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Winrock International

Sustainable Rice Platform for the United States

The Sustainable Rice Platform e.V. (SRP) is a global multi‐stakeholder alliance comprising over 100 institutional members from the public, private, research, civil society and the financial sector.

For updated information about the Sustainable Rice Platform, visit

SRP works with its members and partners towards transforming the global rice sector by improving smallholder livelihoods, reducing the social, environmental and climate footprint of rice production, and by offering the global rice market an assured supply of sustainably produced rice.

SRP promotes resource-use efficiency and climate change resilience in rice systems (both on-farm and throughout value chains) and pursues voluntary market transformation initiatives by developing sustainable production standards, indicators, incentive mechanisms, and outreach mechanisms to boost wide-scale adoption of climate-smart, sustainable best practices among small farmers. Visit to learn more.

The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) program, including assessment tools, performance indicators, claims, logos and labels, is available in the U.S.

Background – SRP in the USA

1-Page Summary

U.S. rice producers are global leaders in sustainable production methods, already adhering to strict environmental, health, safety and labor regulations, and innovating additional, voluntary, sustainable practices. Rice produced in the U.S. is arguably some of the most sustainably produced in the world. However, until now, there was no objective rigorous, and internationally recognized standard against which U.S. producers could make and market the claim of sustainably produced rice.

Since 2012, Winrock – through its Environmental Resources Trust (ERT) enterprise – has been working with U.S. rice farmers in the Mid-South and California to demonstrate the impacts of sustainable rice production practices and technologies to significantly reduce water use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fertilizer use and energy use while enhancing habitat. However, these now proven sustainability practices are not without additional cost and risk and require market-based solutions to increase adoption.

In 2016, White River Irrigation District (WRID), representing a group of Arkansas rice producers, was awarded a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). They partnered with Winrock/ERT and others with the goal of developing an independent, credible, rigorous sustainability standard for U.S. rice to respond to increasing demands from rice buyers to meet sustainable sourcing requirements as well as consumer demands for food safety.

Rather than re-create the wheel, project partners reviewed options for existing sustainability standards that could be adapted for U.S. rice production. Ultimately, the partners decided to focus on the adaptation of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP).

Co-convened by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the SRP is a global standard for sustainable rice production. The first version of the SRP Standard was published in October 2015 with a focus on small-holder rice growers in Southeast Asia.

The SRP was selected for adaptation for the U.S. because it is science-based, focused specifically on rice, supported by a range of international rice buyers and NGOs, and will allow for the comparison of the environmental performance of U.S. rice growers with rice growers from other regions globally.

Partners in the initiative established a Steering Committee of key industry stakeholder representatives to provide and facilitate industry and other interested party input into the adaptation of the SRP for the U.S.

Steering Committee Members

  • Bob Zeigler, Director General Emeritus IRRI
  • Cynthia Edwards, Arkansas Department of Agriculture
  • Dr. Michele Reba, USDA
  • Scott Manley, Ducks Unlimited
  • Jim Whitaker, Whitaker Grain
  • Mark Isbell, Isbell Farms
  • Brian Otis, RiceTec
  • Dennis Carman, White River Irrigation District
  • Jody Pagan, Five Oaks Farms
  • Mary Grady, Winrock / ERT
  • Lydia Holmes, USA Rice

The team followed the SRP Secretariat’s process for developing what are known as “National Interpretation Guidelines, NIGs”, i.e. a version of the SRP Standard questionnaire instrument adapted specifically to a country or region. The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) National Interpretation Guideline (NIG) for the U.S.A. (based on the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation v.2.1) was approved for use by the SRP Secretariat in May 2020.

U.S. producers (or producer groups) can assess their operations using the U.S. specific SRP questionnaire (the SRP NIG for the U.S.A.) . U.S. producers will use all other SRP instruments and guidance for Assurance, Internal Management Systems Standard, Chain of Custody Policy and Standard, Use of Claims/Logos/Labels and overall program participation.

SRP Standard and National Interpretation Guideline for the U.S.A.

The Sustainable Rice Platform Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation
The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation (SRP Standard) is the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice. The SRP Standard is in a questionnaire format and assesses a producer’s progress towards sustainable cultivation across 46 requirements.

The SRP National Interpretation Guideline for the U.S.A. (SRP NIG USA)
SRP recognizes that rice is produced under a wide variety of conditions globally and while the SRP Standard offers normative guidance, practitioners need locally relevant guidance on appropriate best practice recommendations that support the requirements of the Standard. It is also imperative to protect the integrity and core principles of the SRP Standard, while maximizing its relevance and practical applicability within diverse national contexts- including production systems, agroecological environments, socio-ecological circumstances and legal and regulatory frameworks.

National Interpretation Guidelines (NIG), as is available in the U.S.A., are therefore designed to serve as a bridge between the global Standard and local field application. The SRP NIG USA questionnaire instrument was designed specifically for the U.S.A. production system and accounts for all U.S.A. federal and state legislation and agency oversight of agricultural operations. It must be used in conjunction with all other SRP program documents, requirements and policies.

SRP Assurance Scheme
The SRP Assurance Scheme defines rules for actors engaged in measuring compliance or demonstrating improvements, providing demonstrable evidence of compliance with the SRP Standard and the use of SRP trademarks (Claims, Logos or Label) upon achieving assurance.

Documents for SRP in the USA

SRP National Interpretation Guideline for the USA
In the U.S., the SRP NIG USA is the questionnaire instrument that should be used to assess a producer’s progress towards sustainable cultivation. The SRP NIG USA is based on the SRP Standard on Sustainable Rice Cultivation v.2.1 and was approved for use in the U.S. in May 2020.

For more SRP resources visit:



SRP Website: