If you are wondering whether eating rice is healthy not just for your body but for the environment too, don’t feel guilty. The production of rice enhances the environment if done properly.
Each year, in the US, about 3 million acres of rice are produced. The cultivated fields supply valuable habitat for all types of animals ranging from reptiles to birds to mammals. The US Rice growing fields are vital to wild life, especially the over-wintering areas for so many waterfowl and shorebirds of the Central, Mississippi and Pacific flyways. Every year ducks, geese and shorebirds fly to rice fields to feed and become strong for their long return trip to northern nesting grounds.
Rice fields are essential to millions of migrating waterfowl. Fallen grain and weed seeds act as food for these wintering waterfowl. The fields provide shelter for aquatic insects. The birds eat these bugs to develop new feathers and enhance their breeding. Rice fields are essential food and habitat substitutes for the once natural marsh and wetlands drained during earlier settlement.
Rice production also enhances the water quality. Because rice is grown in fields where water is held for a period of time, this holding results in having cleaner fields. The clear water from these fields provides a positive effect in the nearby rivers or streams. The rice industry, minus those rice fields that use chemical pesticides and fertilizers, provides a healthy habitat for animals that conservation and environmental organizations are praising.
Farmers producing rice are able to use land otherwise impossible to plant on. By using heavy clay soils that hold water, nothing is wasted. As they wait for the rice to mature, the flooded fields are like holding ponds, aerating the water while sunlight and time break down the chemicals. This natural phenomenon returns the water purer than before it was drawn into the fields. Rice paddies are also noted to prevent erosion or blowing away of dry soil. With the new technological advances in agriculture, farmers are able to conserve more than two-thirds of the water requirements 30 years ago.
After harvest, the fields are filled with rice straw, which are not useless as once thought to be. Rice straw can be used for soil incorporation techniques, in building materials, as mulches and is an energy source.
Rice is so versatile in any form and in any stage of production. There are so many things that can be produced from rice for any part of a meal: soups, salads, main dishes, desserts and drinks. So easy to cook and cheap to purchase, a person just needs to be creative with rice. Check out the many recipes we have here at Planetveggie and you will be amazed. Rice talk is cheap, and it’s sweet too!
The rice industry, minus those rice fields that use chemical pesticides and fertilizers, provides a healthy habitat for animals that conservation and environmental organizations are praising.