Nov 03, 2023
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Rice Research & Promotion Board met here yesterday to hear reports from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, USA Rice, the Division of Ag at the University of Arkansas, and officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
New Board Chair Jim Whitaker, a rice farmer from McGehee, moved through the agenda quickly, first discussing board finances and checkoff collection rates, before turning the podium over to USA Rice.
USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward, participating remotely, informed the board that the USA Rice Board had named Peter Bachmann as her successor, and she expressed confidence in him and thanked the Arkansas representatives who served on the CEO search committee. Bachmann was also on the call.
Then USA Rice staff who were present, Sarah Moran, vice president international, and Michael Klein, vice president of marketing & domestic promotion, shared a few highlights, including the use of reverse trade missions to drive export business, the upcoming quality symposium at the USA Rice Outlook Conference, promotions with the restaurant chain Rock N’ Roll Sushi, the newly released K-12 foodservice cookbook, and more.
The board heard a detailed update on the Northeast Regional Rice Research Station from Director Dr. Tim Burchum and additional research reports from University staff.
The Board then requested updates from the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center and the USDA Agricultural Research Service to determine joint priorities and areas for future collaboration. Yulin Jia, acting research leader/center director at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, and his staff shared the various databases they utilize and their research into artificial intelligence for improved plant phenotyping.
The Board agreed to meet again in early February for another update on promotion and research efforts.