Rice-growing experiment will cut water use but subtract from habitat

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BY DALE KASLER AND RYAN SABALOW

California’s rice farmers pride themselves on environmental stewardship, saying theirflooded fields provide habitat for millions of ducks and geese in an era when traditional marshlands have largely disappeared.

Now a giant Yolo County farm controlled by the family of Sacramento land baron Angelo K. Tsakopoulos will test whether it can grow rice with water measured in drops.

Conaway Ranch, a 17,000-acre farm in which the Tsakopoulos family acquired controlling interest in 2010, said Monday it will work with water-use experts from Israel to experiment with drip irrigation on a small portion of its rice fields. The project, aimed at reducing water usage, will start this spring on a 50- to 100-acre test plot.

Read more here: Sacramento Bee, March 21, 2016

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