Robbins Rice Company is environmentally minded, focused on four major components of farming: soil, water, air and habitat.
Koshi fields are planted on a rotation schedule to ensure high-quality production and to maintain enriched soils. We plant nitrogen-fixing cover crops during the winter months to help recharge the soil with oxygen and nutrients. The cover crop also protects the ground from erosion from rains and wind. Natural composts are also used to increase soil fertility and reduce the application of commercial fertilizers.
As members of the California Rice Commission (CRC), we adhere to the management plan that the CRC has in place for monitoring, sampling, analyzing, and reporting of water quality, nitrogen, and pesticide use. Formal reports are filed annually as part of the Irrigated Lands Program through the Farm Bureau. This reporting protects the Sacramento Valley watershed's resources.
To maintain air quality in the Sacramento Valley, rice farmers are restricted from burning crop residue. After harvest, straw is either baled for bedding materials or chopped and re-incorporated back into the soil. The fields are then re-flooded to help with decomposition of the organic matter and worked into the ground.
During the winter months, we create beneficial floodplain habitat on post harvest rice ground. Many fields are re-flooded for decomposition after harvest and we hold the water in the fields until late February/early March. These seasonal floodplains benefit nearly 230 different species such as shorebirds, waterfowl, wading birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
Working with lead researchers, we have participated in many of the trial studies and pilot projects that lead to the development of the Waterbird Habitat Enhancement Program (WHEP - NRCS) and BirdReturns (The Nature Conservancy). These programs are funded to create floodplain habitat in the fall and winter months (post harvest), which helps recreate the historic California valley floodplains.