Dwight Roberts, President and CEO, US Rice Producers Association | Delta Farm Press

The longtime debate on exporting milled versus rough rice continues and appears to be entering a new chapter. Going back to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico, then the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and more recent agreements like the treaty with Colombia, all tell a story.

As we enter what appears to be a new era in international trade, the U.S. rice farmer must ask himself, “Would I still be in business if there were no rough rice exports?”

Farmers were told that rough rice exports would cripple our domestic market and erode our infrastructure. Ask anyone in the wheat industry what happened to all those flour mills that used to export bagged flour. They closed and the U.S. became the largest exporter of wheat in the world.

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