CLEVELAND, MS - USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward discussed trade prospects in key export markets at the Mississippi Rice Council Annual Meeting on Thursday. Ward pointed to the Colombia FTA as an example of how powerful and beneficial good, common-sense trade agreements can be. "Not only did we create a new market for our rice, but the benefits are spread throughout the rice industry, funding important industry research that helps us improve the quality, sustainability, and marketability of our rice," she said. Mississippi rice research has received over $2 million dollars since the agreement was signed.
In addition to trade, Ward shared highlights of the domestic promotion programs with the group.
USA Rice Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely reported that with the presidential election season, the closing months of the Obama Administration, and a relatively light legislative calendar for Congress there is little chance of major policy initiatives moving forward in Washington. Mosely also talked about opportunities for rice in Cuba, USA Rice’s efforts to combat illegal rice subsidies for rice producers in other countries, and the need to continue to protect the farm bill from attacks in the budgetary process.
Bobby Golden with Mississippi State University gave the rice research report and projections for the coming rice crop and Michael Ledlow gave the Mississippi Plant Board report focusing on looming worker protection laws that could greatly impact farm operations.
"The meeting was a total success with informative reports from the top leadership of USA Rice regarding the future of the rice industry," said Curtis Berry, Mississippi Rice Council President.