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


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

NAFTA Talks Inch Forward, But More Work Needed

Jan 29, 2018
Making progress?
ITP-NAFTA Negotiators-180129

MONTREAL, CANADA – Trade ministers from Canada, Mexico, and the United States today ended the 6th round of negotiations to modernize the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) without issuing a joint statement, and signaling various levels of progress. 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, "We believe that some progress was made.  We finally began to discuss some of the core issues, so this round was a step forward — but we are progressing very slowly. We owe it to our citizens, who are operating in a state of uncertainty, to move much faster." 

Negotiators reportedly “closed” or finished the anti-corruption chapter of what is being dubbed NAFTA 2.0.  Negotiators will next reportedly meet in Mexico City in late February for the 7th round of talks.

“It’s clear that the parties made progress on several discrete topics during last week’s talks,” said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings who was in Montreal. “But the big make or break issues like improved U.S. dairy access in Canada, U.S. proposals on auto rules of origin, a hard sunset for NAFTA, and investor-state dispute settlement still need to be addressed and resolved at the political level for the negotiations to close.”

Cummings continued, “Our main messages to the administration are the critical importance of NAFTA to the economic health of U.S. rice farmers and exporters and therefore the importance of concluding these negotiations with NAFTA intact and stronger.  Last week offered the opportunity to keep delivering this message to U.S. negotiators, their Mexican and Canadian counterparts, and congressional staff as well as to participate in activities of pro-NAFTA groups like Farmers for Free Trade.”

As negotiators enter what is known as an “intersessional period,” follow-up discussions will take place among the negotiating groups to prepare for the next negotiating session. 

Two upcoming elections are widely seen as constraining and shaping the negotiating calendar – Mexico’s presidential election in July and the U.S. midterm elections in November. 

Cummings said USA Rice will continue to engage with U.S. negotiators and Members of Congress as an organization and within several pro-NAFTA coalitions to educate and advocate on behalf of this beneficial trade agreement.