USRPA's Promotional Work in El Salvador is Recognized Nationwide with Broadcasted Cooking Competition

On Wednesday, July 28th, the much anticipated Sabor USA competitive cooking event was held, which was broadcast on Facebook LIVE. Sixty students from the Culinary Arts school "Les Art Culinaires," in El Salvador, competed to prepare the best recipe with products imported from the United States, including a category for rice.

Students presented some amazing dishes including an impressive sweet rice dish with strawberries and dried fruit presented as a main course.

Jean Manes, the Charge d'affaires for El Salvador at the US Embassy was the guest of honor and gave the inaugural address at the competition. USRPA's promotional work and sponsorship of the event was recognized throughout the day, bringing attention to the nutritional benefits of US rice which the campaign, translated to "Eat Healthy, US Rice, Guaranteed Nutrition," continues to promote.

USRPA's Digital Marketing Campaign in El Salvador Targets Younger, Health Conscience Audience

July 1st marked the start of USRPA’s digital campaign in El Salvador with the slogan: Eat Healthy, USA Rice, Guaranteed Nutrition. For this year’s campaign, a new Instagram account was created under the name of ArrozYSalud which will draw in a younger, active, and more involved audience. The account will feature influencers who will encourage healthy rice consumption with new dynamic and vibrant content.

Similarly, our Facebook account was revamped with a current following of 9,192 under the URL:  The campaign shares important content via live videos and posts which encourage engagement.  Social media influencers, Chef Juan Salomón Miguel, who has an established career in traditional media and now on social media, and Rodrigo Valdivieso, a well know nutritionist to athletes, will be joining the campaign and bringing their followers to help spread the message that U.S. rice is healthy, tasty, economical and versatile.

Washington Update

On Tuesday, July 27, the House Committee on Agriculture held a business meeting (Webcast link) to consider H.R.267, the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act.  HR 267 was amended (Amendment) to broaden the bill to cover disasters in 2020 and 2021, among other things.  H.R. 267 reauthorizes the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Protection Act (“WHIP+”) and provides $8.5 billion for payments to producers for losses from hurricanes, wildfires, and other qualifying natural disasters.  The Committee favorably reported the bill as amended by voice vote.

Chairman Scott said, “I’m glad that we were able to come together in a bipartisan way to pass this bill that, once enacted, will provide the framework for getting much-needed disaster assistance to our agricultural producers.”

USRPA's Virtual Cooking Classes Continue in Guatemala

In recent weeks, the USA Arroz Facebook fan page has seen a rapid increase in followers with more people interested in learning how to cook U.S. rice.

The virtual learning trend continues to gain popularity as a way to connect with others safely and conveniently. For these reasons, USRPA and ARROZGUA jumped on the trend early on as a way to connect with consumers and teaching them new ways to prepare nutritious and economical recipes with classes via Facebook Live and Zoom Webinars.

According to media monitoring reports, Facebook is the most used social network in Guatemala. The last cooking class reached nearly 2,000 initial streams, which continue to be shared amongst users on social media.

Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Concerns Mexico & U.S. Rice Industries

While the United States pulled out of the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPATPP) agreement negotiations at the beginning of the Trump Administration, Mexico and a number of other countries did not. Among the eleven countries that signed the agreement in March of 2018, making it effective on December 30, 2018, are Vietnam and Mexico, along with Canada, Peru and Chile in the Western Hemisphere. 

The bottom line effect on rice means that Vietnam, well-known for low prices and non-compliance with WTO regulations, will have duty-free access to Mexico, the most important long-grain market for U.S. rice farmers, after only a 10-year phase-in period. 

This week, Pedro Schettino, owner of Schettino Hermanos rice company and a major buyer of U.S. rice, visited Louisiana where he met with Governor John Bel Edwards and South Louisiana rice farmers. 

“Everyone in Mexico and the United States, both rice farmers and mills must realize the devastating effect this will have on the rice industries of the two countries,” informed Mr. Schettino, adding “we must find new approaches to maintaining our unique rice trade relationships.” 

After a visit with the Louisiana Governor and Mark Pousson of the Louisiana Independent Rice Producers Association (LIRPA), Mr. Schettino visited the South Louisiana Rail Facility in Lacassine and area rice farms where he met with numerous farmers and Dwight Roberts of the US Rice Producers Association (USRPA).

“I applaud Mr. Schettino’s visit and initiative regarding TPP and calling attention to what should be a very serious concern to all long-grain rice farmers and mills in both countries. His efforts on behalf of all Mexican rice farmers and millers is commendable”, says Roberts. 

“Research efforts by the USA Rice Federation clearly indicate a range of trade-distorting practices that exceed WTO obligations, so it's imperative that meaningful actions are taken,” Roberts added. Pedro Schettino also visited Supreme Rice Mill during his visit to Louisiana which was hosted and coordinated by both LIRPA and the USRPA.

From left: Pedro Schettino, Jr. and Pedro Schettino enjoy a visit to the office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, accompanied by Mark Pousson of LIRPA.

US Rice Producers Association ha nombrado a Marcela Garcia como nueva CEO

19 de Julio 2021

CONTACTO: Alex Clark | Veronica Galvan
+ 1 (713) 974-7423

Katy, Texas (19 de julio, 2021) – En una reunión reciente en The Woodlands, Texas, la junta directiva de US Rice Producers Association (USRPA por sus siglas en Ingles) seleccionó a Marcela García para que se desempeñe como la nueva presidenta & CEO de USRPA, en reemplazo de Dwight Roberts, quien dejará el cargo a partir del 1 de agosto de 2021. Durante los últimos 5 años, García ha ocupado el cargo de directora de operaciones y directora de la exitosa Convención de Mercado y Tecnología Arrocera durante 10 años.

Marcela Garcia, President & CEO of US Rice Producers Association
Marcela Garcia, President & CEO of US Rice Producers Association

Graduada de la Universidad de Houston con una licenciatura en administración de empresas y un menor en marketing, emprendimiento y español, García es originaria del sur de Texas, donde su familia se dedica a la ganadería y la agricultura. “Hace varios años, Marcela asumió varios roles de liderazgo para la USRPA y su amplio conocimiento y las relaciones comerciales del arroz en todo el hemisferio occidental servirán a nuestros productores de arroz extremadamente bien,” dijo el CEO saliente, Dwight Roberts, que también agregó, “tenemos talento joven, los agricultores que ingresan a nuestra junta directiva y nuestra nueva generación de talentos del personal están listos para liderar la USRPA hacia el futuro.” Después de 23 años al frente de la USRPA, Dwight Roberts se desempeñará como asesor de la organización a partir del 1 de agosto.

La junta directiva de USRPA también eligió nuevos funcionarios para 2021-2023. Felicitaciones a Alex Clark de Poplar Bluff, Missouri por ser elegido nuevo presidente. El productor de arroz del este de Texas, en Dayton, Neal Stoesser, será el vicepresidente y Dustin Watkins, que cultiva cerca de Welsh, Luisiana, es el nuevo secretario-tesorero. La junta agradeció al Dr. Thomas Wynn de Egypt, Texas por su servicio a la asociación durante los últimos dos años, que vieron a los agricultores lidiando no solo con condiciones climáticas extremas sino también con una pandemia mundial.

US Rice Producers Association, que representa a los productores de arroz en Arkansas, California, Luisiana, Mississippi, Missouri y Texas, es la única organización nacional de productores de arroz compuesta por productores, elegidos por los productores y que representan a los productores en los seis estados productores de arroz de los Estados Unidos.


US Rice Producers Association Selects New Leadership

Welcomes New CEO, Marcela Garcia

Katy, Texas (July 19, 2021) – At a recent meeting in The Woodlands, the Board of Directors of the US Rice Producers Association (USRPA) selected Marcela Garcia to serve as the new President & CEO, replacing Dwight Roberts who is stepping down effective August 1, 2021.  For the past 5 years, Garcia has held the position of Chief Operating Officer and the Director of the highly successful Rice Market & Technology Convention for 10 years.

Marcela Garcia, President & CEO of US Rice Producers Association
Marcela Garcia, President & CEO of US Rice Producers Association

A graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Spanish, Garcia is originally from South Texas where her family is involved in cattle and farming.  “Several years ago, Marcela assumed a number of leadership roles for the USRPA, and her extensive knowledge and rice trade relationships throughout the Western Hemisphere will serve our rice farmers extremely well,” said out-going CEO, Dwight Roberts, while adding, “we have young, talented rice farmers coming onto our board of directors with our new generation of staff talent, USRPA is ready to lean into the future.”  After 23 years at the helm of the USRPA, Dwight Roberts will serve in an advisory role for the organization, beginning August 1st.

The USRPA board also elected new officers for 2021-2023.  Congratulations to Alex Clark from Poplar Bluff, Missouri for being elected as the new Chairman.  East Texas rice farmer, Neal Stoesser from Dayton, Texas, will serve as Vice-Chairman and Dustin Watkins who farms near Welsh, Louisiana is the new Secretary-Treasurer.  The board thanked Dr. Thomas Wynn from Egypt, Texas for his service to the association during the past two years which saw farmers dealing not only with weather extremes but a global pandemic as well.

The US Rice Producers Association, representing rice producers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas, is the only national rice producers’ organization comprised of producers, elected by producers, and representing producers in all six rice-producing states.

Chlapecka Selected as Missouri Rice Extension Specialist

PORTAGEVILLE, Missouri (July 15, 2021)

Dr. Justin Chlapecka has been named Rice Extension Specialist and Assistant Research Professor with the University of Missouri, effective August 1.

In this new partnership between the University of Missouri and the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council, Chlapecka will lead rice agronomy research efforts, conducting research at both the Fisher Delta Research Center in Portageville, as well as the Missouri Rice Research and Demonstration Farm near Malden.

“The MRRMC has partnered with the Fisher Delta Research Center for many years, and we’re excited to continue this collaboration in a new capacity,” David Martin, Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council, said. “Justin’s expertise will undoubtedly strengthen the Missouri rice market.”

Chlapecka holds a doctorate in Crop Soil and Environmental Science from the University of Arkansas, where his research focused on rice agronomy.

“I feel very blessed to be led into the opportunity of serving the Missouri rice industry in what will undoubtedly be a mutually beneficial relationship,” Chlapecka said. “Through the partnership of the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council and MU, I am very excited to take my experience with the University of Arkansas and build on that here in Missouri for years to come.”

For more information on the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council, visit

Washington DC Update

President Biden issued an Executive Order on July 9, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy”.  The order specified 72 actions and initiatives by numerous federal agencies aimed at promoting competition and addressing problems identified by the White House.  The order touches numerous aspects of the economy – from banking to transportation to agriculture.  An Executive Order cannot change or override existing statute, but they are often used to give direction to federal agencies in exercising discretion that they have under the law.   For these reasons, the order often “encourages” agencies to take an action or directs them to develop plans for further action.   The White House fact sheet on the order is linked here and a the executive order is linked here.  The order directs all federal agencies to use spending and procurement authorities to create more opportunities for small businesses. The US Government spends about $600B a year procuring goods.

Specifically related to agriculture, the order directs USDA to curb unfair or deceptive business practices and advantages through vigorous enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act. These measures include clearly defining a violation of the Act, maintaining that it is unnecessary to “demonstrate industry-wide harm to establish a violation of the Act,” prohibiting grower ranking systems, and adopting anti-retaliation protections. USDA is directed to enhance consumer transparency by clarifying which meat products qualify for the “Product of USA” label. Three reports must also be submitted to the White House Competition Council: 1) outlining steps to support “value-added agriculture and alternative food distribution systems” via model contracts and improved transparency and labeling; 2) examining the effects of retailer consolidation on competition and how funding could improve access to local/regional food markets; and 3) enumerating USDA’s concerns with how the intellectual property system enables anti-competitive behavior by seed/input producers.  As discussed under the Federal Trade Commission, the order encourages the FTC to limit equipment manufacturers’ ability to restrict the use of independent shops or do-it-yourself repairs – often referred to as “Right to Repair.”

For additional background on the order, generally:

Policy Rationale 

Legal Basis for EO 

This section points to the relevant statutes and legislative intent that undergird the order’s rationale for renewed antitrust enforcement. It also identifies the tools at federal agencies’ disposal for protecting fair competition: policing unfair business practices, conducting oversight of mergers & acquisitions, issuing rules promoting new market entrants, and enhancing transparency.  

Interagency Cooperation 

The order encourages agencies to collaborate in policing anticompetitive behavior and reviewing mergers should there be overlapping jurisdictions. Suggested avenues for collaboration include coordinating antitrust investigations, sharing relevant information, and requesting input from the Attorney General or FTC Chair. 

White House Competition Council 

This section establishes a White House Competition Council within the EOP charged with coordinating USG efforts to address “overconcentration, monopolization, and unfair competition.” The Council will be led by the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and chaired by the Director of the National Economic Council (Brian Deese). Standing members consist of mostly cabinet secretaries with the heads of independent agencies (FTC, FCC, CFPB, etc.) invited at the Chair’s discretion. 

Financial Services 

The order encourages the DOJ, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Comptroller of the Currency to update merger oversight guidelines under the Bank Merger Act and Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. 

Worker’s Rights 

The order encourages the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue rules prohibiting non-compete clauses or other agreements that would limit workers’ mobility. 

FTC Rulemaking Authority (Data Privacy, Agriculture, Wireless Providers, Healthcare) 

The order encourages the FTC to consider updating rules that would limit data collection and surveillance practices, permit the “right-to-repair,” and prohibit delayed entry of generic drugs. 

 Beer, Wine, and Spirits 

The order directs the Treasury Department to submit a report detailing any unlawful trade practices, consolidation trends, and unnecessary regulations such as bottle sizes, permitting, or labeling that hinder competition. The Treasury is directed to consider new rules to update how the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau conducts oversight and to reduce barriers for smaller market participants. 

FCC (Telecommunications) 

The order encourages the FCC to: 

DOT (Airlines, Railroads, Shipping) 

The order directs DOT to appoint members of the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection, publish a proposed rule requiring airlines to refund baggage fees for significantly delayed flights, and consider a rule requiring clear disclosure of baggage/change/cancellation fees upon purchase of a ticket. Further, the Surface Transportation Board is directed to strengthen regulations concerning reciprocal switching agreements and ensure that passenger rail rights-of-way are respected. The Federal Maritime Commission is encouraged to prevent shipping companies from imposing excessive “detention and demurrage” charges on American exporters. 

HHS (Healthcare) 

HHS is directed to consider issuing a proposed rule permitting over-the-counter hearing-aids, promote price transparency initiatives in accordance with the No Surprises Act, and provide standardized plan options in the national Health Insurance Marketplace. HHS must also submit a plan to combat high prescription drug prices and price gouging within 45 days, streamline the approval process for generic drugs, and collaborate with states and tribes to import prescription drugs from Canada. 

Department of Commerce (Healthcare, Big Tech) 

The order directs the Department of Commerce to consider not finalizing new provisions on “march-in rights and product pricing” that would preclude the agency from using march-in rights to possibly lower drug prices. Moreover, Commerce is directed to submit a report detailing recommendations for improving competition and user benefit in the mobile application ecosystem. 


The order directs DOD to consider antitrust laws and corporate consolidation when assessing the economic forces influencing the “national security innovation base.” Further, it directs DOD to submit two reports to the White House Competition Council: 1) assessing competition in the defense industrial base and where it may be lacking and 2) outlining a plan for avoiding contract terms that complicate DOD’s ability to repair equipment in the field. 

Financial Services 

The order encourages the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to consider a rulemaking permitting consumer financial data portability to ease the cost of switching banks. 

Department of the Treasury (Worker’s Rights, Financial Services) 

The order directs Treasury to submit two reports: 1) addressing how labor markets are affected by the absence of competition and 2) competition’s impact on Big Tech’s foray into consumer finance. 

10th Annual Rice Market & Technology Convention Focuses on Evolving Market Landscape

For Immediate Release
July 15, 2021

CONTACT:  Dwight Roberts
(713) 974-7423

KATY, Texas (July 15, 2021) --  Last week, the US Rice Producers Association hosted the 10th annual Rice Market and Technology Convention at The Woodlands Resort in The Woodlands, Texas. After going virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 200 participants from multiple countries safely came together in person from July 6 to July 8 to network and learn from leading industry experts.

“The conference provided a healthy networking environment to talk about rice marketing and production issues,” Dwight Roberts, President and CEO of the US Rice Producers Association, said. “It was good to see so many major rice companies from the United States and Latin America in attendance and reinforced all the objectives of this yearly event.  We are preparing new ideas for 2022 thanks to the suggestions of many participants.”

From sustainability to the state of international trade, themes of change and evolution underpinned every session and discussion panel. The convention kicked off on Wednesday morning with remarks from Dan Hunter, Assistant Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, who noted the more conscious consumer that came out of the pandemic. Keynote speaker Dennis DeLaughter then set the tone for the conference with a presentation titled “Embracing Change: Expecting the Unexpected.”  After a variety of subjects were addressed in the two days, an overall rice market outlook from industry analysts Stuart Hoetger and Dr. Thomas Wynn concluded the convention on Thursday afternoon. Throughout the week, participants also had the opportunity to connect with numerous agricultural businesses and organizations in the sold-out exhibition space.

Planning is well underway for the 2022 convention, with more details to be announced in the coming months. Visit for the latest updates on next year’s event.

The US Rice Producers Association, representing rice producers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, is the only national rice producers’ organization comprised by producers, elected by producers and representing producers in all six rice-producing states.

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