ST. LOUIS, Dec. 27, 2013 - Dave White, former chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, has been honored by U.S. rice producers for his innovative conservation achievements. White received the USA Rice Federation’s Distinguished Conservation Achievement Award at the 2013 USA Rice Outlook Conference in St. Louis.

“Dave worked very closely with the rice industry during his tenure as NRCS chief,” said Leo LaGrande, a California rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Producers’ Group conservation committee. “His vision and foresight led to the development and implementation of the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative in several mid-South and Gulf of Mexico coastal states, including the five rice-producing states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.”

White helped develop the program to provide habitat for millions of migratory birds after their annual habitats were damaged by the Gulf oil spill. Most of the program’s enrolled acres were rice fields. White also worked closely with the California rice industry to develop and implement the Waterbird Habitat Enhancement Program, based on the efforts in the Gulf region, the USDA said in a department blog.

NRCS is also working with the Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership, composed of Point Blue Conservation Science, Audubon California and The Nature Conservancy, to monitor bird response to the new conservation activities undertaken by California farmers.


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