Rice District Members Educate Congress on U.S. Rice Industry

Sep 29, 2016
From left: Crawford, Boozman, and Abraham
WASHINGTON, DC – This month, rice industry champions, Representatives Ralph Abraham (R-LA) and Rick Crawford (R-AR), and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) gave one-minute speeches on the floor of the House in recognition of National Rice Month.  (To view speech, click on name.)

“Right now, America’s family rice farmers are harvesting what will end up being about 18 billion pounds of rice, off three million acres of sustainably-managed farmland,” said Abraham.  “My district alone produces an annual crop worth over $119 million, from over 110,000 planted acres across 11 parishes.”

Abraham added, “Much of the United States’ annual rice production will be exported to more than 120 countries around the globe, and much of that will be distributed as humanitarian aid…It is my pleasure to recognize the rice growers and millers in my district, and nationwide, for the great contributions they make feeding the United States, and in fact, the world.”

Crawford, who represents the largest rice-growing Congressional District in the nation, focused on U.S. agriculture’s challenge to feed nine billion people by 2050.  “But here in the United States Congress, one of the problems I run into is that people don’t know that we grow rice in the United States,” he said.  “But I do what I can to spread the word about American rice production, including sending other Members rice crispy treats on their birthdays.”

Crawford concluded, “If we’re going to use rice as a tool for solving the world’s need for affordable foods, we’ve got to keep telling the story about American rice.  I can’t think of any other food more important for feeding the world.”

Boozman made clear he’s an industry champion, saying, “I’m pleased to promote policies that enable our farmers to manage their risk so that high quality U.S. rice remains a staple on tables across the globe.”

About the growing number of U.S. jobs and economic output associated with the rice industry, Boozman said he supports opening up new markets for U.S. rice to compete:  “Rice farmers all across America would benefit from a change in policy with Cuba because rice is a staple of the Cuban diet.  The USDA estimates that U.S. rice exports could increase by $365 million per year if financing and travel restrictions were lifted.”