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New York Rice Farm Searches for Climate-Appropriate Growing Methods

Ever-Growing Family Farm, New York’s only commercial rice farm, is working with a Cornell agronomist to identify the most climate-appropriate methods for growing rice, with funding from a Northeast SARE grant. This season, farmers Nfamara Badjie and Moustapha Diedhou are testing the African Jola people’s traditional method of starting rice plants in the field, rather than in greenhouses, to reduce transplant shock. They’re also experimenting with different rice varieties and transplant timing. Erika Styger, rice scientist, agronomist, and associate director of Cornell University’s Climate-Resilient Farming Systems program, says that with trends of increased rainfall and warmer temperatures in New York, rice could offer a valuable crop for diversifying organic farmers in the area.