2018 USA Rice Outlook Conference – the Right Place at the Right Time

Group shot of audience at Outlook Innovation Stage
Innovation Stage is the conference hub
Dec 10, 2018
SAN DIEGO, CA – With four separate venues to choose from – the Innovation Stage, Sustainability Theater, Farm & Food Forum, and the Business Hall – attendees at Day Two of this year’s USA Rice Outlook conference could choose from a long list of breakout sessions to customize their educational experience and make the most of every moment at this year’s event.

State outlook and research reports, and breakout sessions covering sustainability, estate planning, and a discussion on the Central American market in the early morning made way for two general sessions, one in the morning, and one after lunch, to round out the day-long schedule.

Josh Hankins, USA Rice director for grower relations & rice stewardship partnership, started the morning General Session with an overview of the new USA Rice-developed search tool that helps rice farmers find conservation programs that provide some form of assistance to their operation.  Users can search by state, program type, topic, funding authority, or keyword to find the programs that fit individual needs.

Keynote speaker, Daniel Stone, a writer on environmental science, agriculture, and botany, shared the fascinating story of American food spy David Fairchild who introduced hundreds of crops to Americans including avocados, seedless grapes, soybeans, and other favorites, essentially shaping the way Americans eat today.

Tried and true conference headliners, Nathan Childs and Jim Wiesemeyer bookended the afternoon general session.  Along with his usual analysis of rice production projections, Senior USDA Economist Nathan Childs talked about the cheap Chinese rice currently being exported into Puerto Rico.  According to Childs, China is selling at less than half the U.S. price in an effort to deplete their more than 200 million tons of stockpiled rice.  Wiesemeyer closed out the conference with his insights on the new Congress and what it means to ag-related issues, including the farm bill, energy, and trade.

“This year it was about being in the right place at the right time and all that depended on your personal preferences,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “The wide range of topics and time slots allowed for an individualized approach to scheduling – like putting together a complete meal from an a la carte menu.”