USA Rice Team Effort Has Impact on Capitol Hill

House Ag Committee Ranking Member  Rep. Collin Peterson meets with USA Rice members
Feb 16, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, 100 members of USA Rice representing all six rice-producing states gathered in the nation’s capital to meet with legislators and administration officials for the annual Government Affairs Conference (GAC).  For two days, USA Rice members met with Congressional leaders to discuss the Farm Bill and other priorities for the rice industry, breaking with tradition by including visits to members of Congress outside of rice-producing areas.

This year, the conference had an ambitious goal of meeting with every member of Congress who sits on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and leaders of committees addressing key trade issues.

By the time the conference was over on Thursday, USA Rice members had visited close to 100 different offices to educate legislators and their staff about farm policy and trade issues directly affecting the industry.

“This was a unique opportunity for us to meet with members of Congress who otherwise might not have much exposure to the rice industry,” said Joe Mencer, chair of the USA Rice Government Affairs Committee.  “It’s important for them as members of the House and Senate Ag Committees to hear our concerns and understand our priorities, but also find common ground in their priorities like nutrition policy.”

The groups of delegates this year were also mixed rather than organized by state, as they had been in the past, giving members from different areas a chance to work together and speak to congressional leaders about their common priorities and unique challenges.

Members also attended a session on pesticide regulations with more than 100 staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and met with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to discuss conservation priorities and the success of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Delegations met with staff from the U.S. Agency on International Development (USAID) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to talk about USA Rice’s ongoing involvement in fortified rice for food aid and with the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) where discussions centered around USA Rice’s various international promotion programs.  Additionally, a team focused on trade met with staff from the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA to discuss market challenges, and the 2016 Rice Leadership Development class visited with Colombian Ambassador Camilo Reyes to discuss the vital trade between our two countries.

“This week opened many doors and laid a foundation for strengthening relationships with key policy makers on Capitol Hill,” said USA Rice Vice President Government Affairs Ben Mosely. “With a Farm Bill on the horizon and NAFTA on the block for renegotiations, these conversations came at a critical point.  Members definitely left a strong impression and created new advocates in Congress.”

Sign-Up for the Daily

Recent Articles

  • Trade Mission to Mexico Strengthens Bonds

    Nov 14, 2018

    A USA Rice member delegation traveled to Mexico last week to meet with key customers in the rice industry's largest export market. Over the span of three days, the delegation met with influential players in the trade, gaining valuable insight from some of the largest millers, wholesalers, and distributors of rice in Mexico. Full story
  • Rice Issues Abound in South Korea

    Nov 13, 2018

    Last week’s Agricultural Trade Mission (ATM) to Korea gave USA Rice the opportunity to highlight strong market opportunities for U.S. rice but also to underscore continued obstacles put in our way by Korea’s government. Full story
  • Rice Matters at FDA Discussion

    Nov 09, 2018

    Last week the Mississippi Farm Bureau hosted Dr. Stephen Ostroff, deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for an agricultural roundtable to discuss a range of recent FDA regulations. Full story
  • South Africa Trade Mission Taps New Markets

    Nov 08, 2018

    Last week USA Rice participated in a Trade Mission here led by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and organized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Full story
  • WASDE Report Released

    Nov 08, 2018

    This month’s outlook for 2018/19 U.S. rice is for fractionally higher supplies, reduced exports, and higher ending stocks. Full story