Sep 19, 2022
MERIGOLD, MS -- Delta Rice Promotions, the organization dedicated to promoting U.S.-, and specifically, Mississippi-grown rice, held the 2022 Annual Rice Festival in celebration of National Rice Month (NRM) on the streets of downtown Merigold last week.
Hundreds of people came to celebrate the versatility of U.S.-grown rice and show appreciation for those who work in the domestic rice industry with a variety of activities: tasting rice dishes from local restaurants, learning about rice farming through hands-on exhibits, visiting vendors and community organizations, enjoying live music, and witnessing the coronation of the Delta Rice Queen Anna Scott Gant, and Rice Ambassador Brant Davis.
“Of course, we learned a lot from last year’s first-ever street festival,” said Laura Jane Giaccaglia, the Bolivar County extension coordinator for Mississippi State University who organized the event. “We kept the things that worked well and tried out different ways to promote homegrown rice, one of Mississippi’s top agriculture exports.”
USA Rice again exhibited at the event and was strategically set up next to Ducks Unlimited to capitalize on the symbiosis of the two groups – what’s good for rice is good for ducks! Staff from both organizations gave out ball caps, recipe cards, fact sheets, and more, all in the name of promoting homegrown rice. Staff also answered questions about farming practices, and the festival was well-timed, coming the day after the announcement of an $80 million Climate-Smart USDA grant for USA Rice, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Black Growers Council.
“People were excited to hear that the industry’s commitment to sustainability is ongoing and that farmers are being supported for their conservation efforts,” said Michael Klein, USA Rice vice president of marketing and domestic promotion. “That positive news, plus the beautiful weather put everyone in the perfect mindset to celebrate National Rice Month.”
USA Rice’s new chair, Mississippi rice farmer Kirk Satterfield, took a few hours out from his on-going rice harvest 40 miles southwest to visit the festival.
“We really appreciate all the work Delta Promotions does to help raise awareness for our crop,” Satterfield said. “Events like today’s, the cookbooks, contests, and more do a lot to remind folks of all that goes into getting delicious and nutritious rice on their plates.”