Decision hailed as an important step in rice industry unification
On Jan. 4, USA Rice Federation announced that the Mississippi rice industry is now a USA Rice Federation member, bringing Mississippi rice farmers together with farmers from other rice-producing states in the USA Rice organization.
USA Rice now represents about 90 percent of U.S. rice production as well as the industry infrastructure that supports U.S. rice farming, including millers, merchants and exporters, through its member associations.
“As Mississippi rice farmers, we took a critical look at our long-term needs and determined the USA Rice Federation offers the leadership and programs necessary to tackle the significant challenges we and the rice industry as a whole must address,” says Mississippi Rice Promotion Board Chairman Claude Gibson “Gibb” Steele III, a rice producer from Hollandale, Miss.
Unity Resolution Adopted
The Mississippi Rice Council adopted a “unity resolution” in November 2011 in an effort to promote industry unity and cooperation among all rice producers, across all rice-state boundaries and across all industry segments. Discussions between Mississippi rice farmers and farmers in USA Rice Council member states continued throughout 2012.
On Dec. 20, 2012, the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board voted unanimously to join USA Rice, which rice leaders hailed as an important step in rice industry unification.
“I commend Mississippi for their commitment to unity and for entering into a dialogue with USA Rice. We need Mississippi at the table as we’re developing and implementing programs and thank them for their decision to join us,” says USA Rice Council Chairman Joe Mencer, a rice farmer from Lake Village, Ark.
Dow Brantley of England, Ark., Chairman of the Arkansas Rice Federation, adds, “As the nation’s largest rice-growing state, we applaud Mississippi for joining Arkansas as a member of the USA Rice Federation. Our state looks forward to working alongside Mississippi as we positively advocate for the United States rice industry at home and across the world.”
Work As One Industry
“The USA Rice Producers’ Group wholeheartedly welcomes Mississippi. It is more important now than ever that rice farmers join together and that we work side by side as one industry,” says USA Rice Producers’ Group Chairman Linda Raun, a rice producer from El Campo, Texas.
“USA Rice is a member-led organization and Mississippi’s participation strengthens our collective voice, which will benefit our advocacy and programs for the U.S. rice industry here at home and around the world,” says USA Rice Federation Chairman Mark Denman.
USA Rice Federation and the Arkansas Rice Federation contributed information for this article.