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Q.1-7: Rice Agriculture and Wildlife Conservation in California: A grower’s perspective

Presented by Luke Matthews - Email: lmatthews@calrice.org

In the face of large-scale changes to agricultural practices, we developed a survey to better understand how environmental and economic factors shape the decisions made by rice growers related to post-harvest practices on their farms. We sent a comprehensive survey to 1,650 rice growers to solicit information on post-harvest management of fields, costs of common post-harvest treatments, water-related costs of rice agriculture, and views of growers towards wildlife and hunting. We achieved a 20.2% response rate (based on American Association for Public Opinion Research 4.0 calculations). Key observations from our survey include the following: 1) 89% of rice farmers and landowner allow hunting on their property; 27% of those collect fees from leases, which enables them to recoup 63% of their water costs. 2) Over 80% of respondents view rice as either ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ as both food and habitat for wildlife, despite the observation that 70% and 60% of grower’s experience wildlife related losses in the spring and fall respectively. 3) 50% of respondents indicated that water costs would be the primary factors causing them to stop post-harvest flooding. The average water cost that growers were willing to pay, before shifting away from flooding, was approximately $24/acre. 4) Finally, when asked which post-harvest treatment growers would use if they did not have winter water, 89% of the respondents would select to incorporate waste straw (using a variety of methods).
Session: Poster Session 2 (Wednesday, August 28, 19:00 to 21:00)