Major Chinese Rice Import Company Visits U.S. Rice Industry Print E-mail
ip-major-chinese-rice-import-co-visits-us-rice-industry-small-141008RICE COUNTRY, USA -- The USA Rice Federation facilitated the visit of four representatives from one of the largest private rice importing companies in China to the offices of U.S. rice exporters in Arkansas, Louisiana, and California this week and  last.  The company, Dragon Ocean Hing Group, was established  in 2001and has an annual import volume of over 200,000 metric tons and a turnover of more than $163 million U.S dollars.

“This trip was very successful,” said Mr. William Li, the delegation leader.  “There were more exporters interested in meeting with us than time allowed.”

With their subsidiaries Shenzhen Hong Tai Xiang Import & Export, Gold Profit Industries, and Shenzhen Yintuo, the company has built a complete rice supply chain from origin procurement to terminal sales, covering customs clearance, domestic logistics, freight forwarding, import and export agency, warehouse, rice factory, and both retail and wholesale rice distribution.

One hundred sixty thousand tons of the two hundred thousand Dragon Ocean Hing imports each year is long grain sourced from Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan. The remaining 40,000 tons of imports is short and medium grain rice used in alcohol and rice noodles.  The company sells products in over eighty cities, 1,200 supermarkets, 1,500 gas stations, and major on-line stores.

“We expected this trip to help prepare us to reach import contract agreements with American rice suppliers as soon as China allows rice imports from America,” “We believe American rice will enhance our product line and we wish to be the first company to import American rice into China.”

 
Major Grant Awarded to Rice Industry, DU for Habitat Conservation Efforts Print E-mail
ga-major nrcs grant awarded owen bw and weller-150114WASHINGTON, DC -- (January 14, 2015) -- Today Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced approved grants from the first round of proposals to the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The USA Rice Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU), and more than 40 collaborating partners are pleased that the "Rice Stewardship Partnership - Sustaining the Future of Rice" project was selected for support.

This project will help rice producers conserve natural resources such as water, soil and waterfowl habitat, while having long-term positive impacts on their bottom line.

The RCPP application process was very competitive; less than half of all applications were awarded funding, and no proposal was fully funded.  However, the USA Rice and DU national request was deemed to have significant merit, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - the agency responsible for administering RCPP - awarded the partnership a grant of $10 million, one of the largest awards given under the program.

"The Mississippi Alluvial Valley, Texas' and Louisiana's Gulf Coast, and California's Central Valley are critical landscapes for waterfowl and therefore ranked as some of DU's top priorities for habitat conservation," said DU President and Arkansas rice producer George Dunklin.

A 2014 study conducted by DU scientists for The Rice Foundation demonstrated that rice agriculture provides 35 percent of the food resources available to migrating and wintering dabbling ducks in the regions where rice is grown in the United States.

"U.S. rice farms are valuable, not just for the nutritious commodity they produce and their positive impact on the economy, but also as important contributors to the entire ecosystem, and today's announcement from NRCS and USDA recognizes that fact," said USA Rice Federation Chairman Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer.  "Wildlife and waterfowl depend on our farms as much as any of us do."

Established in the 2014 Farm Bill, the RCPP competitively awards funds to conservation projects designed by collaborating partners.

"The USA Rice Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and all of our partners commend the USDA for their vision in creating partnership-driven conservation initiatives, and we especially appreciate each of the six state NRCS offices who were instrumental in crafting a competitive proposal," said Betsy Ward, President and CEO of USA Rice. "This is a giant step forward for conservation in ricelands with many more steps to come."

"We applaud the many rice producers who integrate extra conservation measures into their rice production to maintain water quality and provide much-needed waterfowl habitat," said USDA NRCS Chief Jason Weller.  "The partnership between DU, USA Rice, and USDA offers increased technical and financial assistance to help producers accomplish these goals on their land, and the tangible benefits to farmers, the environment, and all Americans will be felt for a long time."

The Arkansas NRCS has scheduled a meeting Friday, January 16, to announce the state's RCPP project participants, and to invite local rice farmers to an informational session with RCPP Project Sponsors. All 50 states and Puerto Rico received NRCS funding for conservation projects and have scheduled similar events in the coming week.

Photo caption:  From left:  LA rice farmer John Owen, USA Rice CEO Betsy Ward, and NRCS Chief Jason Weller
 
USA Rice Reports Major Change to Farm Bill Program Payments Print E-mail
ga-opening of 114th congress john owen-150106JENNINGS, LA -- (February 11, 2015) -- Last night at the annual Louisiana growers meeting, USA Rice Producers' Group Chairman John Owen announced that USA Rice, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA), has secured an accelerated payment calendar for rice farmers.  Producers of medium and long grain rice in the mid-South will receive their Farm Bill program payment in early November and it will be based on final price numbers in the five southern rice states.

Under the original National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reporting calendar, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program payments to rice farmers were scheduled to come out as late as February 2016.  Recognizing this put a financial strain on rice farmers,  Owen and USA Rice Federation Chairman Dow Brantley sent a detailed letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in January suggesting a different methodology be adopted to determine timing of the ARC and PLC payments.

At a House Ag Committee hearing this morning, Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR) personally thanked Secretary Vilsack and the FSA team for "going out of your way to help America's rice farmers.  Timely payment is of the essence for producers seeking to repay loans and to demonstrate to lenders that they can sustain cash flow for another year."

"It was great to be able to announce this positive development at a growers' meeting," said Owen.  "We appreciate the Secretary's willingness to work with USA Rice on behalf of America's rice farmers."

Photo caption:  USA Rice Producers'Group Chairman John Owen
 
In Victory for Farmers, USDA Extends Base Acre and Yield Update Deadline Print E-mail
Farm_Bill_logoWASHINGTON, DC -- (February 27, 2015) -- Today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a one month extension for producers to update yield history and reallocate base acres for the new commodity programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.  The previous cutoff date had been today, but the new deadline is now March 31, 2015.

"This flexibility provided by the department is greatly appreciated by farmers in every state and region, but is especially important to those of us in rice producing regions as we are already in the field preparing ground for this year's crop,"  said John Owen, a Louisiana grower and Chairman of the USA Rice Federation Producers' Group.  "Without this extension, thousands of farmers would not have the opportunity to align the new programs with their most recent plantings and yields and would be substantially disadvantaged in what looks to be a rough few years in farm country due to depressed commodity prices."

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm's current yield and base will be used.  Additionally, a program election of ARC or PLC coverage also must be made by March 31, 2015, or there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.

"I hope everyone takes these deadlines seriously," Owen said, "if all the owners and producers involved in an operation aren't on the same page and haven't signed the proper documentation, no financial assistance will be available for losses from last year's crop."  

Owen encouraged all growers to visit or call their local FSA office today.
 
School Nutrition Magazine Announces Healthy Rice Bowls Contest Print E-mail
The September issue of School Nutrition Magazine (circulation 50,000) features the USA Rice Federation's annual Healthy Rice Bowls Contest for kindergarten through 12th grade (K-2) school menu planners.  The contest began this month to coincide with National Rice Month and the beginning of the new school year.

In a piece with the headline of "Bowl Them Over," the article says, “rice sure is nice, especially for winners of the USA Rice Federation's Healthy Rice Bowls Contest for K-12 school nutrition professionals!”  It also gives details on how to submit entries for creative rice bowls served as a school lunch.

The contest is an opportunity for USA Rice to promote rice usage in schools and feature winning ideas on the organization's Web site.

This year's entry deadline is Nov. 6.  One winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card, an Aroma commercial rice cooker for their school and a 10-cup cooker for home.  Runners-up also will receive rice cookers.

USA Rice works closely with the School Nutrition Association and K-12 menu planners to encourage increased rice offerings in schools. For more contest information and a look at previous winners, visit MenuRice.com.

 


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