Sunday, September 19, 2021

Family farm makes first official Arkansas rice sale to China

rice products from ralston family farms
A selection of rice products from Ralston Family Farms

Arkansas Gov. Governor Hutchinson, along with Tim and Robin Ralston of Ralston Family Farms, recently announced that a rice shipment from their farm is the first Arkansas rice to be exported to China.

Through a contract with a private importer in China, the first shipment from Ralston Family Farms arrived in China in late July. A second shipment is scheduled, with future ones planned on a regular basis. The rice will be sold on the retail market under the Ralston Family Farms label.

“Everybody loves rice, and it’s a good development for Arkansas and the Ralstons that the people across the ocean will have our rice to enjoy,” Hutchinson said.

Although China is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of rice, it remained closed to U.S. rice imports until recently. After more than a decade of efforts by the U.S. rice industry to establish a trading relationship with China, the two countries signed a Phase 1 Economic and Trade Agreement in January 2020 that expanded the potential for access to China’s rice market.

Members of Ralston Family FArms
Members of Ralston Family Farms — photo courtesy American Farm Bureau Federation

“Export markets are vital to Arkansas agriculture, our state’s largest industry,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas secretary of agriculture. “We are proud of the Ralston family on this significant accomplishment, and we are optimistic that we will see additional market access for Arkansas agricultural commodities to China in the future.”

The Ralston family has been farming for over 10 generations. Ralston Family Farms, a family owned and operated business located near Atkins, is vertically integrated. As a result, they can offer customers 100% traceability.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture contributed this article.

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