Volume 17, Issue 17
April 30, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Rice Market Update: Delta Farmers Battle the Weather for New Crop Planting
  • Washington DC Update
Rice Market Update: Delta Farmers Battle the Weather for New Crop Planting
Rice growers throughout the delta attempted to make strong progress in planting this past week, but efforts were curtailed in some regions due to adverse weather conditions. According to the USDA’s crop progress report, Arkansas is still a little behind schedule, but growers are ready to go as soon the weather conditions improve. In Texas and Louisiana, planting is on its final approach with both states respectively reported to be 91% and 81% completed. After a relatively slow start, growers in Mississippi and Missouri were quite productive and saw the amount of ground planted double from the prior week. 
In the Gulf, ongoing strain in the cash market is forcing some mills to rail in rice for the purpose of finishing outstanding sales. Most likely, mills still needing inventory or looking to originate new sales will be required to source their supplies from farther up the River, and even then, it will be a struggle to do so.  
The world rice market certainly looks much different than last year, which based on the increase in US rice acres doesn’t surprise anyone. However, for some perspective, Thai 100% B export prices which have become a global benchmark for rice in recent years, are up 37% from 12-months ago. Although rough rice cash prices in Arkansas are only up 12-13% since last April, the world market price for paddy, according to the USDA is up nearly 36% year over year. 
As for Asian exporting countries, things appear to be loosening up a little with Vietnam now expected to resume back to full export speed in May (still awaiting official announcement). However, some liquidity issues may linger as Myanmar limits its rice exports and quotes remain difficult to retrieve from Pakistani exporters. Looking at U.S. rice exports this past week, net sales dropped to a marketing year low of 28,700 MT as new sales become increasingly difficult amid tight supplies. Similarly, exports were also off significantly, slumping 75% from the previous week.  
The futures market reflected the value in old crop as the nearby contract jumped $2.175 per cwt against last week. While open interest was relatively flat, volume was down 17% from last week. 

Federal COVID-19 relief for farmers, ranchers
Texas A&M publication identifies federal COVID-19 relief most applicable to agricultural producers
The Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center has developed a briefing paper that identifies provisions most applicable to agricultural producers in the three recent Congressional interventions to stimulate the economy and provide COVID-19 relief.

“This publication will direct farmers and ranchers to helpful resources for financial relief in order to remain operational until the situation improves,” said Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor for Texas A&M AgriLife , dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research .
The Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University has identified COVID-19 relief most applicable to farmers and ranchers. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)
USMCA Start Date Calendared Despite Supply Chain Hiccups
Despite lack of cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico on what constitutes critical infrastructure or essential activities amid forced business shutdowns to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, North America is moving forward with the landmark United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), following notice from United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to Congress last Friday that Canada and Mexico have taken measures necessary to comply with their commitments under USMCA, and that the Agreement will enter into force on July 1, 2020. USTR’s notification to Congress is the final step necessary for the USMCA to enter into force. Click here for USTR’s full release.

However, some industries, including automakers, continue to urge a delayed implementation because of the economic challenges they face from the coronavirus pandemic. John Murphy, senior vice president for international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently told Politico that “companies will need time to adapt to the new regulations” because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Perhaps more important in the immediate term is how integrated supply chains can recoup losses once governments allow businesses to reopen after weeks of government-mandated closures. In Mexico, the government’s lack of clarity or guidance on “essential activities,” which in some cases contradicts U.S. guidance on the same matter, has forced production to shut down.

Additionally, Chairman Neal released a statement on Monday after his call with Lighthizer echoing the sentiments of most Democratic members that they plan to hold the Administration and trading partners accountable to the enforcement mechanism in the agreement. “Today, my colleagues and I emphasized to the Ambassador that the USMCA’s new enforcement mechanisms must be more than simply words on a page, particularly with regard to workers’ rights and environmental protection.“

Tuesday the Trump administration has formed an inter-agency committee that will be tasked with ensuring that Mexico complies with the labor rules in USMCA.
Follow #OurFarmers During #Plant2020
It’s planting season, and our team is closely following spring planting across the country. We encourage you to follow along with our  #plant2020 campaign , or even better, send us photos of how planting is going on your farm.
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.

July 23, 2020
University of Arkansas Row Crops Field Day
Rohwer Research Station
140 Experiment Station Loop, Watson, Arkansas – check back later for more information.

August 5, 2020
University of Arkansas Row Crops Field Day
Northeast Research & Extension Center
1241 W. County Road 780, Keiser, Arkansas – check back later for more information.

August 7, 2020
University of Arkansas Rice Field Day
Rice Research & Extension Center, Stuttgart, Arkansas – check back later for more information.
COVID-19 to disrupt Kenya’s grains supply chains. FAS/Nairobi forecasts the evolving COVID-19 pandemic will disrupt Kenya’s domestic and international corn-, wheat-, and rice- supply chains, with the no clear end. Rice production is expected to stagnate. Whereas import options for wheat and rice are clear, corn exports to Kenya will be impeded by the import ban on genetically modified (GM) products.

Pakistan: Grain and Feed Annual
MY 2019/20 rice production estimate is revised downward to 7.2 MMT in accordance with the official data. MY 2020/21 rice production is forecast at 7.4 MMT, reflecting expectations of strong yields. MY 2019/20 and 2020/2021 rice exports are projected at a steady 4.4 MMT. 
Thailand: Rice Price Weekly
Rice export prices declined 6 percent as foreign buyers reportedly sought Vietnamese rice after the government resumed rice exports.

National Resource Conservation Service
USDA Announces $15 Million for Conservation Innovation Grants 
Arkansas Rice Update
The 6th Arkansas Rice Update of 2020 is available below.
It includes information on current conditions and rice markets.

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Suite 203
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p. (713) 974-7423
f. (713) 974-7696
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