New USDA Trade Specialist Visits USA Rice

Three women sit at conference room table, talking
USDA's Irina Gonzalez (right) gets a U.S. rice debrief
Mar 10, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new international trade specialist for rice, Irina Gonzalez, visited USA Rice’s headquarters today to learn more about USA Rice and meet staff.  

Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international, provided an overview of how the more than $5 million that USA Rice received in 2019 was used to promote U.S. rice in more than 20 international markets.  Several success stories were discussed, such as increased sales and importer participation in promotions in the West Bank, a popular promotion with Air Canada, and new promotions at Costco in Japan.  Moran also discussed proposed plans for the nearly $6 million allocated for 2020.

“I am thrilled to be collaborating with USA Rice and meeting with staff, learning as much as possible about the rice industry, and interacting with industry members,” said Gonzalez.  “USA Rice has a long history of excellence in promoting and representing the U.S. rice industry and I look forward to continuing to support those efforts and seeing further success for the organization and the industry.”

Gonzalez has worked with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) for nearly eight years, in both the food aid division and cooperator programs division, where she has covered commodities including coffee and wheat, and worked on myriad issues ranging from sanitary and phytosanitary concerns to disaster assistance.

“What makes agriculture such a unique and rewarding field is the passion and drive of those involved,” she said.  “I have tremendous respect for the farmers, millers, exporters, economists, project managers, policy experts, and all the other talented individuals who make up our agricultural sector and the rice industry.  I am proud to work alongside you and to contribute to your efforts.  And I promise to continue consuming one of my favorite dishes - arancini!”