Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture released The Field to Market 2012 Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators Report, which analyzes sustainability trends for U.S. corn, cotton, potato, rice, soybean, and wheat production on a national scale from 1980 through 2011. The analyses rely on publicly available data to estimate performance on a variety of agricultural sustainability indicators, ranging from soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions, to labor hours and debt-to-asset ratios.

The resource results reported for rice demonstrate significant progress in all measures of efficiency, (per hundredweight of rice produced), with decreases in land use land use (35 percent) soil erosion (34 percent), irrigation water applied (53 percent), energy use (38 percent), and greenhouse gas emissions (38 percent).

"The findings from this report demonstrate that rice producers have made progress in producing more rice with fewer resources," said Newport, Ark., rice farmer Jennifer James, chairman, USA Rice Federation Sustainability Task Force. "As an industry, we remain committed to exploring options to increase rice production and yield to meet growing food demand, while at the same time, preserving our natural resources. This study highlights the progress that has been made and serves as the basis for expanding and our knowledge and understanding of practices that can contribute to future resource efficiency gains," James added.