Volume 18, Issue 04
January 28, 2021
In This Issue:
  • Cuba Appoints H.E. Lianys Torres Rivera as Ambassador to the USA
  • Washington Update
  • The Texas Rice Council Meets Virtually
Cuba Appoints H.E. Lianys Torres Rivera as Ambassador to the USA
Cuba has appointed the Honorable Lianys Torres Rivera as the first woman to lead Cuba’s mission in Washington D.C. 

Torres, who recently has served as the Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam since September of 2017, will take her position upon approval of her Visa and international flights have resumed. A graduate of Havana’s Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales in 1994, the Biden Administration is expected to promptly approve her credentials. The USRPA has been a strong supporter of an effort urging a return to improved engagement with Cuba and the elimination of the current trade embargo to boost agricultural exports. 

“Our farmers want a normal trade relations atmosphere with Cuba that includes the freedom to travel and have cultural exchange programs immediately,” says Dwight Roberts of the USRPA. 

Congratulations to the Honorable Lianys Torres Rivera upon her being selected.
Washington Update
The Senate Agriculture Committee announced a hearing to consider the nomination of Thomas J. Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture. The hearing will be held Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 10:30 am, in room 301 of the Russell Senate Office Building. 
Other announcements this week include debt-relief measures for more than 12,000 financially distressed farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will temporarily suspend past-due debt collections and foreclosures for farmers borrowing under two major loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency, administration officials said. The measure is designed to help farmers hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the economy’s slump with about 10% of borrowers qualifying. “USDA and the Biden Administration are committed to bringing relief and support to farmers, ranchers and producers of all backgrounds and financial status, including by ensuring producers have access to temporary debt relief,” Robert Bonnie, the department’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement. The government is evaluating ways to improve and address borrowing to keep farmers “earning living expenses, providing for emergency needs and maintaining cash flow,” Bonnie said.
The USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures and wage garnishments and halt referring foreclosures to the Justice Department. The department will also seek to stop foreclosures and evictions already in progress. The administration plans to keep the debt-relief measures in place until the Covid-19 emergency ends, the officials said.

In the House seven new Republicans were named to the House Agriculture Committee, they include the following:

Randy Feenstra of Iowa, (replaces former member Steve King);
Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, (replaces former Chairman Collin Peterson);
Tracy Mann of Kansas, (replaces former member now Senator Roger Marshall);
Kat Cammack of Florida (replaces former member who retired Ted Yoho);
Barry Moore of Alabama;
Mary Miller of Illinois; and
Michael Cloud of Texas.

In addition, Ranking Member Glenn Thompson R-Pa announced the following returning members to the committee:

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.
Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga.
Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C.
Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.
Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn.
Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y.
Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio
The Texas Rice Council Meets Virtually
As is becoming the norm in this pandemic era, the latest meeting of the Texas Rice Council's Board of Directors took place over Zoom this week. President Tommy Turner presided over the meeting and the group discussed everything from planting intentions to the status of grower's check-off funds and domestic marketing ideas. The meeting lasted two hours and while everyone expressed how well it was organized to allow active participation, the board, which consists of only Texas rice farmers, looks forward to meeting in person again soon once conditions improve.
Rice Market at a glance

Upcoming Events
February 10, 2021
Virtual NCS Cotton & Rice Conference

February 18-19, 2021
97th Agricultural Outlook Forum!

February 23, 2021
MRRMC Annual Meeting in Dexter, Missouri
Details Coming Soon
Trade Update 
Food & Agriculture Regulatory and Policy Roundup 
Post projects a downward movement in rice production due to a smaller acreage and expected yield.
China’s MY2020/21 feed and residual use for all coarse grains and feed-quality wheat and rice are estimated to increase to 249.9 million metric tons (MMT), up 15.6 MMT from the previous marketing year.
Arkansas Row Crops Blog Weekly Updates

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