Water Conservation

Our seed take root in the same precious water in which our children are baptized.  We use that water on our farm to produce humanity's sustenance and to provide habitat for the plentiful fauna and flora that makes home or takes refuge on the place.  We capably produce the most food and wildlife habitat with the least amount of water possible.  Caring for the quality and conservation of aqua sources that are our planet's lifeblood is of foremost importance to us, and our smallest of industy's water footprint allows us to take long strides toward building a healthier environment while growing food with the least amout of water possible.

Gravity works slowly here, a fact best understood after considering our Mississippi Delta farm's elevation is 135 feet above sea level but is located 325 miles north of the point at which her waters eventually meet the Gulf of Mexico.  We use the resulting slow drainage to our advantage.  Our farm, situated between Quiver River and Parks Bayou, is hydraulically its own micro-watershed.  This enables us to store these slow moving waters in the 2 large lakes, 3 miles of bayous, and miles of canals on the place.  We withdraw this water for irrigation as needed, as well as manage and preserve it for the wildlife habitat that it is. 

We are able to grow crops with less water because of our land’s unique topography, soil type, and management.  Over half of the land has no slope whatsoever, and this land is divided according to elevation to impound water so that none escapes unless intention allows.  These water miserly fields act as giant bladders  during Mississippi rains by storing all water for future use. The balance of land is “uphill” from these flat fields and precisely leveled with slope tilting to the flat fields. This feature is integral to our system as any excess water generated in any fashion from the higher elevation sloped fields drains into the flat fields for use by the growing rice and inhabiting creatures.  Water pumping on our perfectly flat fields is generally reduced 50 to 90 percent of typical rice fields, and is often from surface water sources.  In years with high rainfall amounts many of our fields receive no supplemental irrigation-they are rain fed.  This translates into our "green water footprint" consistently being 50 to 90 percent of our "total water footprint" (and our "blue water footprint to be inversely low), extraordinarily high values.  Recycling saves additional water.  Put another way, our flat ecologically farmed fields generally yield at least 50 percent more rice per unit of water used than our conventional fields, and at least 70 percent more rice per unit of water used than our small acreage of organically grown rice produced on flat land.   That's real conservation addressing a very real problem.

Our land's unique topography and management also lends itself to maintaining water quality.  Water slowly flows through our labyrinth of fields and is filtered by the rice and the immense populations of algae, mussels and other mollusk, aquatic worms, and many other invertebrates inhabiting those fields.  The rice and these tiny creatures scavenge nutrients in the water and soil that might otherwise drain unfiltered into bayous, rivers, and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.  Additionally, the land's flatness and our straw management practices ensure that virtually no soil erodes and keeps unused water clean. Our goal is to have any water leaving our farm in excellent condition.

Retained water in ecologically managed fields attracts permanent and migrating waterfowl and summer shorebirds that feed on abundant and nutritionally rich invertebrates and lost seeds.  In turn, the birds' activities leaves the soil in our fields in better tilth and highly fertile for subsequent crops.  

Our water management efforts provide ancillary benefits including reductions in aquifer use, energy costs, and carbon emissions while making high level carbon sequestration possible.  The water and the waterfowl are our main farm tools, doing most or all of our fieldwork for us on nature's terms.