Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Room for Uncertainty

Cassidy Nemec,

Back in December, I mentioned how there are many aspects in the rice industry that may shift at a moment’s notice. It may be over time, or it may be almost instantaneous, but there is sure to be something that goes differently than we expected or hoped. Several articles in this month’s issue point to this truth.

Pages six and seven discuss a final rule from the Department of Labor on defining employees versus independent contractors that may be relevant to your operation: This new rule replaces the classification framework established by the agency in 2021. Because employers do not owe the same legal obligations to independent contractors as they do their employees, employers must ensure they properly classify workers under the final rule’s new framework. If an employer misclassifies their workers, they may violate the FLSA, which could result in legal fines and penalties from the DOL.”

Dr. Whitney Brim-Deforest discusses a new rice weed discovered in California on page 16. “White water fire (Bergia capensis) was found in September of 2023, by the Butte County Agricultural Commissioner’s office in a rice field in Butte County. The weed was identified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. It is the first find of this weed in California, and possibly in the United States.”

Trade on a global scale has been and is still a huge issue at play. On page 10, you’ll find an article where Ryan Loy, Extension economist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, discusses the 2024 rice market and India’s impact on it. “It’s worth noting that India is currently in an election year and it’s doubtful the ban would be lifted before a general election in April or May. If the ban is lifted post-election, watch for Indian rice to flood the market, and put further downward pressure on global rice prices.”

In the end, leaving some flexibility where possible in your operation for these changes — sometimes surprises — can be beneficial. Remember, too, that you can only control so much. That should give some peace of mind.

On another note, Rice Farming magazine, in conjunction with Horizon Ag and USA Rice, is opening our nomination period for our 2024 Rice Awards — Rice Farmer of the Year, Rice Industry Award, and Rice Lifetime Achievement Award. Being held later this year in Little Rock, Arkansas, these are presented at the annual Rice Outlook Conference. If you know someone deserving of any of these prestigious awards, visit

In addition to the 2024 Rice Awards, we are opening the nomination period for the 2024 Rice Consultant of the Year. This individual serves the rice industry with dedication, leadership, and innovation. If you know a rice consultant who models these characteristics, absolutely go nominate them today. Visit for more information.

I hope everyone’s season is going well!

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