an underground water source – provides 80% of the water used for rice growing in Arkansas; however, water levels have dropped dramatically due to excessive pumping.
TNC’s timers enable farmers to programme the pumps to irrigate their fields and when finished, the timers turn the pumps off automatically, thereby saving water. In fact, TNC scientists estimate the timers will conserve nine billion gallons of water each year.
“In many areas across the state, the aquifer has 10% or less water left in it,” said Jason Milks, Delta programme director at The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas.
“For every minute the timer saves in pumping time, thousands of gallons of critical groundwater are conserved.”
‘I love helping to feed people’
Mary Gallagher, Kellogg Company responsible sourcing manager, added, “Farmers are working to grow more food with less resources.
“One way Kellogg is supporting farmers is by taking the risk out of trying new practices that can enable more sustainable rice production.”
Local rice farmer Kotton Guest said the support from Kellogg’s will make it easier for farmers to use new conservation techniques.
“I love this land. I love farming and I love helping to feed people,” he said.
“If we’re smart, we’ll be able to keep the water – and the rice – flowing for many generations to come.”
The Arkansas rice project is part of Kellogg’s larger ‘Supporting US Farmers’ collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, aimed at driving positive impact through conservation programmes on 255,000 acres of land across Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan and Nebraska.
It is also aligned with the company’s Heart & Soul commitment to create Better Days for three billion people by the end of 2030 through its Better Days global purpose platform.