Representing the 27th District of Texas, Congressman Mike Cloud paid a visit to Franz Farms near Inez, Texas this week to gain a better understanding of rice farming on the gulf coast. Despite heavy rains, the weather opened up enough to visit some rice fields and have a thorough discussion of the domestic and international issues that affect district farmers. Representative Cloud was particularly interested in the markets of Mexico and Central America, the most important for all long-grain farmers.
Galen Franz, Chairman of the Texas Rice Research Foundation, board member of the USRPA, the Texas Rice Council, the Texas Rice Producers Board, and the Texas Rice Legislative Group, graciously hosted the visit. Tommy Turner, President of the Texas Rice Council and member of the USRPA board, along with Thomas Wynn, Chairman of the USRPA and owner of Coastal Rice Futures and Coastal Warehouse also participated in the meeting.
These farmers expressed their concerns over the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), commonly known as TPP that creates deep concerns about the duty-free access to the Mexican market by Vietnamese rice after the phase-in process.
The CAFTA-DR agreement with Central America and the ability of the U.S. to maintain a strong presence was also discussed. And the Texas rice leadership informed Representative Cloud that it is no secret that rice is one of the world’s most manipulated crops as competitors’ governments use interventionalist policies that in many cases are NOT legal under WTO rules. Rep Cloud was especially interested in trade issues with Mexico as he was appointed a member of the US-Mexico Interparliamentary Group, a committee formed by congressional members of both countries that address issues of trade, security, and immigration.