Volume 17, Issue 25

June 25, 2020

In This Issue:

China Trade Servicing

The USRPA began monitoring the Chinese rice market in 1998-99 through the work of two experienced market analysts.  With support from FAS posts, these efforts of monitoring Chinese production and consumer issues continued and led to the awarding of funds under the Emerging Markets Program to further assess the Chinese market on behalf of the US rice industry.  These funds were used to conduct Chinese consumer tastings and surveys in upscale supermarkets in several large cities.  Coordinating with FAS, EMP funded activities were carried out for several years and resulted in the initiative from APHIS to establish a protocol that did not previously exist.  Several years of negotiations between APHIS and AQSIQ (Chinese government counterpart) including the inspection visits led to a final agreement approved by both governments.  This process was supported by both US rice groups.

USRPA Past Performance and Evaluation Results

In recent years USRPA hosted several Chinese government and non-government visits and brought US rice industry to China several times to meet with Chinese importers and industry contacts.  These trips combined had substantial success that improved further understanding of both industries and facilitate buyers’ interest.  USRPA has since maintained a comprehensive list of Chinese industry contacts and is in constant communication with key contacts to answer questions and monitor feedbacks.  A dedicated staff is added to focus on eastern hemisphere market development.

In early 2017, USRPA hosted a delegation from China Department of Agriculture to visit local rice farms and industry.  All delegates had positive impression of US farm operations as well as the high standard that the industry holds up to. 

Later in 2017, USRPA hosted a meeting with a high-level group of China National Association of Grain Sector (CNAGS) led by V.P. Mr. Ren in Washington D.C.  The meeting paved the road for building a strong relationship of both associations and gaining access to Chinese rice importers.

Additionally, in May 2019 USRPA co-hosted a large group of Chinese rice importers led by CNAGS to visit local mills and held a round-table meeting as well as a reception.  APHIS was also invited to the meeting to give Chinese importers a presentation on US rice grading and standard.  The visit was so well received that Chinese importers not only observed how US rice is produced, processed, and distributed, but also were assured of the quality and vast variety of US rice, especially in terms of sustainability and safety.  USRPA staff worked with CNAGS closely on invitation and itinerary etc.  Due to uncertainties surrounding trade war and retaliatory tariff imposed, trade activity was put on hold.

By invitation of USRPA, one month later another group of Chinese rice industry led by CNAGS attended Rice Market and Technology Convention in New Orleans.  USRPA scheduled meetings for Chinese to visit a local grading lab and one-on-one meetings with several mills during the convention.  Long grain rice samples from different mills were presented and feedback was collected and discussed with mills.  The trip was a great opportunity for the Chinese industry to learn about the US rice industry, especially in the Delta region. 

Following the success of two visits of Chinese rice industry groups, with ATP funding USRPA brought 9 delegates including USRPA staff and industry members to visit trade contacts in China and attended 17th China International Grain and Oil Expo (CIGOEX) at the invitation of CNAGS.  USRPA promoted US rice at a booth, scheduled several meetings with Chinese importers in Beijing and Shanghai as well as visited COFCO.  US medium and long grain rice samples were presented and discussed to identify market potential and consumer preference.  We found that there is a premium market for US rice that addresses food safety and sustainability.  US embassy and FAS post provided great support to join USRPA at the booth and assisted with meetings with importers.  As a result of the visit, 20 new contacts were established, and 5 requests of samples were received.

In response to interest from an importer, USRPA staff and member traveled to Louisiana to meet with the importer again in December 2019, when USA Rice organized a reverse trade mission to US by a group of Chinese rice companies.  Different rice samples were cooked, and feedback were collected immediately from the importer.

Although USRPA staff’s travel to China in early 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19, USRPA has continuously maintained communication with Chinese trade contacts online or on social media such as WeChat to continue research and network and also kept abreast with trade developments with China.  Additional samples were requested because of such contacts.

Volume 17, Issue 24

June 18, 2020

In This Issue:

Thomas Wynn

USRPA Past-Chairman

Thomas Wynn is a farmer, rancher, marketing analyst, and COO of M&W Farm & Ranch in Egypt, Texas. He is also a partner in Coastal Rice & Futures Inc. in East Bernard, Texas. His specialty is risk management in agricultural commodity markets. He also focuses on innovation diffusion and agricultural policy in both domestic and international settings.  In addition to consulting in the private sector, Wynn works with international industry trade associations and producer groups to promote sound agricultural practices and policies.

Wynn received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University in 2004.  In 2006, he completed his Masters in Agribusiness from Texas A&M University.  Part of his masters education included extensive training in business analysis, price forecasting, market simulation and risk management.  After a sojourn in industry, he returned to Texas A&M University to pursue his Ph.D. in International Agriculture. Wynn added to his knowledge of risk management with focused studies in that sector. Wynn will earn the Ph.D. upon completion of his dissertation.

Completing his Master’s degree in 2006, Wynn accepted a position with the US Rice Producers Association (USRPA) in Houston, Texas.  While serving as the Director of International Market Development at USRPA, he traveled extensively in Latin America, Central America, and Mexico developing and implementing promotional programs as well as providing marketing support and advice to specialists in both the public and private sectors.  Wynn worked to develop and implement promotional programs in addition to providing marketing support and advice to specialists within the region. He also worked briefly in Switzerland; his travels include Thailand, Trinidad, and Tobago.

During the 2008 Farm Bill proceedings, Wynn spent a significant amount of time in Washington D.C. working with farm industry lobbyists and the US Farm Service Agency (FSA) to achieve practical and realistic farm bill implementation standards.  Wynn has been a featured speaker at more than 20 domestic and international conferences and is a contributing author to agricultural publications.

His peers in industry and his instructors at Texas A&M University have recognized Wynn.  In 2011, he was awarded the Graduate Student of the Year award within his department.  In 2013, the National Cotton Council recognized Wynn as the Cotton Marketer of the Year.

Thomas, currently lives in Egypt, Texas.  He is a partner in and COO of M&W Farm & Ranch where he manages daily operations and risk management. Thomas also currently serves as Secretary & Treasurer of the Texas Rice Council and as a USRPA Board Member.

Grace Wang

Accountant & Easter Hemisphere Promotions Director

Grace Wang is responsible for processing accounts receivables, payables and payroll for USRPA, RMTC, TX Rice Council and PAC and assist with federal (USDA) grant claims, accounting and contribution records. Wang born in China, she is bilingual Chinese – English and moved to Houston after graduating from Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio with an MBA degree. She has over 10 years’ experience working in accounting and administrative positions in various industries, including oil and gas, manufacture and logistics. Grace joined USRPA in 2016.

Trey Barker

Member Services

Trey Barker is from a 5th generation rice farming family in Texas. Barker recently graduated from Texas A&M University majoring in Agriculture Leadership Education & Development. Along with a passion for production agriculture and connecting with others in the rice and cattle industries, Barker is an avid hunter, fisher and agricultural photographer. Barker continues to work on the family farm in Katy, Texas and is responsible for Member Services at the USRPA.

Bianka Rodriguez

Western Hemisphere Promotions and Marketing Director

Bianka Rodriguez, Wester Hemisphere Promotions and Marketing Director is responsible for managing USRPA’s Unified Export Strategy International Rice Promotion campaigns in Mexico and Central America and regularly travels to audit and review campaign activities. Rodriguez also coordinates and facilitates the logistical aspects involved with the annual Rice Market & Technology Convention’s many speakers, exhibitors and sponsors. Rodriguez is the point-of-contact and intermediary amongst prominent customers of U.S. rice and various U.S. Embassies, has traveled throughout Latin America attending events and meetings, representing the US Rice Producers Association and promoting the U.S. rice industry. Rodriguez is bilingual and joined the team in 2012, studied at the Universidad Del Valle de Mexico, Mexico City and has completed business development courses at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and received a Business Management Certificate from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

Veronica Galvan

Events & Technology Manager

Veronica Galvan, Events & Technology Manager, is responsible for the organization’s technical and digital strategies including production of marketing materials for international and domestic initiatives. Galvan has an extensive background working with technology specific to the non-profit industry and graduated from DeVry University with a bachelor’s in Technical Management. Galvan was previously employed with the National Association of Realtors® and the American Orthopaedic Association in Illinois. Galvan relocated to the Houston area in 2007 and joined the USRPA team in November of 2009. Currently working with logistics, planning and development of RMTC, Veronica Galvan is also in charge of online registration, is bilingual and resides in Katy, Texas.

Marcela Garcia

President & CEO

Marcela Garcia, President & CEO, graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a minor in Spanish and Entrepreneurship. Garcia began working with USRPA as an intern in September 2008 and joined the USRPA team in May 2009. In addition to developing and implementing USRPA’s current International Promotions Programs, Garcia has been in charge of the annual Rice Marketing & Technology Convention, which brings together rice industry from throughout the Western Hemisphere, promoting international trade and networking. Garcia currently heads the logistics, planning and development of RMTC and serves as the first point of contact for RMTC Sponsors. Garcia has traveled throughout Latin America and Europe, attending events and meetings, representing the US Rice Producers Association and promoting the U.S. rice industry. Marcela Garcia is fully bilingual and currently resides in Katy, Texas.

Dwight Roberts

Senior Advisor

Dwight Roberts, Senior Advisor to the US Rice Producers Association, has spent the last 30 years working in agriculturally related international activities both in the private sector and as the director for international marketing at the Texas Department of Agriculture. He also spent 10 years living and working in the grain and cattle business in South America. Roberts received his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University.