Volume 17, Issue 50
December 18, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Happy Anniversary to the US Rice Producers Association
  • USRPA Participates in International Promotion Planning Conference
  • Weekly Rice Market Update At A Glance
  • Western Rice Belt Conference Goes Virtual
  • Mexican Rice Council and the Rice Exchange Close Out RMTC's 2020 Virtual Seminars!
Happy Anniversary to the US Rice Producers Association
Rice Farmers Ready for 2021
Today, December 18, 2020, marks the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the US Rice Producers Association. Today it’s impossible to not think of Mr. Jack Wendt, a Texas rice farmer and former President of the US Rice Council that was based in Houston, Texas, and a man who traveled the world promoting U.S. grown rice. He also made his share of trips to Washington, D.C. to remind Capitol Hill of the contribution made by rice farmers to our national food security in his genuine effort to feed the world. 

While Jack grew more than 60 rice crops, he was an original member of the USRPA board of directors. Respected and known by everyone in the U.S. rice industry, Mr. Wendt played an instrumental role in the development of those original by-laws dated December 18, 1997. The same principals installed by Jack in 1997 ring true today- an organization comprised of producers, elected by producers, and representing rice producers in all rice-producing states.  

The new rice association was told at the time the effort would never materialize, considered a group of “rebel farmers” who will not last. Someone forgot to tell folks like Mr. Wendt, Raymond Franz, Hal Koop, Sonny Martin, Penn Owen and Rex Morgan apparently. These gentlemen stood by their principals and always spoke as if 1,000 rice farmers were listening over their shoulders. Just like Ray Stoesser!

Over the years change became inevitable and while the USRPA developed unique relationships with the most important markets and the buyers for long-grain rice, it is satisfying to know that these men had so much to do with our current day leadership in the US rice industry. 

Comments written last month by the leadership of the USA Rice Federation apparently confirm what these men knew all along.  

“All of those issues are long gone and most of the people involved are not around anymore.” 

“The leadership on the USA Rice board & committees has changed and the attitude and philosophy has changed.” 

“That might have been the case 20 years ago and now is far from the truth.” 

Looking back over the past 23 years, this has to be the biggest accomplishment of the USRPA- raising awareness and creating change for the better. 

Congratulations to all of you who have been involved in this process and continue to represent rice farmers. 2021 will bring new challenges but like has been the case for the past 23 years, they will be met. After all 2020 has taught us that farmers are officially “essential.” 
Pictured above are Mr. Jack Wendt (November 4, 1922 – February 22, 2013) with his wife Billie (who passed away in October 2020) and their daughters, attending an event in his honor at Texas A&M University. Jack Wendt received numerous awards for his exemplary leadership and assistance in forming a Texas Rice Research Foundation.
USRPA Participates in International Promotion Planning Conference
This week over two days all USRPA staff participated in an international promotion planning conference with the USA Rice Federation and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. At the conference USRPA on behalf of rice farmers presented results of the organization’s 2020 efforts and its proposals for 2021 activities to promote sales of U.S. rice abroad.

USRPA for decades has successfully executed international activities promoting exports of U.S. rice, and our efforts in 2020 continued this trend of deepening and widening market access for U.S. rice farmers to sell rice. This has only been possible with the support of U.S. government promotion funding through the Market Access Program administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. 2020 activities included promotion at the point of sale such as cooking demonstrations, website, and social media campaigns providing recipes, MasterChef videos, live online rice cooking classes, distinct regional market webinars, Zoom sessions, and conference calls convening key industry stakeholders to promote trade servicing.

In 2021 USRPA will look to increase its international promotion budget through doubling down on efforts related to advertising, contests, and other market expansion strategies. Through online courses, culinary seminars, in-store cooking demonstrations, sponsorship of TV cooking programs, and the continued rollout of USRPA’s highly sophisticated website and social media campaign, USRPA continues to be the only national rice organization dedicated to promoting all forms of U.S. rice exports, with a special focus on promoting farm-direct marketing.

USRPA has only one interest: empowering U.S. rice farmers to increase sales. USRPA remains resolute in its interest to promote U.S. rice sales worldwide and will pursue every opportunity available to continue the successful trends of market expansion this organization has championed for over 20 years.
Weekly Rice Market at a Glance
Washington DC Update
At this time Congress is focused on avoiding a government shutdown with the current CR expiring Dec. 18th, with the development of an Omnibus spending bill that would include all appropriations bills. At this time, it appears the Omnibus is on schedule to be completed in time to avoid a shutdown, unfortunately, however, at the same time they are attempting to negotiate another COVID relief bill with the intent of marrying the two into one giant year-end wrap-up. 

The agriculture portion of the omnibus includes funding for CCC with little of the drama encountered previously. Unfortunately, however, the COVID relief legislation has enough outstanding drama for both. Although the bills are being negotiated at the highest level by House and Senate leadership (McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi, and McCarthy) with a tentative agreement of $900b in funding, major sticking points remain specifically assistance to state and local (a Democratic priority) vs. business liability protection (a Republican priority). The final outcome for these is uncertain with most expecting these to be dropped—but maybe not. As is often the case in negotiations such as these, nothing is final until all is final. 

Specific provisions in the COVID relief legislation for agriculture are speculative at this point in time. However, a funding amount which was proposed in a bipartisan COVID relief package of $26b for agriculture divided between production agriculture and nutrition ($13b each) appear to have much support. Offers between the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and Republican and Democratic leadership are floating around. Some of the offers have included provisions such as—

Dairy Donation Program that would reimburse processors for donated products

Funding for ag producers and processors affected by the economic fallout of the coronavirus, including contract poultry growers;

Additional funding for specialty crop block grants and local ag markets;

A second CFAP payment of $15/acre (including rice).

Stay tuned to these year-end negotiations. Although leadership has stated they want to complete these bills by Friday with no need for a short-term CR, another extension may be needed to avoid a lapse in government spending which would occur this weekend. 
Western Rice Belt Conference Goes Virtual
The annual Western Rice Belt Production Conference will be held virtually, via Zoom, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, beginning at 8:00 a.m.. Due to Covid-19 and guidance from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, the planning committee cannot host a traditional, face-to-face conference. This year’s goal is to provide the same high quality and relevant production information, in spite of the pandemic requirements that keep everyone from meeting in person. Registration is open now, through January 19th. To register for the rice conference go to  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-virtual-western-rice-belt-production-conference-tickets-131230795843, or call Stacey at the Wharton County Extension Office at 979-532-3310. Upon registering you will be notified that the zoom log-in details will be emailed to you the day prior to the Rice Conference.
This joint effort of our Western Rice Belt planning committee, The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, U.S. Rice Producers Association, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research will offer growers and others the opportunity to hear presentations from the top Extension and Research scientists from Texas as well as other respected individuals from the rice industry. Topics and speakers will include Basics of Herbicide Resistance Development in Weeds - Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan; Rice Varieties and Current Breeding Programs in Rice - Mr. Galen Franz; Insect Management - Dr. Mo Way; Pesticide Laws and Regulations Update - Melissa Barton; Cost of Rice Production - Joe Outlaw; Rice Market Outlook – Thomas Wynn; Update on Conservation and Working Lands Programs - Dennis Neumann; and Rice Water Efficiency - Dr. Michele Reba, Research Hydrologist USDA Agricultural Research Service.   
For more information, contact the Texas AgriLife Extension office in Colorado County at 979-732-2082; in Matagorda County at 979-245-4100; or Wharton County at 979-532-3310; or go to http://wharto.agrilife.org and click on Events to view a flyer for the Rice Conference. The flyer also contains the direct link to the EventBrite registration site.  2 CEU’s (1 L&R, and1 IPM) for TDA Pesticide Applicators will be awarded at this event. CCA hours have been applied for and will be offered pending approval. Pesticide Applicators are reminded to provide their Pesticide Applicator License number at the time of registration on EventBrite.
8:00 AM – 2:00 PM CST

REGISTRATION IS FREE. All attendees are required to register through EventBrite. Registration will not be held on the day of the event.
Mexican Rice Council and Rice Exchange Close Out RMTC's 2020 Virtual Seminars!
This week the USRPA's Rice Market & Technology Convention hosted its final Virtual Seminar for 2020. The seminar featured Mr. Ricardo Mendoza, General Director of the Mexican Rice Council, presenting "Expectations of Mexico's Rice Market & the Situation Caused by COVID-19."

Mendoza answered questions from the audience before Ms. Jannette Sedan, from the Rice Exchange, stepped in to introduce the digital Rice Exchange platform. Mr. Stephen Edkins then walked the audience through the platform.

Presentations and recorded videos are available on our website: www.ricemtconvention.com.
Ricardo Mendoza
General Director at the Mexican Rice Council
Jannette Sedan
Manager LATAM,
Rice Exchange
Stephen Edkins
Rice Exchange CEO
and Co-Founder
The USRPA Office will be closed
December 24, 25, 31, and January 1st.

We wish everyone a very
Happy Holiday season
and a Prosperous 2021!

The next issue of the Rice Advocate will be
January 7th, 2021.
Upcoming Events
January 13, 2021
CME Group Webinar
Asia Rice Fundamentals and Thailand White Rice Futures

January 20, 2021
Virtual Western Rice Belt Production Conference

February 10, 2021
Virtual NCS Cotton & Rice Conference

February 18-19, 2021
USDA's 97th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum
Food and Agriculture
Regulatory and Policy Roundup 
COVID-19 Legislative Update
Rice Outlook
U.S. Rice 2020/21 Export Forecast Lowered 2.0 Million Hundredweight to 95.0 Million

Monthly Report
CLL17 – High Yields and Blast Resistance

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