Rice is central to the agricultural history of the Low Country and will become an increasingly important crop as the world’s population deals with climate change and rising sea levels. Some of our favorite strains, like Carolina Gold, aren’t salt tolerant enough to deal with the growing unpredictability of hurricane seasons and coastal flooding events. Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills and Brian Ward of Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Center are working to develop new rice strains that combine high salt tolerance with preferred flavor profiles. Not only will this work help feed growing and shifting populations of people, it will also provide sustenance for migratory birds who face many challenges to finding enough food on their seasonal journeys.
Kat Johnson and Harry Rosenblum sit down with Roberts and Ward in Charleston to discuss this important work and how Anson Mills, Clemson University, government organizations, and farmers are all working together to ensure rice production remains sustainable in a changing world.
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