Jan 09, 2019
STUTTGART, AR -- Rice farmers from around Arkansas and the Mid-South met at the Grand Prairie Center here yesterday for the Arkansas Rice annual meeting. More than 400 people attended, including vendors and business interests that support rice farming, as well as state officials and legislators on hand to discuss a variety of topics, from the proposed restructuring of the state government to the recently passed Farm Bill and more.
In keeping with the meeting’s theme of “Family Farming,” USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward talked about the USA Rice mission of being the family’s “out of town” voice, fighting in Washington for sound policies, and advocating for U.S.-grown rice in markets here and around the world.
"I appreciate the opportunity to share with folks in Arkansas what we are doing on their behalf and to hear firsthand their concerns and priorities," said Ward. "It was also nice to be able to share some good news -- bipartisan passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and positive developments in Iraq and China."
Josh Hankins, USA Rice director of grower relations & the Rice Stewardship Partnership, gave a presentation on the new conservation search tool available on the revamped USA Rice website, and Vice President of Domestic Promotion Michael Klein took part in a check-off panel discussion.
Following the general session, Ward and Klein were joined by Sarah Moran, USA Rice international vice president, to present both a review of recent activities and a look ahead to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board (ARRPB) meeting. The ARRPB is made up of nine rice representatives who are nominated by industry organizations and appointed to two-year terms by the governor. The board is responsible for allocating Arkansas rice promotion and research check-off funds annually, and for the past 30 plus years, the ARRPB has awarded promotion funds to the USA Rice Council in recognition of the exemplary work performed by the Council on behalf of Arkansas rice farmers. The board voted yesterday to continue the relationship.
“It’s gratifying to know farmers in this state entrust us with their hard earned funds,” said Ward. “We appreciate the financial and moral support as we push for real progress for the U.S. rice industry.”