Jan 18, 2017
EL CAMPO, TX – More than 200 Texas rice producers packed the Civic Center here today for the annual Western Rice Belt Production Conference and Texas Rice Council Meetings to hear research and association updates.
USA Rice Vice President of Marketing, Communications, & Domestic Promotion Michael Klein provided an overview of USA Rice issue areas and then walked the crowd through several highlights, including what the Trump Administration may mean for rice and what USA Rice is doing to promote U.S. rice in key international markets and at home.
Klein also shared the recent successes of USA Rice’s unique conservation and sustainability partnership with Ducks Unlimited that has resulted in $25 million in federal funding for rice conservation.
“These programs have put more than one million dollars directly in the pockets of Texas rice farmers through the EQIP and CSP programs of the Natural Resources Conservation Service,” Klein said. “And just last month our partnership was awarded $15 million, more than half of which is going to the Lower Colorado River Authority to help them build a new reservoir in Eagle Lake, Texas, that will supply water to more than 50,000 rice acres in Colorado, Matagorda, and Wharton Counties.”
Texas Rice farmer and chairman of US Rice Producers Tommy Turner also spoke, thanking the crowd for their support. He shared his thoughts that much work remains to be done on quality issues, and went on to praise the efforts of his organization to promote rough rice exports, particularly through the South Louisiana Rail Facility.
Other speakers included Dr. Muthu Bagvathiannan and Dr. Shane Zhou of Texas A&M, Texas Department of Agriculture Pesticide Inspector Melissa Barton, and Dr. Mo Way and Dr. Joe Outlaw from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, among others.