A key outcome of the initiative is the development of an independent, credible, rigorous sustainability standard for U.S. rice to respond increasing demands from rice buyers to meet sustainable sourcing requirements as well as consumer demands for food safety.
Rather than re-create the wheel, project partners reviewed options for existing sustainability standards that could be adapted for U.S. rice production. Ultimately, the partners decided to focus on the adaptation of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP).
Co-convened by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the SRP is a global standard for sustainable rice production. The first version of the SRP Standard was published in October 2015 with a focus on small-holder rice growers in southeast Asia.
The SRP was selected for adaptation for the U.S. because it is science-based, focused specifically on rice, supported by a range of international rice buyers and NGOs, and will allow for the comparison of the environmental performance of U.S. rice growers with rice growers from other regions globally.
Partners in the initiative established a Steering Committee of key industry stakeholder representatives to provide and facilitate industry and other interested party input into the adaptation of the SRP for the U.S. Steering Committee members include:
Bob Zeigler, Director General Emeritus IRRI
Cynthia Edwards, Arkansas Department of Agriculture
Dr. Michele Reba, USDA
Scott Manley, Ducks Unlimited
Jim Whitaker, Whitaker Grain
Mark Isbell, Isbell Farms
Brian Otis, RiceTec
Dennis Carman, White River Irrigation District
Jody Pagan, Five Oaks Farms
Mary Grady, Winrock / ACR
Lydia Holmes, USA Rice
Partners have collaborated with rice growers, USA Rice Federation (through its sustainability committee) and the SRP Secretariat and SRP members in the adaptation of the SRP to reflect U.S. policy and regulatory frameworks, government incentive programs and local production situations.
Version 1.0 of the US-SRP was open for public comment between December 15, 2017 and February 15, 2018.
The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) National Interpretation Guideline (NIG) for the U.S.A. (based on the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation v.2.0) was approved for use in the U.S.A. by the SRP Secretariat in May 2020.