EL CAMPO, TEXAS – Earlier this week, almost 500 members of the Texas rice industry packed the El Campo Civic Center for the annual Western Rice Belt Conference here.
Participants heard from a variety of industry experts on topics ranging from updated pesticide laws and regulations, rice pest and disease management, risk management tools, and a rice market outlook. Another topic that received a lot of attention was the availability of irrigation water.
Peter Bachmann, USA Rice manager of government affairs, and Ducks Unlimited’s Kirby Brown opened the conference with an update on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program being implemented through their Rice Stewardship Partnership. Bachmann told attendees, “Over the next two years, USA Rice will channel $1 million to rice farms in Texas to help growers implement conservation programs that are tailored to their local resource concerns.”
After the conference, Bachmann said, “Since Texas is beginning 2016 with additional water availability for the first time in several years, it’s exciting to see a planned increase in planted rice acres and some farmers even considering planting rice for the first time this year.”
L.G. Raun, a Texas rice farmer, USA Rice member, and chair of the Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group, held his Group’s meeting following the conference and said, “I’m glad that USA Rice was able to get so much exposure at this conference and share all the good work they’re doing on behalf of the Texas and U.S. rice industries.”
Raun continued, “It was reassuring to see new faces at the Producers Legislative Group meeting and to hear from the experts that despite low commodity prices, rice is actually one of the most appealing crops considering the safety nets available to us as producers.”
USA Rice was a conference sponsor and also highlighted the partnership with Ducks Unlimited with the presence of Stewardship Partnership staff and a display.