Mar 06, 2018
MEMPHIS, TN – USA Rice hosted a booth last weekend at the 66th annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, providing attendees with information about the U.S. rice industry and activities conducted by USA Rice via games, pamphlets, and giveaways. The show included ag updates by Carl Brothers, senior vice president and COO of Riceland Foods and USA Rice board member, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
USA Rice staff engaged visitors of all ages with the now-famous Think Rice Wheel, a trivia game that awards correct answers about U.S.-grown rice with prizes such as branded letter openers, and crayons and coloring books. Contestants compete by spinning the big wheel and answering multiple-choice questions based on a variety of rice topics. The game is always a hit, particularly with the younger crowd, and staff working the wheel were never short on participants throughout the two-day trade show.
“This year was really successful,” said Jenni Bryant of USA Rice, who staffed the booth both days. “The wheel really grabbed people’s attention, especially the kids. But adults got into it too. I think everybody who played learned something new about rice.” Bryant also said the foot traffic around the booth was non-stop, and busier than previous years.
“Engagement with both USA Rice members and other show attendees was at an all-time high,” added Mary Jemison, who works at USA Rice’s field office in Louisiana and introduced the trivia wheel to the USA Rice booth several years ago. “We had a lot of repeat attendees - people who recognized our booth and our brand from previous shows we’ve participated in and went out of their way to find us again.”
Friday’s ag update meeting kicked off with a discussion by Carl Brothers about the outlook for U.S. rice exports and domestic markets, noting that while the U.S. is seventh in the world trade market share, domestic usage is up 92 percent since 1980.
Secretary Perdue addressed the crowd on Saturday and talked about the Farm Bill, trade, regulation, and legislative issues of concern to rice farmers, such as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and the recent confirmation of Bill Northey as undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service. He also visited the exhibit hall where he met with attendees and took in the latest farming machinery on display.