Biologist researching growing rice commercially in Wisconsin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Biologist researching growing rice commercially in Wisconsin

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Marquette University biology professor is researching the possibility of growing rice commercially in Wisconsin, despite the state's seasonally cold temperatures.

Native American tribes have been growing wild rice in Wisconsin for generations. But associate professor of biology Michael Schlappi tells Wisconsin Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2t0w2TV ) that growing rice commercially is a different challenge.

About 95 percent of rice grown in the U.S. is done in the warm California weather. But drought that's affected the West is raising questions about how the thirsty crop will be sustained.

Schlappi initially built four rice paddies on the roof of the university. He later moved the project to a Mequon Nature Preserve pond. There, he connected with Hmong refugees who had experience growing rice.

Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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