Dec 07, 2018
SAN DIEGO, CA – This traditionally sunny city experienced a deluge yesterday and while attendees of the USA Rice Outlook Conference may have been disappointed in the weather, they had a jam-packed schedule of speakers and breakout sessions to make up for it.
The General Session opened with a host state welcome from Captain Roy Love, commander of Naval Base San Diego and a posting of the colors flag ceremony by the U.S. Naval Base Point Loma Color Guard. Captain Love thanked U.S. rice farmers for their service in providing a nutritious staple food for Navy personnel throughout the fleet, in countless mess halls in ports around the world and on ships at sea.
USA Rice Chairman and California rice farmer Charley Mathews, Jr. also welcomed the crowd to San Diego and encouraged everyone to make the most of their time at the conference, including visiting with exhibitors and sponsors who make the three day event possible.
Next up Vice President, Supply Chain for Riviana Foods and chairman of the USA Rice Millers’ Association Keith Gray and Senior Trade Editor for Agri-Pulse Bill Tomson talked about trade in the Trump era, and Dr. Steve Linscombe shared highlights from the recently-completed “2018 U.S. Rice Sustainability Report.”
Keynote speaker, food futurologist Dr. Morgaine Gaye, shared her insights into how people are changing the way they shop, eat, and cook, and what that will mean for the rice industry in the future. Based in the United Kingdom, Dr. Gaye travels the world identifying trends and opportunities for global companies including Coke, Nestle, Mars, and Samsung, and believes that while taste is often understood as a biological experience, it is also a social or cultural phenomenon.
“Keynote speakers are supposed to give your sensibilities a jolt and Dr. Gaye delivered,” said Mathews. “Her observations about food went way beyond simple taste and texture, and gave us all a new perspective on the future of food. After seeing some of the far out directions Dr. Gaye thinks food is headed, I really appreciated that the menu in our Awards Luncheon was simple and identifiable chicken and rice pilaf!”
The Awards Luncheon was followed by a full slate of programs in the Sustainability Theater, the Farm & Food Forum, and the Business Hall, on topics ranging from conservation, workers compensation, and the future of retail.
“Our programming just gets better and better each year,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “The caliber of speakers and the wide range of topics covered makes for an engaging, informative experience with something for everyone.”
The Outlook Conference continues Friday with sessions and speakers covering the world of agriculture, politics, statistics, and history.