Ronnie and Chris Berry
Father-and-son team, Ronnie and Chris Berry, farm separately in Bootheel Missouri but share many of the same ideas when it comes to U.S. rice quality.
“In all of the commodities, when a new issue presents itself, resolving it starts at the farmer level,” Ronnie says. “This is what we are facing today regarding the quality of U.S. rice. I see farmers growing specific varieties for a contract, keeping them Identity Preserved (IP) in their bins and delivering them when they are called for. For the majority of our rice, we have the storage capacity to do this. Today, we have about 413,000 bushels worth of grain storage. We are IPing our medium grain rice this year for the cereal companies.”
CENTRAL AMERICANS INFLUENCE VARIETY-SPECIFIC ACREAGE
“2012 was the first year that we were able to grow CL152, and it yielded really well,” Chris says. “That’s one of the reasons we planted it. Another reason is that it was the variety of choice that we grow that the Central Americans are looking at, also. They can’t handle co-mingled rice. The acreage of 152 that I plant will be influenced by the Central Americans’ decision to start buying this rice, IPed and what the premiums will be depending on acreage.”
IP: BEGIN A SMALL BASIS AND CONTINUE TO GROW
“More than likely, IPing rice will have to begin on a small basis and continue to grow unless the contract is large enough for the mills to take in a large quantity of a particular variety,” Ronnie notes. “If we can get something started, I think it will increase our markets and go on from there. However, it’s going to have to start happening soon.”
“Another important consideration is the broker’s ability to make a sale,” Chris adds. “I stress to them that the sale needs to be made before harvest begins to encourage us to IP. Otherwise, the rice is going to be co-mingled like it always has.”
FROM SEED TO SHIPPING
• Grow specific varieties for a contract.
• Have enough on-farm grain storage to Identity Preserve.
• IPing rice can start on a small basis, continue to grow, and increase our markets.