USA Rice Federation members
took on a new multi-year
challenge in February 2011 to
bolster the marketability and
competitiveness of U.S. long-grain rice in
domestic and international markets.
The Rice Marketability and Competitiveness
Task Force aims to secure the
future marketability of U.S. rice, which
depends on producing high-yielding varieties
that mill well and producing a product
that consumers across the value chain
want to buy. Competitiveness means rice
that provides good returns to growers and
that looks and tastes good to customers.
The goal is to provide reliable data to
rice researchers and breeders about the
market’s assessment of current varieties as
well as identifying those characteristics
that the market values. This will provide
important assistance to the breeding and
seed development community as they
develop new varieties.
Sampling And Assessment Protocol
The task force is completing its first task
– setting up a sampling and assessment
protocol to evaluate varieties of U.S.-
grown and imported long-grain rice
against a series of quantitative and qualitative
factors. What does this mean in practice?
The group seeks to develop data over
time that will measure such tangibles as
kernel length, width, presence of chalk and
bran streaks, as well as qualitative factors
like appearance, kernel color and luster.
While the process of refining sampling
and testing protocols continues, an initial
assessment was made last year of longgrain
varieties grown in 2010. Rice research
stations in all six rice-producing
states provided paddy rice samples, and all
were milled by Louisiana Rice Mill.
Quantitative Factors Assessed
Samples were then sent to nine rice
mills that volunteered to conduct a qualitative assessment against several factors.
Samples of the same varieties were
assessed by USDA’s Dale Bumpers
National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart,
Ark., against a series of quantitative
factors under the direction of Dr. Anna
McClung. The results of all the assessments
are expected to be provided to the
task force early this year.
The task force is currently working on
an evaluation protocol for the 2011 crop as
well as evaluation of imported long-grain
rice. The assessment methodology will be
refined based on the experience of the past
year. The focus will be on examining varieties
and characteristics of broad interest to
the market. This means assessing those
varieties in widespread cultivation against
a defined number of characteristics.
Developing The 2012 Program
Looking further ahead, the 2012 crop
assessment will entail varietal grow-outs in
controlled environments (likely on
research plots) assessed against a written
protocol. Development of the 2012 program
is currently underway under the technical
guidance of Drs. Steve Linscombe of
Louisiana State University’s AgCenter,
Terry Siebenmorgen of the University of
Arkansas and Anna McClung.
Rice Marketability and Competitiveness
Task Force members represent all segments
of the industry – growers, millers,
merchants, seedsmen and researchers. The
initial leadership of the task force is from
Mike Skuodas, Riviana Foods, and
Nicole Montna Van Vleck, a California
The group is assisted by researchers,
academics, industry and government
advisers and will be working with relevant
USA Rice board committees to identify
challenges and recommend next steps to
the industry in the coming years.
To learn more, visit www.usarice.com.