WASHINGTON, DC – As states develop responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. rice industry has asked governors to consider the agriculture and food supply chain as they enforce curfews, sheltering in place, and other directives that could inhibit farmers, mill workers, and other essential individuals in getting rice from the field to the table, and everywhere in between.
USA Rice, along with rice industry leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas, sent letters to the respective governors outlining specific considerations and offering assistance and hope as the fight against this deadly disease continues. USA Rice is also supporting the ongoing efforts of the California rice industry to ensure there is no disruption to rice production and supply chain there.
USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward and state industry leaders issued the following statement:
“USA Rice and our state partners respectfully urge rice state governors and other state leaders to utilize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency guidance document outlining those sectors critical to our nation’s infrastructure, which includes food, agriculture, and transportation, among other industries as they continue preparations to combat COVID-19.
“Just as important to the food and agriculture industry as producing and processing is the necessity of getting our products to the consumer. In the U.S., more than 80 percent of rice consumed domestically is grown here. Additionally, our industry relies on international trade, exporting our rice to more than 130 countries.
“While we’re extremely fortunate in the United States to have an abundant and safe food supply during these trying times, any disruptions to the food and agriculture supply chain now could have dire consequences in the future. We’re in the midst of rice planting season now, and this fall our farmers will proudly harvest an abundant supply of the staple crop. As always, our millers, now working overtime to keep up with extra demand, will stand ready to bring that nutritious, delicious, and safe crop to market.
“USA Rice, on behalf of the entire U.S. rice industry, thanks our elected state leaders for their efforts and all of the work they are doing during this national emergency that has impacted us all.”
Links to the individual letters may be found under the “Letters to Government Officials” tab on the USA Rice COVID-19 Industry Resource webpage