Canada Foodservice Professionals Tour Southern U.S. Rice Country Print E-mail
ip-canadian-foodservice-tour-small-140923STUTTGART and ENGLAND, AR and NEW ORLEANS, LA -- (September 23, 2014) -- In an effort to increase rice sales to the foodservice industry in Canada, last week the USA Rice Federation hosted Canadian foodservice professionals and media on a tour through rice country in the southern United States.

The group included representatives from Aramark, a facilities management company; the Metro Toronto Convention Center, the largest convention center in Canada; and the Canadian Restaurant News, a publication which targets the foodservice industry.

The four-day tour offered the Canadians a holistic look at the U.S. rice industry, from seed to table.

In Arkansas, the group observed the harvest at rice farms in Stuttgart and England; toured packaging centers and mills at Riceland Foods and Producers Rice Mill; and, finally, got an overview of rice production at the University of Arkansas Rice Research & Extension Center.

The group also visited Russell Marine Group in New Orleans to learn about logistics and cargo inspection, and toured Eurofins and their analytical labs.

"The group was one of the most engaged I've ever had the opportunity to host at my farm," said Dow Brantley, Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice.  "They were interested in our whole process from farm to table.  They had questions about food safety and quality, and I think they left feeling good about U.S. rice."

USA Rice has conducted marketing promotions in Canada for nearly two decades, but recent marketing activities have focused more on the foodservice sector, which is able to impact a larger audience (most recently see USA Rice Daily story, August 19, 2014).

"Participants were specifically selected because of their potential to supply U.S. rice to thousands of Canadians," said Virginia Zimm, USA Rice's marketing contractor in Canada.  "This was a real eye-opening experience for everyone and I think we'll see some lasting benefits from this visit."

Last year, Canada was the United States' fourth largest rice export destination.  The U.S. exported over 235,000 MT of rice to Canada in 2013, valued at $170 million.  Exports for the first seven months this year are trending about 9 percent higher than last year.

Photo caption:  The roots of a good relationship
Arkansas Rice Producer Dow Brantley Elected Chairman of the USA Rice Federation Print E-mail
bw and usarf chairmen-140715DALLAS, TX -- (July 15, 2014) -- The Board of Directors of the USA Rice Federation elected a new chairman during annual meetings here yesterday.

Arkansas rice producer Dow Brantley will assume the two-year post on August 1, taking over for Mark Denman, a Texas rice miller who has been chairman of the group since 2012.

"Dow is going to make a great chairman," Denman said.  "He is an important producer in the number one rice producing state in the country, and has already begun to make his mark on the industry as the chairman of the Arkansas Rice Federation and the Arkansas Rice Farmers and through his service on several USA Rice committees and task groups."

"Mark Denman guided our industry through some trying times -- the farm bill, trade and marketing challenges, and other critical issues," said Brantley.  "He was also at the helm during our recent strategic planning that resulted in a solid viability plan for the industry and the organization.  He served all segments of the industry with distinction, and I'm looking forward to keeping us moving in that right direction."

Brantley operates a large family farm in England, Arkansas and reports about 35 percent of his acreage is in rice.  In addition to serving on several USA and Arkansas Rice committees, Brantley is a graduate of the Rice Leadership Development Program, and is the chairman of the Lonoke County Farm Bureau.

"This is an exciting time for the American rice industry with many challenges and opportunities ahead," said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice.  "Chairman Denman was an outstanding leader who turns over a more focused and stronger Federation than he inherited.  We're pleased to continue working with Chairman-elect Brantley as we continue to enhance our organization and take on existing and new challenges on behalf of the entire U.S. industry."

Photo caption: CEO Betsy Ward flanked by outgoing Chairman Mark Denman (l.) and new Chairman Dow Brantley.
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

Conservation Fundraising Efforts Down to the Wire Print E-mail
fundraising thermometerARLINGTON, VA - (September 16, 2014) -- USA Rice Federation and Ducks Unlimited representatives are working hard to raise much needed contributions - both cash and in-kind - to fulfill a matching fund component of the organizations' Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) proposal due in two weeks.

The RCPP, created in the 2014 Farm Bill, is a new conservation program under which qualified organizations may develop proposals that pair private contributions with existing federal conservation dollars and programs to create new conservation opportunities.

"We're seeking commitments totaling $8 million in private and corporate support," said USA Rice president and CEO Betsy Ward. "We're doing very well - about halfway there - but we really need to lock down commitments in the next 12 days."

The USA Rice-DU plan is a unique, two-year proposal that preserves critical wildlife habitat and enhances water quality and irrigation efficiency while maintaining working rice lands on the landscape. If approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the project will be offered in all rice producing counties in the six major rice producing states of Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.

"This is a unique opportunity for companies and organizations that are part of the rice production supply chain and end users to partner in an effort to support rice production while advancing their own sustainability initiatives," Ward said. "Companies participating with us are able to demonstrate to their constituents their commitment to a sustainable rice industry and the environment. It's a win-win situation."

Ward is confident more will join supporters such as Riceland Foods, Louisiana Rice Mill, RiceTec, Horizon Ag, The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas, the Climate Trust, and others in helping meet the $8 million target. Individuals and companies interested in joining the initiative can contact Reece Langley at USA Rice or Scott Manley at Ducks Unlimited.
Marvin "Butch" Baden Honored with RMA Distinguished Service Award Print E-mail
ms-butch baden honored with distinguished service award-140618LAKE TAHOE, NV -- (June 18, 2014) -- Today, the USA Rice Millers' Association (RMA) named Marvin "Butch" Baden of Producers Rice Mill, Stuttgart, Arkansas, recipient of the RMA Distinguished Service Award, the association's highest honor.   

Baden began his service on the RMA Board in 1982 and served as Chairman in 1992.  He has chaired the Convention Coordinating Committee since 1996.  

"Butch has given 56 years to the U.S. rice industry during which time he has sold, or been responsible for selling, more than 1.3 billion bushels of rough rice here and around the world," said Keith Glover, president and CEO of Producers Rice Mill who made the award announcement. "I can think of no more appropriate award to bestow on Butch than the lifetime achievement award, and on behalf of all the people whose lives he has touched in a positive way, I extend my sincere and heartfelt appreciation and congratulations."

"The RMA Distinguished Service Award is our association's highest honor and a fitting tribute to recognize Butch's dedication and contributions to RMA, the rice milling industry, and the rice industry as a whole," said RMA Chairman Chris Crutchfield who presented the award to Baden.

Baden was caught off guard by the surprise presentation, but true to form, he recovered quickly, expressed his appreciation and told the crowd how lucky he considers himself to have spent his life working in an industry he truly loves.

The RMA Distinguished Service Award honors extraordinary lifetime contributions to the industry and is not awarded each year. The last award was given in 2011.

Baden began working in the rice industry at the age of 17 and held numerous positions, first at Riceland, and at Producers Rice Mill for the past 36 years. His wife of 52 years, Kaye, was on hand for the presentation. Baden has two sons and seven grandchildren, all of whom joined Baden in celebrating this important event.

Photo caption:  Keith Glover honors Butch Baden (r) for 56 years of service to the rice industry.

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