USA Rice Council

Promoting U.S.-Grown Rice at Home and Around the World

Established in 1957, the USA Rice Council brings rice farmers, dues-paying mills, and other industry members together to steer the course for domestic and international promotion.  International programs are supported in more than 20 countries and implemented through USA Rice, that leverages additional industry dollars and the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.  Domestic programs are designed to speed acceptance of U.S.-grown rice and tell rice’s good nutritional, economic, conservation, and sustainability story.
USA Rice Council Logo


Membership


Rice state promotion organizations and dues-paying mills that elect to send promotion funds to the USA Rice Council are members and allotted seats on the Board.

Board of Directors


•  The Board of Directors currently consists of forty-five directors (36 farmers and 9 millers)
      •  Number of farmer directors per state is based on a 3-year average of that state's dues.  Each rice farmer state organization selects directors to represent that state.
      •  Miller representation is also based on financial contribution.  Each contributing mill selects directors to represent that mill.
•  The members are elected to serve for a one-year term (the Chairman serves a two-year term).  
•  Meetings are held in conjunction with USA Rice Federation annual meetings.


Meet the Chairman


Marvin Cochran Presenting to Students

Marvin Cochran
Avon, MS

A third-generation farmer, Marvin Cochran grows 1,800 acres of long grain rice on the same Mississippi land on which his grandparents farmed in the 1960s.  He is a graduate of the Rice Leadership Development Program and has served on numerous rice organizations at the state and national level.  In addition to serving as the USA Rice Council Chairman, Cochran also serves on the Mississippi Rice Council, the USA Rice Farmers Board, and the USA Rice Board.



USA Rice Recent News


Mexico Opens Door to U.S. Competitors

Jan 16, 2018
Wipe your feet first
 Doormat that says Venga!
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Amidst tense renegotiations and rhetoric around the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the government of Mexico (GOM) has announced a tariff rate quota (TRQ) for rice of 150,000 metric tons (MT) each for calendar year 2018 and calendar year 2019.  Under the TRQ, rice can be imported in any form (paddy, milled) and avoid the 20 percent duty on milled rice or the 9 percent duty on paddy rice.  This TRQ is identical in amount, terms, and purpose as took place in 2017.

“The U.S. already benefits from duty free access to Mexico thanks to NAFTA, but this TRQ allows other countries that don’t currently have a free trade agreement with Mexico to benefit from duty-free access,” said Marvin Lehrer, USA Rice’s representative in Mexico.  “This means that Mexico’s diversification of rice suppliers will continue.  The U.S. market share will remain dominant but there will continue to be fierce competition here.”

In announcing the TRQ for rice, and one for beef, the Mexican government said it was attempting to lower the price and guarantee the supply of these basic commodities for the Mexican population.  Specifically for rice, the decree mentions an import dependency of some 82.5 percent, principally from only one origin.  While not mentioning the United States directly, this percentage roughly coincides with the current U.S. market share and coincides with Mexico’s concern about being too dependent on the U.S. for food.

“While the tonnage in this TRQ represents only about 15 percent of Mexico’s import market last year, it appears that Mexico’s goal is to implement free trade agreements with all markets either through bi-lateral or multi-lateral agreements,” said Terry Harris, chairman of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee.  “There is no doubt that Mexico wants to diversify its trade away from dependency on one or two markets.”

Prior to last year, the U.S. had been the sole supplier of paddy rice to Mexico.  The TRQ in 2017 paved the way for nearly 90,000 MT of paddy rice from Guyana, making up 12 percent of the large paddy market.  Trade sources indicate that Guyana’s rice crop appears strong this year, and with demand off from their traditional market - economically depressed Venezuela - it is likely that Mexican millers will continue to source Guyanese paddy in 2018.  Rice is second only to gold in importance to Guyana’s export economy, and the country traditionally exports about half of its more than 600,000 MT of rice produced annually.

Trade sources expect Mexico’s 2018 TRQ to be filled by mid-year as strong demand for cheaper product continues and the battle over market share between importers of milled rice and importers of paddy rice rages on.

The influx of cheap Asian milled rice entering Mexico has been putting pressure on the millers to source cheaper paddy rice – hence the surge in Guyanese paddy imports.  

As a price-sensitive market, margins between Asian milled rice, especially higher quality Thai rice and U.S. rice will determine market shares going forward.

“Mexico remains our largest export market in both value and quantity and we’re going to do what we need to do to keep it that way,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “We believe our quality and reliability are second to none, but against the backdrop of NAFTA renegotiations, there’s no question this is another shot across the bow with regard to the agriculture trade our two countries enjoy.  We get the message loud and clear, and are making sure our government understands the significance of these actions.”