U.S. and Japan Rice Industries Reunite in Sacramento for 25th Annual U.S.-Japan Technical Meetings

Photo op in a California rice field where stewardship is the story
Aug 31, 2022
SACRAMENTO, CA – Importers from Japan met here yesterday with U.S. exporters for the 25th annual U.S.-Japan rice technical meeting.  The bilateral meeting marked the end of virtual-only gatherings for the group and provided an opportunity for networking and relationship building with some of the industry’s most important customers.
“We are excited about spending this time with our Japanese counterparts after the multi-year hiatus and we are optimistic about our continued cooperative trading relationship,” said Alex Balafoutis, chair of the U.S. delegation and executive vice president of Western Foods.
While the 2022 drought in California has led to a significant drop in planted acreage and will likely reduce U.S. medium grain exports in 2022 and early 2023, there will still be California rice available in the domestic and global market.  Participants discussed the supply and demand trends in both markets and measures of quality control, among other topics.
Following the technical meeting, the delegation toured a California rice mill and visited a local rice field to hear about stewardship and other best management practices used by U.S. farmers.
“We are looking forward to continuing our discussions with our friends from Japan in the follow-up from this meeting and hope that we will have more exportable rice in 2023,” said Balafoutis.