Rice Farming

 - USA Rice Federation Update -

Web site redesign increases
accessibility to rice information

By Jennifer James
Communications Committee Chairwoman
USA Rice Federation

The redesigned USA Rice Federation Web site –www.usarice.com– launched last month opens new doors to the work of the Federation and its members. The new site vastly improves on a design that wasn’t easy to use.

As soon as the new front page appears on your screen, you have access to useful information. Along with the latest Federation news, there is access to the weather for your area, the rough rice commodities exchange in Chicago, an events listing, recipes, images and much more.

The USA Rice Web site was designed specifically for Federation members, but with a keen eye to the interests of consumers, food processors, the retail and foodservice trades, nutritionists, mass media and the trade press and virtually anyone interested in rice.

Drop-down menus simplify site navigation
The navigation bar at the top of the page featuring drop-down menus is especially useful. They place you only one click away from detailed information about USA Rice member organizations, government affairs work, meetings and international markets in which the Federation is active.

A conservation section has been included on the front page, but one may also access conservation information though the “GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS” drop-down menu. That’s where one will find information on legislative and regulatory affairs issues, as well as “R.I.C.E. – Act Now” (Rice Information to Communicate/Educate – Act Now), the primary resource for USA Rice government affairs grassroots’ initiatives.

The drop-down menu associated with the “CONSUMERS” button will take users to pages for recipes; rice cookers, preparation and storage; and answers to frequently asked questions. Schools will also find information for their use.

Under the “NUTRITION” button are pages for health professionals, as well as information about the gluten-free aspect of rice; USDA’s Women, Infants and Children’s program; and videos

Users may also search the site with a new and more robust search engine accessible on the front page through the “SEARCH” button on the left hand navigation bar.

Staff members update the Web site
The new Web site was designed under the direction of a Federation staff task force that first sought direction from the wider USA Rice staff and the USA Rice Communications Committee. As the site was developed, staff sought further input from members of the USA Rice Federation Board of Directors.

Web sites should be dynamic enterprises that are constantly updated and informative. Users should find them easy to use. Updates and changes should be possible without needing to employ expensive Internet consultants, and that is the case here. Staff members are able to update the site as necessary with minimal consultation from outside help.

As you view www.usarice.com, we encourage you to send feedback so that the staff may remain informed of industry user needs. One site can’t fulfill all needs, but the staff is working to ensure that the information needs of rice growers, millers, merchants and allied interests are met to the greatest extent possible.

Looking to the future, USA Rice staff members will continue to enhance and update the site so that it remains relevant and timely for our members and other users. Among features soon to come is the ability for USA Rice members to use the Web site to generate letters to House and Senate lawmakers.

We are excited about the availability of this new communications tool and hope that you’ll visit the site soon and, better yet, bookmark it, make it your home page and add a link to it from your own Web site. Be sure to let us know what you think, too!

For more about USA rice programs, visit www.usarice.com.