EPA Staff Explores Mid-South Rice Country

People stand waist-deep in green rice field
Nothing like being hip-deep in work
Aug 05, 2019
STUTTGART, AR – Last week USA Rice hosted eight staff members from across the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs to experience rice production in Missouri and Arkansas.

With the need for new crop protection products ever growing, these tours bring key EPA personnel out to the farm to inform them of pesticide issues facing rice growers across the country.

The group started the week in St. Louis with a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery to see one of the end products made with rice.  They visited rice growing regions in both Missouri and Arkansas, stopping at Rance Daniels’ farm in Hornersville, Missouri, and three operations in Arkansas, in Burdette with Mike Sullivan, in England with Dow Brantley, and in Stuttgart with David and Robert Petter, to learn about how rice is grown and see firsthand pesticide application by ground sprayer and aerial application.

The group toured two different rice mills, Riceland Foods in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and Martin Rice Company in Bernie, Missouri, to learn how rice gets from the farm to grocery store shelves.  The group also sat in on some of the Arkansas Rice Research & Promotion Board meeting in Stuttgart.  The tour ended at the University of Arkansas Rice Field Day in Stuttgart where participants heard about weed resistance issues and current research projects being done for the benefit of rice farmers.

“Bridge building between the regulatory agency and the rice industry serves us all,” said David Petter who is also chair of the USA Rice Regulatory Affairs and Food Safety Committee.  “Having EPA employees come here to see our operations and talk to farmers about the real issues we face when it comes to pests is invaluable, and we thank everyone who joined us last week and opened their farms and businesses to the group.”