BIGGS, CA – The University of California Rice Experiment Station held its annual field day here last week and USA Rice was on hand to participate. President and CEO Betsy Ward and Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely toured the grower-funded research plots and heard from the University’s researchers who are working to further improve upon California’s high quality/high yielding varieties. It was a great opportunity to visit with hundreds of growers, researchers, industry advocates, and partners on a fine summer day in Biggs.
The California Rice Commissions’ Executive Committee also met with Ward and Mosely to review policy and program alignment plans for the coming year and to discuss the importance of coordinated approaches on trade, communications, and farm policy.
In addition, The Sun Valley Rice Company in Arbuckle hosted a roundtable meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Darci Vetter and California rice industry leaders to discuss pending trade deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The California visit wrapped up with a trip to the rice farming operations of USA Rice Council Chair Sean Doherty in Dunnigan.
“I’m pleased we were able to participate in another excellent California field day,” said Ward. “Dr. Kent McKenzie always puts on an impressive show, and I think he would agree that the grower funds are essential to the success in developing new rice varieties. It was good to have Ambassador Vetter on hand to see the care and precision that goes into growing the high quality California crop each year.”
The California rice crop is proceeding well and acreage is back up to 560,000 – a 33 percent increase over what was planted last year. Farmers are beginning to harvest this week and expect to be finished by mid-October.