- USA Rice Federation Update -
USA Rice’s persistence pays off
The voluntary Seed Plan continues to effectively reduce the presence of
| By Jamie Warshaw|
USA Rice Federation
When my predecessor, Chairman Al Montna, took office on Aug. 1, 2006, we were 17 days away from the announcement of an unexpected event as serious as any the U.S. rice industry has ever faced – the discovery of trace elements of genetically engineered (GE) Liberty Link rice in commercial long-grain samples.
The efforts of USA Rice Federation leadership in the crisis has just two years later resulted in a long-grain commercial rice crop that is virtually free of GE traits. Because of the hard work of rice farmers, millers, merchants, marketers, seed companies, allied businesses and state plant boards, today we can take heart in the good news that recently completed testing of the 2008 crop demonstrates that 99.9 percent of the samples contained no Liberty Link (LLRICE601) traits.
That’s a significant improvement from 2007, when 99.5 percent of the long-grain crop test samples showed no Liberty Link presence. These test results cover the five Mid-South rice-producing states and demonstrate the continuing success in restoring the marketability and competitiveness of U.S. rice at home and in key foreign markets.
Immediate proactive response protects industry
While some sought accommodating and near-term solutions, USA Rice consistently:
USA Rice efforts yield results
In late 2006, nearly one-half of all U.S. rice exports were negatively impacted by the Liberty Link crisis, and markets in the EU and Russia were closed. Those markets have since been re-opened, and USA Rice continues to work with foreign regulators to ensure uninterrupted access for U.S. rice. The ongoing success of the Seed Plan and the credibility and leadership of the USA Rice Federation were critical to re-opening all markets for U.S. rice.
More USA Rice action
USA Rice consistently included all segments of the industry in finding a real solution. USA Rice also advocated with the Bush administration, Congress and individual states on behalf of all U.S. rice farmers. That advocacy included working with foreign trade and government officials here and overseas to re-open markets closed to U.S. rice and also included efforts to keep Mexico, Canada and Asia open to U.S. rice.
Nothing speaks more powerfully to the importance of unity in our industry than what we have accomplished to restore confidence in U.S. rice. My thanks to all of you.
For more about USA rice programs, visit www.usarice.com.