U.S. rice – an eye on markets

On its anniversary, USRPA looks back at 2014 and ahead to 2015.

Dwight Roberts President/CEO USRPA
Dwight Roberts President/CEO USRPA

December marks the 17th anniversary of the US Rice Producers Association, or USRPA. Today, it remains the only national rice organization comprised of rice farmers, elected by rice farmers and representing rice farmers in all six rice-producing states with support from U.S. and foreign rice businesses. Let’s look back at the past 12 months.

Rice Market/Technology Convention
The strength of the USRPA’s work throughout the Americas is evident in what has become the largest and most significant rice business conference in the Western Hemisphere. Hosted this year in Costa Rica, attendees called it the best ever, and, more importantly, U.S. rice was sold to a number of key long-grain markets. This event is the largest gathering of buyers in the most important markets for long-grain rice, and U.S. participation is at its highest. In 2015, RMTC is going to Cancun, Mexico, June 2-4. Don’t miss out on what will be a memorable experience.

Visit www.ricemtconvention.com.

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Mexico, Not Just A Good Neighbor
Despite competition in our largest market for long-grain rice, one has to be positive about Mexico. The USRPA is working with loyal long-time customers on the renovation of four rice mills. Population growth in Mexico is creating more demand. USRPA customer service efforts have never been so important with the Mexican Rice Council, independent mills and packers, Mexico’s National Rice Producers Association and the Mexican federal government in dealing with challenges.

South Louisiana Rail Facility
The South Louisiana Rail Facility (SLRF) is a true success story for local rice farmers and a great example of what the USRPA is all about: promoting, developing market alternatives and helping farmers sell directly to buyers. Still in its infant stages, the SLRF with USRPA assistance is becoming an important source for Mexico’s rice mills. The ability to ship identity-preserved rice has become a big plus for what is the most efficient, modern rough rail loading facility in the industry.

Home Away From Home
More than 12 years ago, the process known as CAFTA started a relationship between the Central American Rice Federation (FECARROZ) and the USRPA that continues to benefit U.S. rice farmers today. 2014 was a continuation of joint efforts to highlight and resolve obstacles for these important buyers of U.S. rice. No one has focused more intently on the need to provide identity-preserved rice shipments to the Central American buyers than the USRPA. We want to sell the customers what they want, right?

China Market: Isn’t It About Time?
Initiated by the USRPA several years ago, an effort to access the Chinese market for high-quality U.S. rice continues to move forward. Despite stifling bureaucracy on both sides of the Pacific and the ongoing China-U.S. phytosanitary debate, the USRPA continues to conduct activities in China that expose and quantify an appetite for U.S. rice.

The Great New American Farm Bill
A lot of farmers’ hair turned gray during new Farm Bill negotiations. We do have some real champions on Capitol Hill, but it’s obvious they were outnumbered. Again, the new Farm Bill is “as fine a piece of sausage as could be devised,” but it was an expensive lesson.

For more, visit www.usriceproducers.com.

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