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 Chair Appointed to Critical Trade Advisory Committee Print E-mail

dow-brantley-small-150701WASHINGTON, DC -- (July 1, 2015) -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced appointments to the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC).  USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley was tapped to join the APAC, a select group of trade experts that provides advice and information to the government on the administration of trade policy, including enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements.

"This is great news for USA Rice to be back on the advisory committee, and I want to thank Dow for his willingness to serve," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.

Brantley, a rice producer from England, Arkansas, said, "I feel like my appointment to APAC will ensure that the U.S. rice industry is at the forefront on trade policy.  Trade is a top priority and I am happy to provide advice or guidance that will benefit U.S. rice."

USA Rice COO Bob Cummings was also reappointed to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds.  The six different ATACs offer technical advice and information about specific commodities and products.

"The individuals we are appointing today represent one of the most important sectors to America's export economy and will provide critical advice as we negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and work to expand export opportunities for American agriculture," said Froman.

This group of committee members will serve until June 15, 2019.

Photo caption:  Dow Brantley
USA Rice Testifies on Implementation of Conservation Title of Farm Bill Print E-mail



WASHINGTON, DC -- This morning the House Committee on Agriculture's Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing on the implementation of conservation programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Mississippi’s Buddy Allen, a member of USA Rice Federation’s Conservation Committee, served as one of the six witnesses offering testimony.

As a rice farmer and chairman of his local soil and water conservation district in Tunica, Allen was able to offer a unique perspective on the implementation of the farm bill’s conservation programs. Allen praised the Committee’s recognition of voluntary ag working lands conservation.

“Working land programs not only address resource concerns, they increase productivity yielding sustainability by making cropland more diverse and efficient,” he said.  “The consolidation and streamlining of the conservation title will make these programs more efficient and easier to use for farmers and ranchers.”

Allen also discussed the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), “Rice producers have put years of work into finding new ways to reduce erosion and water usage, and to address a number of other critical conservation priorities.  Because of the unique methods for farming rice compared to other commodity crops, sensitivity of water quantity/quality and soil stability are particularly essential to maintain operations. That being said, the RCPP is a natural fit for our industry to further augment our already impressive conservation platform.”

Allen and the other witnesses thanked the Members of the subcommittee for their support of the 2014 Farm Bill’s conservation title and praised the work that NRCS is doing to implement the programs.

Caption: Buddy Allen (second from left) representing the rice industry.

Cuba Removed from State Terrorism List Print E-mail


WASHINGTON, D.C.- The State Department has announced that Cuba will no longer be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism effective immediately.

"Today's decision, made by Secretary Kerry, is an important step towards achieving normal commercial relations between the United States and Cuba, which has long been a key goal of U.S. rice producers, millers and exporters," said Bob Cummings, USA Rice COO.  "Much work remains, but this step is critical to improving the overall political relationship between the two countries. USA Rice will continue its leadership role in seeking the removal of obstacles to travel and trade with Cuba."

Removing Cuba from this list also opens up eligibility for aid under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA), including food assistance programs managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The State Department noted that, "While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation."

Caption: Cleared by State


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