EAGLE LAKE, TX – Yesterday, hundreds of Texas rice farmers gathered here for several meetings that led up to the 42nd
Annual Rice Field Day hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension at the David R. Wintermann Rice Research Station.
The Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group held their semi-annual Board of Directors meeting to handle regular business items along with reports from USA Rice and the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program projects in Texas.
Following the meeting, producers headed down the road for the Texas Rice Producers meeting, the group that oversees the collection, assessment, and distribution of check- off funds for the state. New board members were sworn in and officers were elected including Scott Savage, a Bay City farmer and the group’s new chairman.
Dodging a string of thunderstorms, the crowd of rice producers then toured the Wintermann Rice Research Station to learn about a variety of projects that focused on herbicide resistance, pest management, and breeding varieties. The field day wrapped up with the traditional barbecue dinner and presentations by the event sponsors, USA Rice and the U.S. Rice Producers Association.
At the evening program, Peter Bachmann, USA Rice manager of government affairs, provided an update on the state of the rice economy, saying, “While U.S. and global commodity prices continue on a downward trend, USA Rice is working to remedy the situation for rice domestically by providing access to large, reliable rice markets, providing conservation financial assistance, and increasing rice programmed in U.S. international food aid shipments.”
Bachmann reminded producers to “remember that rice is considered ‘the best house in a bad neighborhood’ because of the farm safety net we helped put in place in the 2014 Farm Bill. It’s working the way it was designed to work because of USA Rice’s footprint in Washington.”
Texas rice farmer and member of the USA Rice Farmers Board of Directors Linda Raun deemed the day’s meetings a success. “We’re really happy to have had the turn out that we did, especially a number of younger members showing interest in becoming leaders of our organizations,” she said. “With excess water back in our region, a more than 20 percent increase in our rice acreage, and the promise of the Cuban market on the horizon, we’re in a good place to expand our reach.
Raun continued, “The Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group is ramping up fundraising efforts and starting to put together a committee to look at our Farm Bill positions. It’s important that we assess the programs rice has available to us, even the ones that seem to be working, like Price Loss Coverage, but especially those like crop insurance that still have a way to go to be truly effective for our operations.”
The second Texas rice field day, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Research, is scheduled for July 14 at the Beaumont Rice Research Station.