Volume 17, Issue 30

July 30, 2020

In This Issue:

USRPA's First Rice Master Class Kicks-Off August 3rd

USRPA continues adapting its promotional programs to continue expanding the message that U.S. rice is nutritious, economical, and the perfect grain for Mexicans diet especially during this time where COVID-19 is changing everyone's lives.

On August 3rd, we will kick-off the first Virtual Rice Class in Mexico! The webinar series consists of 5 modules with Mexican, Asian, European, Latin and, American dishes using U.S. long-grain rice. Melissa Morelos, Professional Chef, Influencer, and Finalist of Master Chef Mexico will be in charge of creating and sharing various recipes offering an innovative and different culinary learning experiences to the audience.

The classes will be uploaded on a free online platform where participants will need to login to attend the Master Class. USRPA, along with the webinar, continues with its social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

USRPA Presents: 2020 U.S. Rice Virtual Technical Seminar-China

To accommodate the global travel restriction and adapt to rapidly developing cloud technology, USRPA held its first public virtual event via Zoom in China on Wednesday 10 am -12 pm, August 26th, 2020 (US Central time is Tuesday, August 25, 9-11pm). 

The educational seminar on US rice was the first of a series virtual events that benefit both international rice buyers as well as US companies that are particularly interested in expanding their global markets.     The seminar attracted dozens attendees in China which primarily consist of rice importers, food processors and Chinese rice industry leaders. This 2 hour event began with a presentation on the latest US rice market and different topics presented by renowned industry speakers followed by a Q&A session. USDA FAS has also accepted the invitation was one of the guest speakers.  

China is open to US rice thanks to the efforts of USRPA, the first rice organization to venture into this market. After the successful completion of trade mission in China in 2019, USRPA continues to monitor the market, communicate to trade contacts and plans to conduct promotional programs.

Texas Rice Update July 30, 2020

By: Dr. M.O. Way, Prof. of Entomology, Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Ctr.

Well, the Texas Rice Belt survived Hurricane Hannah, but rain from the storm came at an inopportune time. Texas rice farmers are in the middle of cutting their crop, so now many fields are muddy, but farmers need to continue cutting rice which ruts up fields for the ratoon crop. However, preliminary yield estimates look very good, so far.

Just want to briefly talk about an insect farmers commonly ask me about. Usually, farmers see the egg mass of this insect which is harmless to rice but can be painful to humans! The insect is a deer fly (Order Diptera: Family Tabanidae). The eggs are laid in a mass (like shingles on a roof) on rice foliage, usually near the tip of a leaf. The eggs hatch and the larvae drop into the water where they feed on detritus and small aquatic invertebrates…noton rice plants. They can be easily confused with stem borer egg masses, but deer fly egg masses are very dark and the individual eggs are spindle shaped and narrow. Once the aquatic larvae pupate and emerge as adults, the females seek a blood meal to produce eggs. We all know deer and horse flies have painful bites using mouthparts that slice your skin causing blood to ooze out of the wounds. They then lap up the blood. The males feed on pollen.

So, if you see these egg masses, squash ‘em!

Volume 17, Issue 29

July 23, 2020

In This Issue:

Washington DC Update: FY 2021 Appropriations

The House is currently considering the FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill as part of a four-bill, $259.5 billion spending package that includes Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA, and State-Foreign Operations. On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee approved 132 amendments for debate.

The Agriculture Appropriations bill funds important food and agriculture programs that support animal health programs, agricultural trade, nutrition programs, and rural development. Total discretionary funding in the legislation is $23.98 billion, an increase of $487 million above the FY 2020 enacted level. In total, the bill allows for $153 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, an increase of $331 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.

The House began to consider of the minibus, H.R. 7608, on Thursday morning with the goal of passing it by Friday afternoon.

Mexico Rice Festivals

Under the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), USRPA and USA Rice conducted rice festivals in major cities throughout Mexico, such as Mexico City, Monterrey, Veracruz, and Merida.

The festivals were two-day events where U.S. rice was showcased in different recipes from around the world. Ten tents with twenty kitchen modules were placed in town plazas, parks, supermarkets, etc. Twenty culinary students from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (UVM) were in charge of preparing the 20 different recipes featured at the festival and teach the attendees the benefits of U.S. rice.

At the point of entry, we conducted consumer surveys. A rice mobile or a decorated sound car attracted participants to the event and served as a staging and promotional area. A rice character entertained children and young at heart as well.

US rice producers, US Rice Producers Association staff, Trey Barker, and USA Rice staff in the Rice Festival at Soriana Hiper San Nicolas, Monterrey NL, Mexico

From left to right, Raul Medina, Deputy Director of Operations and Administration of Boca del Rio Government, Miguel Layun, Director LP Mexico, Rafael Guzman, Marketing and production coordinator of Boca del Rio Government, Bianka Rodriguez, Marketing & Promotions Director USRPA and Alejandro Lozano, Director of Tourism of Boca del Rio Government.

Mexico Social Media

The website www.consumearrozusa.com is maintained and updated with the establishment of keywords to boost the different activities within the campaign. USRPA opened profiles in several social media networks including Facebook and Instagram.  Melisa Morelos, Professional Chef, Influencer, and Finalist of Master Chef Mexico has been in charge of creating and sharing various recipes, videos, and nutritional facts about using U.S long-grain rice as the main ingredient, expanding the scope of the message. The campaign will continue throughout the year on social media.

As part of the activity, we will conduct a Master class, the 1st National Recipe Contest and Digital Recipe Book.

Mexico In-Store Cooking Demonstrations

Under the Market Expansion Strategies in Mexico, USRPA has partnered with the Mexican Rice Council and four of the largest rice millers that import U.S. rice to conduct the in-store cooking demonstrations. The annual per capita consumption rate for rice is about 15lbs. per year. It is one of the lowest per capita consumption rates in the western hemisphere.

The objective of the promotional campaign “Consume Arroz USA is to teach consumers of socioeconomic classes C, D & E at retail and wholesale centers where the activity is presented, the nutritional and economic benefits of including rice in their family’s daily diet. 

USRPA promotional activities are very effective and are similar to those frequently used by many branded products at retail outlets. Promotional teams work eight hours a day six days a week at a portable stand where rice is cooked and presented to large numbers of consumers who see rice prepared, taste it in a recipe, and receive oral, visual, and printed messages regarding rice. To reinforce the campaign, we include recipe books, coloring books, and diverse promotional items as part of the program.

El Salvador Rice Festival

USRPA’s ATP campaign “Rice Festival” in El Salvador. The festivals are a one-day event where a live cooking class is held at the event with Chef Jose Urias, he and his staff prepare diverse recipes from around the world and teach the attendees the benefits of US rice and how they can incorporate US rice on their daily diet, during the activities, promotional items, and recipe booklets are giving it away to the attendees.  Tents with kitchen modules are placed in town plazas, parks, or popular outdoor areas.  At the point of entry, we request the attendees to provide empty US rice packages to gain entry and we conduct consumer surveys as well. 

On-site, our campaign nutritionist, Lic. Guadalupe Argueta responds to all the questions about rice nutrition facts, she also participates in TV interviews. A rice mobile or a decorated sound car attract participants to promotional events and serve as a staging and promotional area. A rice character, a person in a costume, is part of promotional events as well. On the radio, we work eight radio stations of Grupo Radial Megavision announcing the Rice festival and rice capsules.

Chef Jose Urias and his staff during one of the Rice Festivals in El Salvador
USRPA Staff traveled to El Salvador to oversee the Rice Festival
From left to right: Bianka Rodriguez-USRPA Marketing & Promotions Director, Marcela de Miranda-ASALBAR Executive Director, Juan Pablo Alvarez-Mayor of Soyapango, El Salvador, Kevin Rodriguez-Director of Megavision, Joaquin Aguilar- Radio Corazon DJ.