Friday, April 19, 2024

A fresh start bodes well for the rice industry

Carroll Smith,

Tony Robbins, who has been billed as the nation’s No. 1 life and business strategist, once said, “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

The past three years have been difficult for almost everyone. We saw a lot of things go wrong. It sometimes seemed as if the more we tried, the deeper we sank.

However, while putting together this issue of Rice Farming, it occurred to me there is a lot of good news on the horizon for the rice industry. Perhaps 2023 is the year to reset and start moving in a more positive direction.

In the cover story on page eight, Tom Kelley, who farms rice in Eagle Lake, Texas, said they are still having some issues related to the Lower Colorado River Authority supplying water for his crop. Despite this challenge, he looks for ways to modify his approach to irrigation. He said he will still have about 350 acres of rice this season thanks to two out of his three water wells being electric. “The power source is cheap, so the water is cheap, so we will grow.”

Betsy Ward, USA Rice president and CEO, outlines all the positives the rice trade organization has achieved and will continue to achieve moving forward thanks to farmers participating in the state check-off programs. To better understand how producers are getting a substantial return on their investment, check out her column on page six. U.S. rice is moving forward in a positive direction in terms of research, promotion and advocacy because of these funds.

In California, where rice farmers have endured a debilitating drought for years, there is good news on the water allocation front for 2023. Due to gains in the Sierra Nevada snowpack, the California Department of Water Resources increased its forecasted allocation recently. Go to page 10 to see what the state’s rice farmers can expect.

Another positive that can help things go right for rice this year is a new production program that will provide up to $250 million in assistance to rice farmers. Read the article on page 13 to see what steps producers can take to be prepared to sign up when the program is released later this spring.

After considering all this good news, as we embark on a new rice-growing season, it’s time for a fresh start. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right. 

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