Oct 31, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC -- USA Rice’s World Market Price Subcommittee (WMP) met here last week and took full advantage of having leadership from all segments of the rice industry in our nation’s capital.
“The World Market Price subcommittee meets three times a year in Washington, DC,” said Chair Keith Glover, CEO of Producers Rice Mill, in Stuttgart, Arkansas. “In addition to exchanging views on the area, yield, and milling quality of the 2017 crop and key trade challenges with representatives from the Department of Agriculture, our group also had the opportunity to have more detailed discussions with leadership at USDA as well as with key staff at the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and to support several activities of the USA Rice PAC Board.”
In the WMP meetings, members continued to focus on ensuring accurate reporting of rough rice prices to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which is an important component in USDA’s calculation of grower payments under the price loss coverage program.
Members had a wide-ranging discussion with representatives of the Foreign Agricultural Service about factors influencing global demand for U.S. rice including recent changes in USDA’s estimates of China’s rice stocks, developments in Venezuela, Colombia, Iraq, key Asian markets, negotiations to modernize NAFTA, and Brexit.
USDA also provided a good-news update on rice in food aid. Over 108,000 MT of rice has been programmed thus far in 2017, up from last year’s year-end total of 105,000 MT. Nearly a quarter of this year’s rice food aid has been fortified rice. Fortified rice is a relatively new product and each year, more private voluntary organizations are requesting fortified rice.
“USA Rice supports the use of fortified rice as a sound, economical choice to deliver vitamins and minerals. As the most consumed commodity in the world, rice is the perfect delivery mechanism,” said USA Rice Chairman Brian King, a rice merchant from Jonesboro, Arkansas. “It’s very gratifying to see that our work over the years to boost rice as food aid is paying off.”
“The USA Rice PAC board made significant progress last week in fulfilling our objective of supporting All-Rice events for a Member of Congress from each rice state,” said Sean Doherty, a California rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice PAC Board. USA Rice held four events around the WMP, for Congressmen Kevin Brady (TX), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Jimmy Panetta (CA), and Bruce Westerman (AR).
Subcommittee members had the opportunity to discuss issues in more depth in separate meetings with USDA officials and staff from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. “As producers, we are frequently asked by USDA to provide statistical information on our operations,” noted L.G. Raun, Texas producer. “These requests can be complicated, and last week provided a good opportunity to review in some detail surveys about producer costs of production, the results of which can be important in farm bill discussions.”
WMP members also had the opportunity to discuss priorities for the upcoming farm bill in separate meetings with staff of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
The next Subcommittee meeting will be in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2018.