Volume 17, Issue 47

November 25, 2020

In This Issue:

SLRF Hosts Central American Visitors

Last week in Southwest Louisiana, the South Louisiana Rail Facility enjoyed a visit from William Gutierrez, a rice seed specialist and merchant from the Dominican Republic, and Mr. Harold Bolanos, owner of Southern Belle Acadian Rice Mill, LLC in Rayne, Louisiana. They visited with area farmers and the local infrastructure.

It's been an interesting year for southwest Louisiana; dealing with the coronavirus and several hurricanes during the year, the SLRF was able to sell two vessels to Brazil, along with sales to Honduras and Mexico by both ocean vessel and rail. The result is most farmers’ bins are empty and sold out today giving them an opportunity to enjoy the hunting season and prepare for the 2021 planting season.

The Southern Belle Acadian Rice Mill is a new member of the USRPA.

Happy Anniversary to the US Rice Producers Association!

Rice Farmers Ready for 2021!

Today, December 18, 2020, marks the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the US Rice Producers Association. Today it’s impossible to not think of Mr. Jack Wendt, a Texas rice farmer and former President of the US Rice Council that was based in Houston, Texas, and a man who traveled the world promoting U.S. grown rice. He also made his share of trips to Washington, D.C. to remind Capitol Hill of the contribution made by rice farmers to our national food security in his genuine effort to feed the world.

While Jack grew more than 60 rice crops, he was an original member of the USRPA board of directors. Respected and known by everyone in the U.S. rice industry, Mr. Wendt played an instrumental role in the development of those original by-laws dated December 18, 1997. The same principals installed by Jack in 1997 ring true today- an organization comprised of producers, elected by producers, and representing rice producers in all rice-producing states.

The new rice association was told at the time the effort would never materialize, considered a group of “rebel farmers” who will not last. Someone forgot to tell folks like Mr. Wendt, Raymond Franz, Hal Koop, Sonny Martin, Penn Owen and Rex Morgan apparently. These gentlemen stood by their principals and always spoke as if 1,000 rice farmers were listening over their shoulders. Just like Ray Stoesser!

Over the years change became inevitable and while the USRPA developed unique relationships with the most important markets and the buyers for long-grain rice, it is satisfying to know that these men had so much to do with our current day leadership in the US rice industry.

Comments written last month by the leadership of the USA Rice Federation apparently confirm what these men knew all along.

“All of those issues are long gone and most of the people involved are not around anymore.”

“The leadership on the USA Rice board & committees has changed and the attitude and philosophy has changed.”

“That might have been the case 20 years ago and now is far from the truth.”

Looking back over the past 23 years, this has to be the biggest accomplishment of the USRPA- raising awareness and creating change for the better.

Congratulations to all of you who have been involved in this process and continue to represent rice farmers. 2021 will bring new challenges but like has been the case for the past 23 years, they will be met. After all 2020 has taught us that farmers are officially “essential.”

Pictured above are Mr. Jack Wendt (November 4, 1922 – February 22, 2013) with his wife Billie (who passed away in October 2020) and their daughters, attending an event in his honor at Texas A&M University. Jack Wendt received numerous awards for his exemplary leadership and assistance in forming a Texas Rice Research Foundation.

USRPA Participates in International Promotion Planning Conference

This week over two days all USRPA staff participated in an international promotion planning conference with the USA Rice Federation and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. At the conference USRPA on behalf of rice farmers presented results of the organization’s 2020 efforts and its proposals for 2021 activities to promote sales of U.S. rice abroad.

USRPA for decades has successfully executed international activities promoting exports of U.S. rice, and our efforts in 2020 continued this trend of deepening and widening market access for U.S. rice farmers to sell rice. This has only been possible with the support of U.S. government promotion funding through the Market Access Program administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. 2020 activities included promotion at the point of sale such as cooking demonstrations, website and social media campaigns providing recipes, MasterChef videos, live online rice cooking classes, distinct regional market webinars, Zoom sessions, and conference calls convening key industry stakeholders to promote trade servicing.

In 2021 USRPA will look to increase its international promotion budget through doubling down on efforts related to advertising, contests, and other market expansion strategies. Through online courses, culinary seminars, in-store cooking demonstrations, sponsorship of TV cooking programs, and the continued rollout of USRPA’s highly sophisticated website and social media campaign, USRPA continues to be the only national rice organization dedicated to promoting all forms of U.S. rice exports, with a special focus on promoting farm-direct marketing. USRPA has only one interest: empowering U.S. rice farmers to increase sales. USRPA remains resolute in its interest to promote U.S. rice sales worldwide and will pursue every opportunity available to continue the successful trends of market expansion this organization has championed for over 20 years.

USRPA Congratulate at Hami Group’s New Product Press Release

(Ha’erbin, China) On December 12, 2020, the Regional Rice Pavilion Longping Daohuaxiang Project - new product launch conference of Hami Group was held in Harbin. Leaders of the rice industry from various provinces and cities across China, grain industry associations, scientific research institutions, e-commerce platforms, city partners, and sales companies, as well as rice processing companies and rice cooperatives in Northeast China attended the press conference. The audience witnessed the new brand and technology demonstration of Hami Group's Hami Love brand and the collaboration of Longping Daohuaxiang project.

Yuan Longping, the father of hybrid rice and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the US Rice Producers Association, and the National Japonica Rice Engineering Technology Research Center warmly congratulated the press conference.