Industry News

Rice Receives Commodity Specific Exemptions in State Wetlands Definition, Dredge and Fill Procedures. No changes to Crop Conversion

Rice Receives Commodity Specific Exemptions in State Wetlands Definition, Dredge and Fill Procedures. No changes to Crop Conversion

As a result of months of close work with the State Water Resources Control Board, rice (and wild rice) growers have received commodity specific exemptions in the newly adopted Wetlands Definition and Dredge and Fill Procedures. The language covers rice and wild rice production, and cultural practices associated with production, while designating rice fields as a water of the state. Importantly, rice fields have not been assigned a Wildlife Beneficial Use, or any other beneficial use designation, which would have had significantly impacted voluntary habitat practices undertaken by the industry.

In the approved regulation, cropping changes are allowed on prior converted cropland and wetlands that are, or have been, in rice or wild rice production within the last five years and have not been abandoned due to five consecutive years of non-use in rice production. This provision is of great concern to the environmental interests, and it is expected that the issue of crop conversion may be taken up in future review and updates of the regulation.

The CRC will work with our legal counsel to provide additional information about conversion of croplands under current state and federal regulations.

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Remembering Bill Huffman, 1945-2021

Remembering Bill Huffman, 1945-2021

With great sadness, we share the news of Bill Huffman’s passing on August 3, 2021 after years of struggling with ALS. 

Bill was a fixture in the industry during his 33 years of service to Farmers’ Rice Cooperative. He was an encyclopedia of industry knowledge and made it his life’s work to advance California rice. Bill made an effort to befriend everyone he ran into whether a politician or a doorman. After a few minutes of banter he figured out that he likely knew someone they knew. Bill loved politics and always a gentleman. Ever quick with a joke or a prank, he will be missed.