SmartRice® is a Sustainable Choice
As a conscious consumer, we understand that you are hungry for sustainability and demand environmental common sense from everything you purchase. That’s precisely what SmartRice delivers: the smallest carbon footprint of any commercially grown rice. SmartRice is produced using 51% less water per acre and emitting >50% less carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses when compared to conventional rice production in the US Mid-South. With a yield advantage of +22.5%, SmartRice also feeds more people per acre of land used. Our sustainability claims have been independently verified by SCS Global Services .
How Is SmartRice More Sustainable?
Over 30 years of farming, we have developed, with the help of many university experts, the best management practices for farming rice. By stacking multiple practices, we can accomplish the claims above. This entails taking care of the soil, water, and air along with the wildlife that inhabit our property. We accomplish this by using no-till or minimum tillage practices that disturb less soil, thus having the least erosion possible. Next, we developed a nutrient management plan that allows us to maximize yields without having nutrients leave the farm. This is monitored through soil testing along with outbound water testing. Planting hybrid seed has been proven to use less water, and fertilizer, while making higher yields. Water is a critical resource that we strive to conserve.
This is accomplished by first using as much surface water as possible. Surface water consists of rainfall that travels through the farm in drainage ditches, streams, etc. During irrigation, we use a technique called alternate wetting and drying (AWD). Rice fields are flooded and allowed to naturally evaporate until the soil is dry. When rice dries during the growing season, the microbial community living in the soil goes dormant. Once this happens, methane gas that is naturally occurring in flooded environments ceases. In 2020, a solar field was installed at Whitaker Farms to help offset our energy use, and now the farm is almost 100% renewable.
Once the rice is harvested, fields are prepared for winter by stopping the drains and catching rainfall. This flooding, along with rice being a favorite staple for migrating birds, makes Whitaker Farms an ideal place to spend the winter, providing essential habitat to millions of waterfowl, geese, and shorebirds – part of our greater commitment to responsible agriculture.
A Solution for World Hunger
SmartRice is one of the crops necessary to help satisfy the world’s growing appetite. The world’s population is forecasted to surpass 9 billion by 2037, and a large portion of the world’s population consumes rice as a major part of their diet. It is projected that by 2050, worldwide rice productivity will need to increase by as much as 70%. This demand can only be met by significantly increasing crop productivity while decreasing the amounts of precious resources used. SmartRice is a smart choice, as we are committed to creating a better future for our world by pioneering how rice is grown in a more sustainable way.