SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The USA Rice Outlook Conference wrapped up here earlier this week with a renewed emphasis on education that was popular and appreciated by the more than 750 attendees who packed the many sessions.
“We know asking people to leave their operation is significant – whether it is a family farm, a mill, or another type of business – so we wanted to be sure we offered attendees useful information to take home with them,” said Betsy Ward USA Rice President & CEO. “From the very serious topic of grain bin entrapment to the practical session on getting and staying organized in your home or office, we think we succeeded.”
Other educational breakout sessions focused on food safety regulations under the overhauled FSMA Rule; crop insurance options for specialty, organic, and non-organic rice farmers; and understanding and utilizing the futures market in your marketing plans.
Trade and farm policy were also hot topics of course with sessions on the latest with the U.S. – China phytosanitary agreement, the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the coming Farm Bill.
Research universities in all six major rice producing states provided their state outlook and research reports, and an innovative group of California growers and their representatives held a fun and informative session on best communications practices.
One of the liveliest sessions however was “Conservation Tales” where growers Leo LaGrande (CA), Mark Isbell (AR), Tim Gertson (TX), Christian Richard (LA), and Gibb Steele (MS) very frankly shared some of the funnier mishaps they’ve weathered as they sought to improve their conservation practices with mixed results.
“As always, this week we recognized several leaders in the industry and also celebrated the students who participated in the National Rice Month Scholarship video contest whose creativity was inspiring,” said Brian King USA Rice Chairman. “We also screened exciting videos highlighting some of the great work our members and our organization are undertaking on behalf of the entire industry."
Attendees left San Antonio energized and well-informed and are already looking forward to the 2018 USA Rice Outlook Conference that is scheduled for San Diego, CA from December 5-7.