USA Rice Farmers

The Rice Farmers’ Advocate

The USA Rice Farmers (formally USA Rice Producers' Group) is composed entirely of rice farmers from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.  This representative body ensures a forum for policy development on issues that affect rice farmers, and a voice for rice farmers to advance and implement activities to address those issues.

USA Rice Farmers (formally U.S. Rice Producers' Group and later USA Rice Producers' Group) is one of three charter members of the USA Rice Federation.
USA Rice_R_rgb_Farmers


Membership


All U.S. rice farmers are considered members of the USA Rice Farmers through participation by their state organizations.  For more information please contact Jeanette Davis at (703) 236-1447, or jdavis@usarice.com.

Board of Directors


•  The Board of Directors consists of at least eight ​farmers from each rice state.  
      •  Each rice farmer state organization selects directors to represent that state.
•  The members are elected to serve for a one year term.  
•  Voting is state by state; one vote per state.
•  Meetings are held in conjunction with USA Rice Federation annual meetings​.


Meet the Chairman


Joe Mencer checking rice in field

Joe Mencer
Lake Village, AR

Joe Mencer has been farming rice, cotton, soybeans, and corn in in Chicot County, Arkansas, since 1979.  Mencer also is a managing partner in Dewey Grain Drier that operates a prototype drying system for rice and corn in southeast Arkansas near Yellow Bend Port.  He has served on the Rice Council in Arkansas since 1989, the USA Rice Council since 1993, the USA Rice Farmers Board, and the USA Rice Federation Board. 



Recent News


New Conservation Stewardship Program Finalized

Mar 10, 2016
NRCS Chief Jason Weller (left) and Jeff Durand
NRCS Jason-Weller-& Jeff-Durand
WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) published its final Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) rule in the Federal Register.

The CSP was updated following the guidelines set by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill and after reviewing nearly 500 comments on the Interim Rule, the agency is finally ready to put the new rule into effect.  

CSP is known as the USDA’s largest conservation program by acreage.  Since its inception in the 2008 Farm Bill it has provided financial assistance on more than 70 million acres of working lands.  The program has been utilized by U.S. rice farmers since it was first introduced and provides a number of enhancements that work particularly well on rice-growing operations.  

USA Rice submitted comments to NRCS regarding the Interim Rule asking for payment equity for using existing versus new conservation practices and more transparency in the ranking process for CSP applications. The final rule did this by removing the much-criticized and complex Conservation Measurement Tool and using a public set of ranking criteria similar to the process used by EQIP.  

Jeff Durand, Louisiana rice farmer and co-chair of the USA Rice Ducks Unlimited Stewardship Partnership, shared his thoughts, “Conservation definitely comes at a cost but CSP gives us as rice farmers the opportunity to cost-share some of the expenses for implementation and maintenance of enhancements and practices that keep our industry sustainable.”

Durand added, “Earlier this year, USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited put together the Rice Growers’ Conservation Handbook that outlines the CSP and EQIP practices that are most commonly used by rice farmers and provides some additional background information on the programs.”

Last month, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $150 million available to enroll 10 million new acres in CSP for Fiscal Year 2016.  Applications are due to local NRCS offices by March 31. Vilsack said of the CSP, “[It is one of the most] popular programs with producers because it results in real change on the ground by boosting soil and air quality, conserving clean water, and enhancing wildlife habitat.”

The Stewardship Partnership’s Sustaining the Future of Rice project through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will also offer the opportunity for rice farmers to sign-up for CSP later this year in all six rice-growing states.