Purina to back Riceland program

A farmer harvests rice in Monroe County near Brinkley in this September 2020 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staton Breidenthal)

Riceland Foods Inc., headquartered at Stuttgart, and Nestle Purina PetCare (Purina) announced a new partnership to incentivize Riceland farmer-members to grow rice using sustainability practices starting in 2023.

Purina will invest more than $1.5 million over four years in the Riceland-Nestlé Purina PetCare Sustainable Rice Program, according to a news release.

This investment will help Riceland farmer-members with the adoption of environmentally friendly practices, which often take added time and resources that can make implementation difficult, according to the release.

Purina will receive Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas emission reductions that result from the updated farming practices by participating Riceland farmer-members.

Adam Shea, Riceland director of sustainability, said the Purina partnership is a step toward building momentum for Riceland's "Carbon Ready" Program.

"The success of a program like this leans heavily on the partnership and their collective ability to bring value to the overarching goal," Shea said. "As a farmer-owned cooperative, Riceland is uniquely positioned to connect sustainable impacts made at the farm level to consumers and end users."

Providing proof of Scope 3 GHG emission reductions is no simple task, according to the release.

Riceland's partnership with Arva Intelligence makes it possible. As part of the Riceland "Carbon Ready" program, Arva Intelligence will quantify the carbon reductions associated with the various sustainable farm practices in the Riceland-Nestlé Purina PetCare Sustainable Rice Program to provide the proof necessary for Purina to receive associated Greenhouse Gas Emission credits, reducing the company's overall GHG emissions.

"This collaboration with Riceland and Arva Intelligence is another example of our commitment to both rice farmers and the importance of their agriculture stewardship in helping to make the world a better place," said Jack Scott, vice president of Sustainable Sourcing at Nestlé Purina.

"Sustainable rice is relevant to meeting market demands as much as meeting the bold environmental goals we set-out to achieve, which includes a goal of Net Zero by 2050."

Riceland's partnership with Arva Intelligence is key to the success of the Riceland-Nestlé Purina PetCare agreement.

"We are thrilled to be part of this partnership to promote our shared commitment to long-term sustainability," said Jay McEntire, Arva Intelligence chief executive officer and co-founder.

"This is a ground-breaking approach to reward farmers for their tireless efforts to produce quality rice, as well as generate environmental benefits. Arva's technology quantifies the environmental benefits from sustainable practices allowing Riceland members to supply Nestlé with carbon reduction benefits to meet their goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030," McEntire said.

The Riceland program is the gateway program for the cooperative's farmer members to become eligible for incentives for sustainable practices on the farm. Details: Riceland.com.