The dreadful droughts of 2011 and 2012 have added to the region’s thirst for more water. Most rice is flooded from a series of canals that feed from northern reservoirs. But urban sprawl has seen regions around Austin and other areas demand more water.

“Our Texas population has skyrocketed,” Danklefs says. “Demand for water has increased tremendously. But no new reservoirs have been built on the Colorado River Basin to compensate for this growth. There is less water for farmers.”

The result has been 50,000 fewer acres planted in rice in some production areas. “Those 50,000 acres not only support farmers, but they also support their employees, employees at mills where we market our rice, truckers who haul it and many others in our small communities,” Danklefs says.

“It’s also an environmental issue. About 1.2 million water fowl migrate into our area. Many of them won’t have a place for migration.”

So with the threat of even less water available if another drought strikes the region, Danklefs sees an even greater need to become better farmers. “We depend on treated seed and other inputs to help us produce the highest yields possible with a reasonable cost of production,” he says.

“We know we’ll have to become more efficient to remain profitable.”