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


Ag Groups Request Additional Resources Ahead of 2018 Farm Bill

Mar 16, 2017
The Gerard Family of Cape Girardeau MO - waiting
for that next generation to come of age
Blake Gerard and Family
WASHINGTON DC -- USA Rice joined 16 other agriculture groups in a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of ​House and Senate Committees on Budget and Appropriations yesterday to express growing concerns over ​financial pressures faced by American farmers and to request additional funding for the next Farm Bill.

The letter explains how many farmers across the country – young farmers in particular – are feeling the pains and anxieties brought on by low prices and high costs of production.  Net farm incomes are down 50 percent from where they were four years ago, leaving producers no choice but to dip into capital reserves.  This poses a major obstacle for young farmers who have not had the luxury of time to build sustainable reserves.  On top of domestic issues, a strong U.S. dollar and discouraging trade rhetoric has decreased export potential, making hard times even harder.

“The average age of the American farmer, currently 58 years old, should be of major concern to this Administration, equal to concern over the country’s aging infrastructure,” said Blake Gerard, Missouri rice farmer and chairman of both USA Rice Farmers and the USA Rice Government Affairs Committee.  “Without needed funding during difficult times, the future of the next generation of farmers is uncertain.”

The letter was sent to Congress ​the day before the administration released ​its first budget proposal, dubbed the "skinny budget," which calls for steep cuts to discretionary spending at several federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The proposed cuts to USDA reflect a 21 percent decrease from current funding levels which would be achieved through a reduction of personnel in USDA's service centers and the outright elimination of several unspecified programs.  Other programs, however, were specified for elimination including the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, which sources U.S.-grown rice to be used for international food aid efforts.
 
Since FY 2016, the share of U.S.-grown rice shipped through international food aid programs has increased substantially.  The budget proposal threatens to reduce many years of progress and investment in developing a highly nutritious fortified rice, recently approved for use in food aid.  

“The 2018 Farm Bill is an opportunity for Congress to respond to the troubling condition of the agricultural economy by providing ​additional resources to ensure a sustainable future for ​farmers in America,” said Ben Mosely, vice president of government affairs for USA Rice.