Aerial view of the rice harvest at 3S Ranch, near El Campo, Texas, on July 24, 2020.
3S Ranch is a four-generation rice farming operation owned by the Schiurring Family. Today, Slade Schiurring is in one of the combine harvesters, and his employees are in other harvesters, hopper tractor-trailer rigs, and a grain truck to harvest as much rice as they can before the arrival of Hurricane Hanna, whose rain is expected to make the soil too soft for the farm equipment to work on. Supervising the operation is J Brent Schiurring. The approximately 6,000-acre ranch produces about 1,500 acres of rice. The family applied for and was approved cost-share funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program to implement Conservation Practice Standard 464, IRRIGATION LAND LEVELING to provide the efficient use of water on irrigated land. This is the second crop on fields that were leveled with laser accuracy to make them progressively two inches lower than the adjacent field, allowing water to flow and distribute evenly; plants to grow evenly; and soil that better supports the equipment. Additionally, this process reduces the number of terraces and curved edges that the farm equipment must navigate. USDA Media by Lance Cheung. Original public domain image from Flickr