Report on Rice Field Days in Missouri and Arkansas

    USA Rice's Josh Hankins briefs the crowd at the Missouri Rice Field Day (USA Rice)

    CAMPBELL, MO – This week, USA Rice staff were in Missouri and Arkansas visiting with farmers ahead of harvest and participating in the Missouri Rice Field Day here at the Missouri Rice Research Farm and Horizon Ag’s Arkansas Field Day held at the University of Arkansas Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center in Harrisburg.

    Participants at the Missouri Rice Field Day had the opportunity to hear from researchers from Southeast Missouri State University, the Fisher Delta Research Center, University of Arkansas, RiceTec, Progeny Ag, and Nutrien.  Peter Bachmann and Josh Hankins from USA Rice provided updates on the Rice Production Program payment timeline, Farm Bill advocacy, efforts to hold India accountable at the World Trade Organization, the 10-year anniversary of the Rice Stewardship Partnership, and upcoming Climate Smart Commodities Program sign-ups that will be open to all rice farmers.

    Arkansas and Missouri producers that attended the Horizon Ag Field Day heard about the promising performance of the latest Clearfield® and Provisia® varieties.  Dr. Tim Walker, Horizon Ag’s general manager, spoke of the strong partnerships that have helped them succeed, including those with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, BASF, their seed breeders, and their farmers.

    Dr. Jason Norsworthy, a weed scientist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, stressed the importance of managing the technology available to producers, such as herbicide tolerant rice varieties, to ensure that it is still effective in 10 years.

    As part of the trip, Eric Vaught hosted Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and members of his staff on his rice farm in Hickory Ridge, Arkansas.  Senator Tuberville is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry where work is well underway developing the next Farm Bill.

    “It is critical that we get a Farm Bill that strengthens the long-outdated farm safety net for rice farmers, particularly an increase to the Price Loss Coverage reference price,” said Vaught.  “The underlying production data used to set the current reference price is more than a decade old and the drastic increase in cost of production since then certainly justifies an increase to bring that reference price closer in line with reality and provides rice farmers with support and certainty.”

    Vaught also shared the rice sustainability story and the progress achieved through implementation of innovative production and conservation practices throughout the industry.

    Farmers across the region are optimistic about both the size of the 2023 crop in both acres and yields and expect to begin harvesting in the coming weeks.

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