Volume 17, Issue 14
April 9, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Rice Market Update: Delta Rice Farmers Poised to Make Planting Progress
  • Washington Update: COVID - COVID - COVID - AGAIN
  • Texas Rice Update
Rice Market Update: Delta Rice Farmers Poised to Make Planting Progress
The USDA released their April WASDE report which only included minimal revisions to both the long grain and medium grain balance sheets. In fact, the only change to the long grain balance sheet was a reduction in imports which ultimately lowered ending stocks by 500,000 cwts. Coincidentally, the USDA raised their season average farm price projection by $0.20 per cwt. The USDA left medium grain untouched outside of a slight adjustment to pricing despite the recent surge in demand. For now, the USDA projects long grain ending stocks to be down 58% year over year at 13.7 million cwts. 

The current projected stocks-to-use ratio of 12.7% would be the lowest since 2007/08 and is a likely reason for long grain prices returning a $1.50 per cwt more than last year. Overall, all rice season-average farm prices firmed this month as the USDA bumped it’s US rice price forecast by $0.20 per cwt to $13.20 per over loan. 

In the cash market, tight supplies in Louisiana continued to drive up cash prices, where quotes were reported up $2 per cwt against last week. With Texas old crop depleted, buyers are beginning to look to new crop and are already offering $12 per cwt. The story remains similar in Mississippi and Arkansas where scarce supplies make it difficult to pin down spot pricing. The latest report pegs the Arkansas cash price at $14.40 delivered mill. While Arkansas looks poised to make strong headway in planting in the coming days, Mississippi continues to be hamstrung by weather.  Conditions in Missouri are beginning to improve, and it appears that groundwork should commence soon, assuming weather allows.

Nearby contracts for most grains finished up today as the Fed sought to push through a new lending plan that would provide $2.3 trillion to prop the US economy. The July rough rice contract ticked up $0.205 per cwt and settled at $14.295 while the September contract gained $0.10 per cwt and settled at $12.045 per cwt. A $2.25 spread between these two contracts is unusual at this time and should converge some in the weeks ahead.  
South Louisiana looking at a second half July harvest start.

Washington Update

As is evident, Washington is focused on COVID and responses to the crisis. The latest effort involves a supplement to the CARES Act. Of course, no effort is easy in DC. Today, Thursday 4-9-2020, Majority Leader McConnell failed to pass by unanimous consent an additional $250 billion for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In a statement earlier in the week McConnell indicated that he intended to pass an additional $250 billion for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) sometime this week. The Trump Administration supported this effort and sent a letter officially requesting additional funding for the PPP. In response, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer issued a joint statement which called for—beyond additional PPP funding—additional money for hospitals, state and local governments, and an increase in SNAP. Senate Democrats also offered a proposal based on their response which failed to pass by unanimous consent which would have provided in the bill:

  • $100 billion for hospitals, community health centers, and health systems, as well as production and distribution of testing and personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • $150 billion for state and local governments for management of the crisis as well as to make up for lost revenue;
  • A 15% increase to the maximum SNAP benefit.

After failing to reach agreement, the Senate adjourned until April 13. More time will allow all involved to negotiate a path forward. Republicans have generally pushed for more funding for the small business program, while Democrats have advocated expanding the effort to include additional emergency measures. In addition to the funding provided in their proposal today, Democrats have interest in working on a proposal that would include $150 billion aimed at addressing those that are underbanked and for removing barriers to voting.

On the agriculture specific front, USDA is in the process of collecting proposals and ideas from all sectors in order to allocate the $9.5 B provided in the CARES Act along with an additional $6 B in CCC funding. Altogether agriculture could receive $15.5B in assistance to offset the effects of COVID. Reports indicate that Secretary Perdue wants to make an announcement soon about the payments. 
Texas Rice Update
Dr. M.O. Way, Prof. of Entomology, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center
According to the Texas Rice Crop Survey, as of April 3, 2020, about 75% of the Texas rice crop is planted and about 50% of the planted crop has emerged. Reports from the field indicate the crop is off to a good start. It has been relatively dry this spring, so many farmers were able to plant early this year. For instance, in 2019, only about 40% of the crop was planted by the 1 st week of April.

I know we are all concerned about COVID-19, as well we should, but our rice farmers continue to work full and overtime to produce a staple, nutritious food for the US and the world. Our farmers are unsung heroes in the fight against this pandemic!

I just wanted to say a few words about the 38 th Rice Technical Working Group (RTWG) which was hosted by our Mississippi colleagues in Orange, AL February 24-27, 2020. Dr. Jason Bond served as Secretary and Program Chair. Jason reported there were 280 registrants, 225 scientific presentations and 4 student contests. By all measures, this was a very successful meeting! The RTWG is the premiere rice conference for US rice scientists and is held every other year in a rotation with rice-producing states…Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, California and Mississippi. So, the next RTWG will be held in 2022 in Arkansas. If you want more information about the RTWG, contact me at moway@aesrg.tamu.edu or 409-239-4265.
Perdido Beach Resort, Orange Beach, AL where the 38 th RTWG was held.
Dr. Don Groth from Louisiana State University presenting in the Plant Protection Panel
Dr. Luis Espino from University of California presenting in the Plant Protection Panel 
Upcoming Events
June 30, 2020
Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
David R. Wintermann Rice Research Station, FM 202 just north of Eagle Lake, Texas. Field tour in late afternoon, then move to the Eagle Lake Community Center for dinner and a business meeting. More details to come.

July 1, 2020
H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Annual Field Day
Crowley, Louisiana. Tours early in the morning, followed by presentations inside. Check back later for more information.

July 9, 2020
73rd Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1509 Aggie Drive in Beaumont, Texas. More details to come.
Milled rice production for MY 19/20 is estimated at 7.17 million, while MY 20/21 is forecast slightly lower, at 7.07 MMT. Rice consumption is also forecast to decrease from 7.45 MMT in MY 19/20 to 7.4 MMT in MY 20/21. 
In MY 2020/21, rice production is forecast to increase by 13 percent as a result of higher local prices that motivate rice growers to enlarge area.
Rice production is forecast at 500,000 MT for MY 2020/21, up six percent from a year prior. While both wheat and rice imports continue to trend upwards, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic begins to be realized as rice shipments to Ghanaian importers are cancelled by suppliers from Vietnam, leaving the importers to contemplate other sources of supply.
Imports of rice in MY 2020/21 are forecast at 1.18 million MT, up roughly 80,000 MT from the previous year, based on the consumption needs of a growing population.
Rice continues to be one of the most important agricultural products grown in the DR. Production of rice for MY 2020/21 (July 2020/ June 2021) is forecast at 560,000 MT with expectations of return to normal rainfall patterns .
On March 20th, 2020 the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly issued decree 604 temporarily eliminating import tariffs on certain products to guarantee sufficient supply during the COVID-19 emergency. Also, on March 30th, the government of El Salvador set maximum sales prices for basic food products sold at the wholesale and retail level. 
Rice exports in MY 2020/21 are forecast to recover to 12 MMT on higher exportable supplies. MY 2020/21 coarse grain consumption is forecast at 45.8 MMT stagnant over last year on weak demand from the poultry sector, which has been hit by fake news that poultry products can transmit Covid-19.
Rice production is also forecast to modestly decrease as farmers fallow land and convert fields to other row crops, but at rates too low to impact imports. In spite of these headwinds, Taiwan has been a world leader in the fight against COVID-19 and consumption and trade is expected to recover next year.
Food and Agriculture Regulatory and Policy Roundup
All eyes on the weather as planting gains momentum
Grain: World Markets and Trade
This monthly report includes data on U.S. and global trade, production, consumption and stocks, as well as analysis of developments affecting world trade in grains. Covers wheat, rice and coarse grains (corn, barley, sorghum, oats and rye).
Happy Holiday!
USRPA will be closed on Friday, April 10, 2020.

We wish all of you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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