USRPA Welcomes FECARROZ to Houston, Texas

December 16, 2022
As has been the custom for many years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USRPA Board of Directors hosted the Central American Rice Federation (FECARROZ) this week in Houston. Each organization held individual meetings as well as a joint meeting that included an evening reception sponsored by Satake USA. A wide range of topics were discussed by both groups.

At the USRPA Board of Directors meeting, Vernie Hubert and Alice Gomez of Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington led a thorough discussion on ag policy in light of the recent mid-term elections. The newest USRPA member Daniel Perkins of Arkansas River Rice Mill (ARRM) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas gave an overview of their business while thanking the USRPA for the opportunity to meet everyone, including the Central Americans. Joint projects are already ongoing with USRPA farmers and ARRM. Brad Rose from Rose Research presented a positive evaluation of USRPA’s promotion activities in Mexico. Eduardo Rojas, President of FECARROZ gave a summary of their (and USRPA’s) efforts to modify the CAFTA-DR trade agreement in order to preserve better market conditions for U.S. rice in Central America. The U.S. rice industry could not agree to modifications to the agreement phase-in schedule, resulting in a major shift to MERCOSUR suppliers and expected market pressure from southeast Asia, a situation that is extremely disturbing to all U.S. rice farmers. 

Other reports included state updates, committee (International, PAC, Sustainability) reports, the 2023 Rice Market & Technology Convention, the Ray Stoesser Memorial Scholarship, possible Farmer Exchange Program plans for 2023, and regional country updates. Roberto Wong from the Guatemala Rice Council reported on promotions in that market. Curtis McCoy of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service joined the meeting virtually. The FECARROZ board conducted two days of meetings and were joined by Marcela Garcia and Dwight Roberts for market discussions on a number of joint projects.
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