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 Briefs Press on Trade Distorting Practices Print E-mail
itp-usa-rice-shines-spotlight-on-key-competitors-small-150408WASHINGTON, DC -- (April 8, 2015) -- According to a new study, several key advanced developing countries have ramped up subsidies to their producers of rice, corn, and wheat, dramatically changing the global trading environment as a result.

Subsidies in Brazil, China, India, Thailand, and Turkey exceed each country's commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and must be addressed as part of a renewed push to complete the Doha Round of trade negotiations, said representatives of the USA Rice Federation and U.S. Wheat Associates at a media briefing here today.

"Our joint study showed that these five advanced developing countries have steadily increased subsidies to their producers to the point of being out of compliance with their WTO obligations," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings who led off today's briefing. "While we support the WTO and global trade agreements because they work for our members, WTO negotiators must address the trade distortions in today's trading environment if the long-running Doha Round of negotiations is to conclude successfully. Several of these countries are also very likely using export subsidies to dispose of surplus production."

The group delivered this same message earlier this year to more than 50 representatives from WTO member countries at meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, including representatives from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia's missions to the WTO, the Director of the WTO's Agriculture Division, and Ambassador Michael Punke, head of the U.S. Mission.

"Our message is clear - we support the WTO, but the environment has changed and negotiators must deal with the situation in advanced developing countries. It's hard to talk about a new trade agreement when countries are ignoring their existing obligations," said Cummings. "The United States is meeting all international commitments, while many of our trading partners are going in the opposite direction. It's neither fair nor sustainable."

Photo caption:  Brief The Press
 
New Trade Promotion Authority Bill Could Jump Start Trade Negotiations Print E-mail
hatch smallWASHINGTON, DC -- (April 16, 2015) -- Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation was finally introduced in Congress today with a bill from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) making an appearance following lengthy negotiations between the leaders.

In introducing the bill, Chairman Hatch said, "we must engage with other nations through trade...[t]he renewal of TPA will help American workers and job creators unlock new opportunities for growth...here at home."  Hatch has indicated his intention to mark-up the bill, The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015), late next week.    

Many believe TPA is necessary to allow U.S. negotiators to make progress on ongoing trade negotiations, specifically, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

"TPA sends a clear signal to other countries that Congress is serious about letting the President wrap up these deals," said Bob Cummings, USA Rice's chief operating officer. "It puts some pressure on negotiators from other countries who can't now hide behind our Congress as a stalling tactic."

TPA guarantees a solitary "Yea" or "Nay" vote on trade deals. The alternative - 535 Members of Congress tweaking any aspect of the negotiated deals - renders the deals "Dead on Arrival" and provides no incentive for negotiators to conclude their talks.

"We support TPA from a practical matter as it will help negotiators finish their work," continued Cummings. "But the specifics of TPP and TTIP with regard to rice remain to be seen, and it is those details that will ultimately decide how we come down on things."

Photo caption:  Chairman Hatch -- on the fast track
 
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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