Thursday, December 18, 2014

18th December (Thursday),2014 Daily Exclusive Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

FAO Estimates Sierra Leone to Import 215,000 Tons of Rice in 2015; Slightly Up from 2014

Dec 17, 2014
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated Guinea's 2015 rice, basis milled, imports at around 215,000 tons, slightly from 2014. The expected increase in imports is attributed to shortfalls in 2014 production levels.The FAO estimates Guinea's 2014 milled rice production at around 770,000 tons (around 1.15 million tons, basis paddy), down about 8% from around 831,600 tons (around 1.25 million tons, basis paddy) last year, despite favorable weather conditions and timely rains due to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, which has severely affected the country since the beginning of this year. The government's measures to control the outbreak of EVD led to shortfalls in labor and agricultural inputs leading to a decline in production.

In Sierra Leone, rice is the most significant crop and accounts for about 85% of total cereal production. Much of the decline in production has occurred due to border closures, restrictions/ban of people movement, people fleeing the country and reluctance of labor to work in groups.The FAO estimates that the country to have very little ending stocks in 2014 assuming high domestic utilization given lower production.Average retail prices of both imported and local rice have remained nearly stable from August this year due to increased supplies from local production. However, prices in some EVD affected districts in Southern and Northern provinces are found to be exceptionally high.

FAO Estimates Guinea to Import 320,000 Tons of Rice in 2015; Up 7% from 2014

Dec 17, 2014
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated Guinea's 2015 rice, basis milled, imports at around 320,000 tons, up about 7% from around 300,000 tons in 2014. The probable increase in imports is attributed to shortfalls in 2014 production levels.

The FAO estimates Guinea's 2014 milled rice production at around 1.315 million tons (around 1.976 million tons, basis paddy), down about 4% from around 1.368 million tons (around 2.075 million tons, basis paddy) last year, despite favorable weather conditions and timely rains due to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, which has severely affected the country since the beginning of this year. The government's measures to control the outbreak of EVD led to shortfalls in labour and agricultural inputs leading to a decline in production.In Guinea, rice is the most significant crop and is grown in about 80% of agricultural land. Much of the decline in production has occurred due to border closures, restrictions/ban of people movemnet, people fleeing the country and reluctance of labor to work in groups.
The FAO estimates that the country to have very little ending stocks in 2014 assuming increased domestic utilization.Average retail prices of both imported and local rice have remained nearly stable from August this year due to increased supplies from local production despite border closures with neighbouring Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau leading to declined trade.

India Rice Sellers Lower Some of Their Quotes Today; Pakistan Rice Sellers Increase Some of Their Quotes

Dec 17, 2014
India rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $385 - $395 per ton today. Pakistan rice sellers increased their quotes for 100% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $300 - $310 per ton. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $385 - $395 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday and about $15 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $370 - $380 per ton.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice was last quoted at around $350 - $360 per ton, on par with Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $350 - $360 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $350 - $360, about $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton. India parboiled rice is quoted at around $375 - $385 per ton, about $35 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $410 - $420 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton, on par with Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $330 - $340 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $300 - $310 per ton,  on par with Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $300 - $310 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday.

Laos Targets Rice Exports to China

Dec 17, 2014
Laos is considering rice exports to China given the Chinese preference for sticky rice, according to local sources.The country's Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry told local sources that over 200 million people in China prefer sticky rice and their increasing rice production for export to China could be very profitable and encouraging to the Laos rice sector. He noted that the government is planning to boost plantation of aromatic rice while ensuring both quality and quantity. The government will allocate farmland in 10 provinces across the country for the purpose, he added.
The Vice-Minister was attending the eighth Ordinary Session of the National Assembly Convention, scheduled between December 9-26, 2014, in Lao capital Vientiane.Laos is almost self-sufficient in rice production and consumes almost all of the output domestically and imports about 10,000 tons of rice annually to meet the consumption demand. This year, the South-East Asian nation is likely to be fully self-sufficient in rice production without the need for importing rice, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Given abundant agricultural land and water sources, the government has been planning to boost rice production by about 1 million tons and become net exporter of rice by 2015.  In line with the targets, the government is targeting a paddy yield of around 2.9 tons per hectare from around 720,000 hectares of paddy rice area in 2014, according to local sources. The government has been seeking support from Vietnam and China to develop improved rice varieties, which are adaptable to climate changes. It has also been encouraging domestic and foreign investment in rice production to help farmers increase yield through access to technology and newer production techniques.
USDA estimates Laos to produce around 1.55 million tons of milled rice (around 2.46 million tons, basis paddy) in MY 2013-14 (January 2014 - December 2014) and import around 10,000 tons of rice to meet consumption needs of around 1.58 million tons. 
Global Rice Quotes
December 17th, 2014

Long grain white rice - high quality

Thailand 100% B grade           420-430           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken     385-395           ↔
India 5% broken          385-395           ↓
Pakistan 5% broken     370-380           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken 460-470           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           540-550           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    595-605           ↔
Argentina 5% broken   595-605           ↔

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken NQ       ↔
Vietnam 25% broken   350-360           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken   330-340           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken            435-445           ↔
India 25% broken        350-360           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         495-505           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd             405-415           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd      410-420           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd           375-385           ↔
U.S. parboiled 4% broken       580-590           ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken     570-580           ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken             NQ       ↔

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%           900-910           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         515-525           ↔
India basmati 2% broken         NQ       ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken    NQ       ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails 820-830           ↔

Thailand A1 Super       330-340           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken             330-340           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd     300-310           ↑
Cambodia A1 Super    385-395           ↔
India 100% broken stxd          300-310           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens   NQ       ↔
U.S. pet food   390-400           ↔
Brazil half grain           NQ       ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

Nepal 2014-15 Paddy Rice Production Estimated at 4.78 Million Tons; Down 5% from Last Year

Dec 17, 2014
Nepal's 2014 paddy rice production is likely to decline about 5.1% to around 4.78 million tons from around 5 million tons last year due to a late monsoon and untimely rainfall, sources from the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MAD) were quoted as saying.While unveiling a preliminary summer crop production report, the MAD officials noted that rainfall during the paddy transplantation period (June - September) was about 6% below normal and transplantation in some regions of the eastern Tarai districts was left incomplete. They also noted that per hectare paddy yields declined to around 2.43 tons from around 3.53 tons last year.They said other factors such as widening of urban areas, land plotting from residential development and natural disasters have contributed to fall in production. They noted that while about 61,000 hectares of paddy land has been left uncultivated, about 23,900 hectares were damaged by floods and landslides this year.
According to Nepal Rastra Bank's (NRB) statistics, Nepal's 2013-14 paddy output was at around 5.04 million tons, up about 12% from around 4.5 million tons in 2012-13 due to timely rains and favorable weather conditions. The NRB statistics show that the south Asian nation imported rice worth Rs.12.37 billion (around $121.45 million) in 2013-14, up about 46% from around Rs.8.47 billion (around $83.16 million) despite surplus rice stocks of around 800,000 tons from the previous fiscal due to rising disposable incomes and the Nepalese preference for better quality quality rice. Nepal mostly imports 'masino' rice.
USDA estimates Nepal to produce around USDA estimates Nepal’s MY 2014-15 (October 2014 – September 2015) milled rice production to slightly increase to about 3.1 million tons (around 4.65 million tons, basis paddy) from an estimated 3.36 million tons (around 5.05 million tons, basis paddy) in MY 2013-14. It estimates Nepal to import 300,000 tons of rice in 2014 and around 350,000 tons of rice in 2015.  

Low Land Flooded Rice Ecosystems Act as Net Carbon Sink, Finds Study

Dec 17, 2014
A study by the India-based Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) under the Indian Agriculture Ministry has found that the low land flooded rice ecosystem, which is often viewed as a source of methane emissions contributing to global warming, can store carbon in soil and behave a net carbon sink, according to local sources. The study has found that rice cultivation through flooded cultivation method does not release carbon into the atmosphere. The CRRI scientists have conducted the study with special focus on East Indian states, where rice is mostly cultivated through the flooded cultivation method. They noted that flooded rice ecosystems in the Eastern India have been acting a net carbon sink rather than contributing to carbon emissions.

“Carbon inputs in rice field through photosynthesis, biomass and organic carbon added as manure exceed output, making paddy cultivation in eastern regions as carbon sinks rather than carbon emitters,” one of the scientists involved in the study was quoted as telling local sources.East Indian states (Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha) contribute to about 31% of India's total rice production. They accounted for about 33 million tons of rice production in 2012-13, according to the Directorate of Economics and Statistics. India produced around 105 million tons of rice in 2012-13 and around 106 million tons of rice in 2013-14.

Oryza Overnight Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Seen Trading Higher as Market Looks to Recover from Yesterday's Loss

Dec 17, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery were trading 7 cents per cwt (about $2 per ton) higher at $12.150 per cwt (about $268 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading mixed: soybeans are currently seen 0.3% lower, wheat is listed about 0.7% higher and corn is currently trading unchanged.
U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 rising after a three-session drop, as investors bet that the Federal Reserve would continue to support the economy while readying for an interest-rate increase. The central bank ends a two-day meeting Wednesday afternoon, with most expecting the Fed will drop the "considerable-time" language from its statement as it prepares to start hiking rates in 2015. The consumer price index fell 0.3% in November, the largest drop since 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 94.12 points, or 0.5%, to 17,162.99. The S&P 500 added 12.38 points, or 0.7%, to 1,985.12, with energy pacing gains among its 10 major sectors and industrials the sole laggard. The Nasdaq gained 24.89 points, or 0.6%, to 4,572.73. Gold is currently trading about 0.4% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 1.1% lower,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.2% higher at 8:40am Chicago time.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Tick Higher as Headlines of Easing US-Cuba Relations Provide Support to US Grains

Dec 17, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery settled 3.5 cents per cwt (about $1 per ton) lower at $12.115 per cwt (about $267 per ton). Rough rice futures got off to a strong start during morning trading, at one point gaining as much as 12.5 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) before coming under renewed selling pressure as the trading session wore on. Today’s move is seen as technically bearish as the market faced firm selling and failed to continue higher as it traded near overhead resistance at $12.210 per cwt (about $269 per ton), provided by the short-term 5-day moving average. Today’s gains were likely attributed to outside support as the grain complex as a whole traded higher in response to news that US-Cuban trade relations may improve; Soybeans closed about 0.3% higher at $10.2700 per bushel; wheat finished about 4.1% higher at $6.4850 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.6% higher at $4.0825 per bushel.

U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve made its policy announcement. Energy producers led Wall Street gains, and the price of oil turned higher. The cost of living declined in November as energy prices fell, with the Labor Department's consumer price index falling 0.3%, the largest drop since 2008. Low inflation gives the Fed more reign to take its time in increasing rates. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, climbed at a slower pace than last month. After a 182-point jump, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately up 149.41 points, or 0.9%, to 17,218.28. The S&P 500 added 21.58 points, or 1.1%, to 1,994.32, with energy pacing gains among its 10 major sectors and industrials the sole laggard. The Nasdaq gained 39.70 points, or 0.9%, to 4,587.54. Gold is trading about 0.4% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 2.7% higher, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.4% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Tuesday, there were 2,514 contracts traded, up from 940 contracts traded on Monday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Tuesday decreased by 201 contracts to 10,350.

 Depreciating Rupee Puts Downward Pressure on Indian Rice Export Prices

Dec 17, 2014
Indian rupee, which hit 13-month low to around Rs.63.53 against the U.S. dollar, due to declining crude oil prices, has started putting downward pressure on Indian rice export prices, according to local sources. Crude oil prices have fell to around $55 per barrel (Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures) on Tuesday.Experts are expecting Indian rupee to cross Rs.64 levels in the coming weeks owing to global factors and year-end profit bookings.
Paddy rice prices in India have been tumbling for the last couple of months due to increased supplies from the ongoing kharif rice crop (June - December) harvest. On the other hand, stiff competition between rice exporting countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan coupled with increased exportable surpluses in these countries have led to decline in export rice prices in the last couple of months. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), average export prices of India 25% broken rice declined about 2.4% in November 2014 to around $362 per ton from around $379 per ton in October 2014.
Weakening rupee is adding to the already declining export rice prices. Average prices of India 5% broken rice fell to around $385-$395 per ton (FOB) today, down about 2.5% from around $400 per ton last week. Local sources say Indian exporters are forced to reduce prices in tune with Thailand and Vietnam sellers. While Thailand is keen on selling its nearly 17 million tons of rice stocks accumulated from the rice pledging scheme introduced by the previous government, Vietnam is keen on exporting as much rice as possible from the recent harvest.
However, India's exports have been subdued for the past few months due to Iran's temporary ban on rice imports. Iran is an important export market for India's basmati rice and accounts for about 30% of India's total basmati rice exports.
India exported around 5.926 million tons of rice (1.64 million tons of basmati and 3.64 million tons of non-basmati) in the first six months (April - September 2014) of FY 2014-15, down about 4% from around 5.51 million tons (1.94 million tons of basmati and 3.58 million tons of non-basmati) exported during the same period last year, according to data from the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

Laos Targets Rice Exports to China

Dec 17, 2014
Laos is considering rice exports to China given the Chinese preference for sticky rice, according to local sources.The country's Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry told local sources that over 200 million people in China prefer sticky rice and their increasing rice production for export to China could be very profitable and encouraging to the Laos rice sector. He noted that the government is planning to boost plantation of aromatic rice while ensuring both quality and quantity. The government will allocate farmland in 10 provinces across the country for the purpose, he added.

The Vice-Minister was attending the eighth Ordinary Session of the National Assembly Convention, scheduled between December 9-26, 2014, in Lao capital Vientiane.Laos is almost self-sufficient in rice production and consumes almost all of the output domestically and imports about 10,000 tons of rice annually to meet the consumption demand. This year, the South-East Asian nation is likely to be fully self-sufficient in rice production without the need for importing rice, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).Given abundant agricultural land and water sources, the government has been planning to boost rice production by about 1 million tons and become net exporter of rice by 2015.  
In line with the targets, the government is targeting a paddy yield of around 2.9 tons per hectare from around 720,000 hectares of paddy rice area in 2014, according to local sources. The government has been seeking support from Vietnam and China to develop improved rice varieties, which are adaptable to climate changes. It has also been encouraging domestic and foreign investment in rice production to help farmers increase yield through access to technology and newer production techniques.
USDA estimates Laos to produce around 1.55 million tons of milled rice (around 2.46 million tons, basis paddy) in MY 2013-14 (January 2014 - December 2014) and import around 10,000 tons of rice to meet consumption needs of around 1.58 million tons. 

 Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Hold as Market Waits for IGB Results

Dec 17, 2014
The U.S. cash market was unchanged today with little to no trading occurring as many in the industry are eagerly awaiting the results of the latest Iraqi tender which will be announced next week and will likely determine the price direction for U.S. rice going into the new year.Meanwhile, many in the industry were encouraged today after President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. government is initiating talks to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba and loosening trade and travel restrictions on the nation.
Cuba was once the largest market for U.S. rice and any increase in export demand is welcomed by the industry; however, analysts note that U.S. rice would still need to compete with less expensive rice from Asia.

Philippines Rice Stocks Stand at 2.95 Million Tons as of November 1, 2014; Up 63% m/m and Up 21%

Total rice stocks in the Philippines as of November 1, 2014 reached around 2.95 million tons, up about 63% from around 1.81 million tons recorded in October 2014, and up about 21% from around 1.77 million tons recorded during the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).
According to the BAS, household stocks (which account for about 54.8% of total rice stocks in the country) have reached around 1.62 million tons as of November 1, 2014, up about 12% from year-ago levels of around 1.45 million tons. Commercial warehouse rice stocks (which account for about 30.6% of total stocks) have reached around 900,000 tons as of November 1, 2014, up about 41% from their year-ago levels of around 640,000 tons. The rice stocks with the National Food Authority (NFA) (which account for 14.6% of total stocks) stood at around 430,000 tons, up about 23% from around 350,000 tons recorded in November 2013. Month-on-month, household rice stocks are up about 95%, commercial warehouse rice stocks are up about 73% and NFA rice stocks - in which about 96% are imported rice - are down about 4%, according to the BAS.The BAS says that the Philippines' rice stocks as of November 1, 2014 are enough to last for 87 days (household stocks are enough for 47 days, commercial warehouses stocks are enough for 27 days and stocks with NFA are enough for 13 days).
The NFA had imported about 1.8 million tons of rice since the beginning of 2014 (including 1.5 million tons of this year's imports and 300,000 tons of last year's imports) to replenish rice stocks and control price hikes. It has recently allowed the private sector to import another 187,000 tons of rice under the minimum access volume (MAV) program.

Contents are published with permission of

17th December (Wednesday),2014 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Promoting traditional seeds

In yet another rare occurrence, a school dropout, Jayaraman, has made a name in preserving several paddy seeds.

Last week, we saw how individuals across the country have been doing sterling work in preserving many of the rice varieties that are native to our country. Jayaraman is one of them.Mr. Jayaraman, who dropped out of school when he was in Class VIII, is now an organic farming crusader. A native of Adirangam village in Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu, Jayaraman has worked tirelessly to promote the cause of preserving native paddy seeds.
Seeing the enthusiastic work of Jayaraman, a NRI Narasimman, (also a native of Adhirangam) donated nine acres of his land for crop cultivation and a building to organise training programmes for the farming community.As the Cauvery Delta districts are predominant with paddy cultivation, his initial interest was in organic rice production. Later, he realised that the coastal districts are prone to the climate variations and every year farmers faced problems either with flood or cyclone.
Identifying varieties
After four to five years of tireless work, he was able to find 15 traditional paddy varieties in 2004 and cultivated in the farm with the aim of multiplying the traditional seeds and making it available to more number of farmers.  In 2005, he organised a first ever traditional paddy seed festival in the farm by an individual. That year, he distributed two kg of traditional paddy seeds of 15 varieties to more than 300 farmers.  With the overwhelming responses to the seed, festival has motivated him to organise traditional paddy seed festival every year and also increase the traditional paddy varieties every year. 
The seed festival in May 2012 at Adhirangam was 8th in a row and in which 64 different traditional varieties were distributed to more than 1000 farmers across Tamil Nadu. He distributes these varieties to the farmers with a promise that they have to return two fold quantity of the seeds in the next season. He maintains records of farmers who have benefited from the seed festival.Mr. Jayaraman attracted the attention of many bank officials and convinced them to support his initiatives continuously. Till date he has trained a team of farmers and regularly update them on the current issues that are affecting farmers. Last year, he received the State Award for best organic farmer for his contribution to organic farming.
Apart from this, he is involved in organising safe food campaign in schools and colleges, consumer forums like Rotary club and Lion’s club on the health impacts of chemicals used in agriculture. He has delivered talks in more than 300 schools and colleges and is also helping the farmers to form Farmer’s Club.He was invited by the Philippines Government to give a talk at the International Rice Research Institute on his work and mission.
(M.J. Prabu is The Hindu’s Agriculture correspondent. He writes the popular Farmer’s Notebook. Write to him at
Snap: Nel Jayaraman displaying a traditional seed variety. Photo: D.Gopalakrishnan

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Fin Min asks states to clear CCL dues before seeking loans for foodgrains

Custom Milling paddy means the paddy purchased/procured by the procuring agencies, including FCI and given to the rice mills for milling. Rice procurement through Customed Milled Rice (CMR) mode is increasing steadily. Procurement through CMR route ensures payment of MSP to farmers and avoids chances of irregularities in procurement through Levy route.As farmers are being benefited through direct procurement by State agencies and this has also resulted in availability of huge stocks of rice in central pool, the levy percentage is decided to be up to 25% of total holding of the stock.

Moreover, there will not be any adverse effect on the overall procurement of rice in the country by reducing the limit of levy upto 25% from 75% of levy obligation earlier as it does not reduce the quantum of Central Pool. This is because procurement is also done through CMR route which is steadily growing. During the current year 2014-15, the government has allocated additional 27.82 lakh tons of rice and 2.04 lakh tons of wheat for additional BPL families and 27.61 lakh tons of rice and 8.98 lakh tons of wheat for APL families. 6.01 lakh tons of rice and 6.83 lakh tons of wheat have also been allocated to the states for natural calamities, festivals, additional requirement under TPDS.

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Rice ‘strawlage’ researchers, growers working out the kinks

Capital Press
Published:December 16, 2014 11:28AM
Doug Parker stands on his ranch west of Williams, Calif. He hosted a workshop Dec. 15 exploring different ways for preparing rice straw for use as animal feed.Ranchers, rice growers and University of California Cooperative Extension researchers are still fine-tuning their methods for preparing rice straw for use as an affordable cattle feed. The use of "rice strawlage" has been popular this fall as the cost of other feed has remained high.
WILLIAMS, Calif. — The use of rice straw as an affordable feed for livestock has proven popular this fall, but growers and University of California researchers are still working out the details of preparing it.Some have encountered unexpected obstacles, such as the inexact science of measuring how much moisture is in the straw and high winds that make tarping the straw bales difficult, researchers said.But growers in the Sacramento Valley have come up with plenty of their own ideas and work-arounds. For instance, Doug Parker, a rancher and rice grower west of here, started applying molasses to the straw to hold it together and make it more palatable for cattle.Parker also rigged a baling machine he said can make up to 220 rice bales of rice straw an hour.
“I think the molasses worked out fairly cheap to do. The material was about $4 a ton,” said Parker, who hosted a UC Cooperative Extension-sponsored workshop on his ranch Dec. 15 to discuss preparation of the straw. “I think it’s at least going to add some protein and some taste for the cows.”UC farm advisors reached out to growers this summer to promote converting their rice straw into “strawlage,” a feed that the scientists say is on a par with a low-quality alfalfa. The advisers said the straw would be a good alternative for livestock producers confronted with feed shortages because of the drought.
With not as much water available for decomposition after the fall harvest because of the drought, many growers have turned to baling and selling their leftover straw, which can also be used for erosion control in forest fire recovery projects.To maintain feed quality, the straw must be kept moist, which has caused some headaches for growers as well as concerns about fire. UC researchers advised them to cover the stacks with huge tarps to retain the moisture while keeping out oxygen that could feed a fire, and growers control mold by applying proprionic acid or a urea-and-nitrate solution.Marysville, Calif., cattleman Henry Smith has long fed byproducts to his cows, but he recently started experimenting with “strawlage” and found that his cattle ate it eagerly.
“They love it because they can digest it,” Smith said. “When you let it dry ... the cows will just spit it back at you. (With “strawlage”), all we have to do is worry about mold and get the right moisture when we’re baling.”Sites, Calif., rancher Lady Bug Doherty’s family has fed dry straw to cows but never tried treating it as the UC scientists advise, she said. So she came to the workshop to learn how it’s done.“Probably treating it like they do would be good,” she said. “We just put it out for the cattle. If they can’t get anything to eat, they will eat it.
”Of course, growers and UC advisors who advocate the use of “strawlage” are themselves still learning how to do it, said Glenn Nader, a Yuba City, Calif.-based UC livestock advisor.“I think it’s still in that infancy. We’re still trying to figure it out,” he said, adding that growers who’ve maintained moisture at 26 percent and used proprionic acid have avoided combustion even without tarping.“I think it’s catching on,” Nader said of “strawlage”. “People have had barns burn down and they’re worried about high moisture. It’s just something they’ve got to get comfortable with.”
OnlineUniversity of California Rice Project:

Rice cultivation in east India is ‘net carbon sink’

By: Sandip Das | New Delhi | December 17, 2014 1:09 am
Rice cultivation through flooded cultivation method, often seen as a source of methane emissions, which contribute to global warming, does not release carbon into the atmosphere, a study by the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), a premier body under the ministry of agriculture, has stated. Instead, the study has said the tropical low land submerged ecosystem in mainly eastern India is a ‘net carbon sink not a carbon source’.
The low land flooded rice ecosystem has the capacity to store carbon in soil and can behave as net carbon sink, the study says. “Carbon inputs in rice field through photosynthesis, biomass and organic carbon added as manure exceed output, making paddy cultivation in eastern regions as carbon sinks rather than carbon emitters,” Pratap Bhattacharya, a senior scientist at CRRI told FE.The findings of the study is expected to help agricultural scientists in fixing climate responsibility.

Eat Well: Rice is nice within limits
By Teresa Farney Updated: December 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm 

The January issue of Consumer Reports — which has a trustworthy reputation for consumer product testing and research — features “The Truth About Gluten.”+ A quinoa dish that can be a side dish or serve as the main event. As I read the story, I didn’t find a many surprises: A very small percentage of the population actually has celiac disease, which requires avoiding gluten; a gluten-free diet is not more nutritious and is not a weight loss program — you might gain weight; and it’s more expensive to buy gluten-free foods.
What caught my eye was what happens when you increase the consumption of rice, a popular food in gluten-free diets. It can increase your consumption of arsenic.“That’s why I and other gluten-free authors recommend using a wide variety of grains,” said Carol Fenster, a Denver-based cookbook author who has celiac disease. “Other good grain options are bulgur, barley and faro, as well as gluten-free grains like amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa.”According to the story, “anyone who eats rice needs to be aware that they may be exposing themselves to inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen. But people who avoid gluten need to be especially alert because so many gluten-free products contain rice.”
Here’s the deal. Arsenic is naturally a part of the earth’s crust and is available in two chemical forms: inorganic and organic (which can be less toxic). The report explains that rice tends to absorb arsenic more readily than other plants. Research in 2012 by Consumer Reports found that various forms of rice have different levels of arsenic.White basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan and sushi rice from the U.S. on average have half of the inorganic arsenic amount of most other types of rice. Brown rice, considered by many to be a more nutritious choice, has 80 percent more inorganic arsenic than white rice.
That’s because the chemical is on the outside of the kernel and is polished off when it is processed to be white. The article doesn’t recommend writing off brown rice because it does have more nutrients than white rice — just be picky about where it is grown. Look for brown basmati from California, India or Pakistan because it will have less inorganic arsenic.Parents who have made a gluten-free diet choice and consume a lot of rice products should heed Consumer Reports’ recommendations for children.
“Children should rarely eat hot rice cereal or rice pasta,” the story says. “Our analysis found that those foods can have much more IA (inorganic arsenic) than our 2012 data showed. Just one serving of either could put kids over the maximum amount of arsenic they should have in a week. Rice drinks are also high in arsenic, and children younger than 5 shouldn’t drink them instead of milk.”There’s much more information in the article as well as a list of recommended gluten-free foods that Consumer Reports tested.
In response to Consumer Reports’ investigation, the USA Rice Federation issued this statement:
“Research conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. rice industry shows arsenic levels found in U.S.-grown rice are below safe maximum levels established this year by the World Health Organization. Studies show that including white or brown rice in the diet provides measurable health benefits that outweigh the potential risks associated with exposure to trace levels of arsenic. The U.S. rice industry is committed to growing a safe and healthy product; we continuously test our crop, and research ways of reducing the already low levels of arsenic found in rice even further.”
The FDA issued this statement:
“The FDA’s ongoing assessment of arsenic in rice remains a priority for the agency. Last year, the FDA released what we believe to be the largest set of test results to date on the presence of arsenic in rice and rice products, and we are planning to release a draft assessment of the potential health risks associated with the consumption of arsenic in these same foods. Until that review is completed, the agency continues to recommend that consumers, including pregnant women, eat a well-balanced diet containing a variety of grains. Parents should feed infants and toddlers a variety of grains as well, and consider options other than rice cereal for a child’s first solid food.”
Published studies and ongoing FDA research indicate that cooking rice in excess volumes of water — five to six times that of the rice — and draining the water can reduce the arsenic content, though it might also reduce the rice’s nutritional value.Based on the currently available data and scientific literature, the FDA advises consumers to:
•Eat a well-balanced diet. All consumers, including pregnant women, infants and children, are encouraged to eat a well-balanced diet for good nutrition and to minimize potential adverse consequences from consuming an excess of any one food. This advice is consistent with the guidance of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has long stated that parents should feed their infants and toddlers a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet.
• Vary your grains: Rice, rice flour or brown rice syrup are present in foods as diverse as cookies, gluten-free pasta, teething biscuits and beer. The FDA requires food companies to list a product’s ingredients by weight from most to least abundant, and the agency encourages consumers to check the ingredients. Like rice, other grains – such as wheat, barley and oats – are nutritious grains that consumers can eat to help vary their diet. Parents seeking to diversify their infant or toddler’s diet can limit the number of servings of rice cereal per week and use cereals made from other types of grain.
• Consider diversifying infant foods: The FDA recognizes that children routinely eat rice products and that by tradition many infants are fed rice cereal as their first solid food. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no medical evidence that rice cereal has any advantage over other cereal grains as a first solid food and infants would likely benefit from an array of grain cereals.

Source with thanks:


Glycaemic index is irrelevant for most healthy people

·         The GI diet debunked: Glycaemic index is irrelevant for most healthy people - so it doesn't matter if you eat white or wholewheat bread, scientists claim

·         Glycaemic index is a measure of how quickly foods containing carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels in the bloodstream
·         High GI foods like bananas and pasta are thought to be 'bad' for the heart and may increase the risk of suffering diabetes
·         But new study found little evidence to support these claims 

Scientists have long warned of the dangers of eating foods high on the glycaemic index amid fears they increase a person's risk of heart disease and diabetes.But a new study has revealed evidence to the contrary - debunking the GI diet for those who are healthy.The glycaemic index is a measure of how quickly foods containing carbohydrates, such as fruits, cereals and baked goods, raise glucose levels in the bloodstream. Those that cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels over a two-hour period are said to have a high glycaemic index.While those that don't cause the big rise have a low glycaemic index. 

Conventional wisdom says that high glycaemic index foods like bananas and pasta are 'bad' for heart health and may increase the risk of developing diabetes.

A new study by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and John Hopkins University of Medicine has found little evidence that foods high on the glycaemic index are 'bad' for your heart health and increase a person's risk of diabetes. The GI measures how quickly carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels 
But the new study, carried out by scientists at the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine and Harvard School of Medicine in Boston, claims to have found little evidence to support these claims.
Professor of medicine at John Hopkins Medicine, Lawrence Appel, said the results 'surprised' the team.

'We did not detect any clear benefits of the low glycaemic index diets on the major risk factors for heart disease, and we found no evidence of benefit for diabetes prevention,' he said. 
He added: 'The evidence has been inconsistent that low glycaemic foods help people lose more weight or keep it off.'In looking at the causes of obesity and ways to control it, a narrow focus on the glycaemic index seems to be unwarranted.' 

Several popular diets encourage choosing low GI carbohydrates, which has led to calls to put the glycaemic index value of foods on packaging.But the researchers warn only laboratory tests can establish a food's GI rating, and the results can be unexpected, for example apples score low but cantaloupe melons score high. The scientists' aim was to determine if foods' glycaemic index influences a person's heart health and risk of diabetes. Professor Appel and study co-director Professor of medicine at Harvard, Frank Sacks, recruited 163 volunteers from Baltimore and Boston, all of whom were overweight and had above normal blood pressure.They randomly assigned them to follow one of four diets.


 Low GI foods
New potatoes
Brown rice
Sweet potatoes 
Instant noodles 
Wholewheat bread 
Sponge cake  
Chick peas
Frozen green peas 
 Medium GI foods
White pita bread
Wholemeal rye 
Blueberry muffin
Ice cream
Basmati rice
Cous cous
Baked potatoes
 High GI foods 
Instant white rice
French fries
Mashed potato
Short grain white rice
White bread
French baguette
Rice cakes

Each diet contained the same number of calories, but those calories came from foods that were either high or low in carbohydrates, and high or low on the GI scale.The volunteers ate their main meal with researchers, and took home their next two meals.After five weeks on their assigned diets, they were switched to a different one.'A higher glycaemic diet would have more bananas and instant oatmeal,' said Professor Sacks. 'A lower glycaemic index would have more dried apricots and steel cut oats.' 

Get back to the basics that most people already know. Don't drink sugar-sweetened drinks. Try to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try to avoid sweets, salt and foods high in saturated and trans fats.
Professor Lawrence Appel at John Hopkins University of Medicine
The scientists tested the volunteers' blood pressure, sensitivity to insulin, and levels of 'good' high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, 'bad' low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides - fat molecules in the blood stream that play a role in heart health. The results revealed the low GI diets did not lower blood pressure or LDL cholesterol, and did not improve insulin resistance.  They showed little difference between high and low glycaemic index foods, the authors said.

Professor Sacks said it is likely people's bodies can handle variations in food on the GI index, even if they are overweight and are already having problems with insulin resistance. He said: 'I guess it just works normally in most people,' adding the glycaemic index should be studied among people with type 2 diabetes, which is also commonly known as adult-onset diabetes. Women made up 51 per cent of the study's volunteers, and African-Americans made up 52 per cent, so the results have broad relevance, Professor Appel said. He advised: 'Get back to the basics that most people already know.'Don't drink sugar-sweetened drinks. Try to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try to avoid sweets, salt and foods high in saturated and trans fats.'People who follow these principles will reap the benefits.' 

+2The scientists' aim was to determine if foods' glycaemic index influences a person's heart health and risk of diabetes.  Apples are said to be low GI while bananas are higher on the index
Professor Sacks said existing studies suggest there may be a benefit for people with diabetes, but there needs to be more research.  Dr Robert Eckel, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new study, said the study's message is that the glycaemic index is not that important if a diet is already heart healthy.
'If you're eating a heart-healthy diet, glycaemic index is not important to consider,' said Dr Eckel, a past president of the American Heart Association and a professor at the University of Colorado.
''I think the emphasis needs to be on the overall diet pattern,' he said.

Professor Sacks said people who want a good overall diet should look toward Mediterranean-style diets or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fat-free dairy, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts and vegetable oils.The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Tandoori marinade gives shrimp a kick

By John Broening
POSTED:   12/17/2014 12:01:00 AM MSTADD A COMMENT

I like assertive, spicy, acidic marinades for animal proteins, but I'm always a little nervous about using them. When you use a marinade made with vinegar, wine, beer, citrus juice or yogurt, when the marinade starts to break down the texture of the meat, it dries it out, giving the exterior an unpleasant, cooked texture.The point at which this begins to happen is difficult to gauge, and usually has something to do with the amount of acidity in the marinade, the size and density of the animal protein and a few other complex factors.

My solution is to use a big-flavored marinade that's applied at the last minute. I like Indian tandoori marinades, which are usually made with a combination of yogurt and spices, and I've found them to be an ideal coating for shrimp, which usually needs a flavor boost.The marinade lends flavor to the shrimp and also gives it an appealing caramelized crust. Tossing the cooked shrimp in a mixture of sesame seeds, lime juice and cilantro gives it an additional punch.Serve this Tandoori-style shrimp as an appetizer over greens or as an entree over basmati rice.

Tandoori-style Shrimp
Serves four as a small entrée or large appetizer.

1 cup Greek yogurt
Grated zest of 2 limes
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Madras Curry powder, toasted
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1 pound shrimp (16-20) peeled and deveined with tails still attached
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro




In medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, lime zest, honey, salt, curry powder, 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and the water. Heat a griddle or a grill pan over medium heat and coat with the remaining tablespoon of canola oil.Working quickly, grab each shrimp by the tail and coat well in the marinade. Place on the griddle or grill pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side . Remove to a clean mixing bowl and toss with the sesame seeds, lime juice, cilantro and additional salt if necessary.Serve immediately.

Obama Calls for New Cuba Policy:  U.S. Rice Industry Gains are Possible  


Fidel Castro samples U.S. rice  at the 2002 Havana International Trade Fair. WASHINGTON, DC -- President Obama announced today that he is updating the U.S. Cuba policy, including reestablishing diplomatic relations between the countries after more than 50 years, and promoting travel and commercial opportunities between the two countries.Central to the President's initiative is a new approach to banking, allowing U.S. and Cuban banks to have direct relationships."The changes to banking are very important because they will significantly reduce red tape and costs associated with doing business with Cuba," said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of the USA Rice Federation.  "Since the mid-1990's USA Rice has taken leadership among commodity groups in calling for an end to the economic and travel embargo on Cuba, so we're encouraged by today's announcement."



 Ward said her organization has long maintained that the "embargo was not on Cuba, as they could source rice and other products from around the world, but rather on the rice growers in the U.S., whose own government cut them out of one of the world's top markets, just 90 miles from our shores.

"  She added that USA Rice is also a founding member of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a group dedicated to lifting the embargo. "USA Rice was the first U.S. group of any kind to exhibit at the 2001 Cuba International Trade Fair, the first such participation in any Cuban trade fair in more than 40 years," said USA Rice's Marvin Lehrer.  "This historic action, taken under extraordinary and difficult circumstances, was among those cited by the Government of Cuba as a motivation in making the first purchase of U.S. rice since 1961 and garnered worldwide media attention."



CEO Betsy Ward meets with Cuban Ambassador earlier this year. Sales rose steadily reaching 176,631 metric tons in 2004, representing about 30 percent of Cuba's import needs.  Since then, imports fell and no sales have been made since 2008 - due to further U.S. government restrictions on definition of "cash in advance" and banking terms with Cuba. As a major consumer and importer of rice, and once the largest market for U.S. rice, Cuba is uniquely positioned to once again become a major market for the United States, which offers easy logistics for exactly the type of rice Cubans demand.  "Today's announcements are good news for the Cuban and American people," said Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Federation.  "We'll be looking for ways to tap into potential markets there to help people on both sides of the equation."


"As we wait to see what the long term political implications of this decision are, today's announcement is an important step forward towards establishing a valuable new market for U.S. agriculture," said Representative Ted Poe (R-TX).  "Easing trade restrictions to take advantage of the high demand for rice in Cuba would provide a new market that would benefit rice farmers in Texas and around the United States."  "While this appears to be an early Christmas present to rice farmers and the people of Cuba, banking restrictions will need to be completely liberalized in the future for free and unfettered trade to take place," added Ward.

 Contact:  Michael Klein (703) 236-1458

Source with thanks:USA Rice Federation

CCC Announces Prevailing World Market Prices 
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation today announced the following prevailing world market prices of milled and rough rice, adjusted for U.S. milling yields and location, and the resulting marketing loan-gain (MLG) and loan deficiency payment (LDP) rates applicable to the 2014 crop, which became effective today at 7:00 a.m., Eastern Time (ET).  Prices are unchanged from the previous announcement.

World Price

Milled Value ($/cwt)
Rough ($/cwt)
Rough ($/cwt)

This week's prevailing world market prices and MLG/LDP rates are based on the following U.S. milling yields and the corresponding loan rates:

U.S. Milling Yields
Loan Rate

The next program announcement is scheduled for
 December 24

Source with thanks:USA Rice Federation

CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for December 17
Net Change

January 2015
+ $0.035
March 2015
+ $0.015
May 2015
+ $0.015
July 2015
+ $0.015
September 2015
+ $0.020
November 2015
+ $0.025
January 2016
+ $0.025


Source with thanks:USA Rice Federation

The Return of Rain

distributed by noodls on 16/12/2014 13:54
 California Rice Commission
16/12/2014 | News release

By Tom Butler

This time of year, there is a Rice Outlook conference involving the six states that produce rice. And for most of the California attendees, the top activity for the three days was to watch the weather back home. We had left for the conference after some welcome rain the week previous, and now there was prom
ise of more. A lot more. More than we received in all of 2013.And while the storm wasn't as "epic" as it was hyped to be, it was a welcome change. The five inches of rain filled rain gauges, helped the decomposition of the remaining rice straw in the fields, and filled bypasses and flood plains along the river.It's always a reminder how quickly it can change from dry to sloppy, and that we still have a long way to go, but it was nice to actually drive around during the rainy season and actually see rain. Also, after the water short year, it's a stark reminder as you watch the excess flow into the bypass, and eventually away without being stored, that further improvements are needed in our storage capabilities.

As for now though, we, the wildlife and the quivers will take the rain. 
More about Tom:
 Tom Butler farms rice with his father, Steve, in Sutter and Yolo Counties. Tom is the fourth generation of his family to farm. When he's not on the job, the University of Nebraska graduate enjoys swimming, water polo, hunting and spending time with his family.

Ann Arbor startup FarmLogs lands $10-million investment

By Nathan Bomey, Detroit Free Press7:09 a.m. EST December 17, 2014

FarmLogs, which now counts 15% of U.S. farms with at least 100 acres as customers, landed an investment from an influential group of venture capitalists that will allow the company to double its staff of 20 employees in the first half of 2015.

Ann Arbor-based software startup FarmLogs secured a $10-million investment, fueling a rapid expansion as farmers throughout the world adopt the company's popular application for monitoring the performance of their crops.FarmLogs, which now counts 15% of U.S. farms with at least 100 acres as customers, landed an investment from an influential group of venture capitalists that will allow the company to double its staff of 20 employees in the first half of 2015.
Columbus, Ohio-based Drive Capital, Ann Arbor-based Huron River Ventures, Chicago-based Hyde Park Venture Partners and San Francisco-based SV Angel pooled funds to help FarmLogs expand.The company also lured an investment from Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, the famous Silicon Valley tech accelerator that has generated a steady stream of high-tech entrepreneurs.Jesse Vollmar, CEO and co-founder of FarmLogs, said the company plans to maintain its headquarters in Ann Arbor and continue growing. He said the firm has room to grow at its office on the second floor of the Kerrytown Market & Shops building adjacent to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.
The company has grown rapidly from a nondescript 600-square-foot office above a cafe on Liberty Street, where it was based 18 months ago with about eight employees.Its application gives farmers the ability to input data into a computer or mobile device to track the performance of their crops, follow commodity prices, monitor weather and record information to comply with federal regulations.FarmLogs says that its customers sell more than $12 billion in crops annually and are scattered across all 50 states and 130 countries.
"FarmLogs is starting to become this trusted brand and something farmers all across the country are starting to rely on, which we're really proud of," Vollmar, who grew up on a farm, said in an interview. "We exist to make farmers more profitable."After initially charging for the service, FarmLogs made the software completely free."We have plans to launch some premium features in the future that people can choose to subscribe to if they like," Vollmar said. "The existing core product will always remain free."
As friends at Unionville-Sebewaing Area High School in Sebewaing, Mich., Vollmar and co-founder Brad Koch formed a software consultancy called Aedis IT, which helped pay their tuition at Saginaw Valley State University, where they graduated in 2011.After a stint as students in the Y Combinator accelerator in early 2012, they founded FarmLogs after identifying a need for a sophisticated but simple digital solution in the farming community where they grew up. They located their new company in Ann Arbor to take advantage of the wealth of tech talent in the halo of the University of Michigan.
The endorsement of the firm's technology by Y Combinator's Altman, in particular, could fuel more interest in the company."I'm a huge fan of Jesse and FarmLogs, and they have the opportunity to build a very important company," Altman said in a statement. "Jesse has a focused vision combined with relentless execution. I think improving agriculture is one of the most important challenges in the world, and I'm excited to be involved."The investment reflects one of the largest venture capital investments in a Michigan software company in years. In 2013, 40 Michigan companies landed venture capital, but only 25% of the capital was devoted to information technology companies.
Vollmar said FarmLogs would use most of the investment to add to its team."Investors look for momentum and they can clearly see that we have incredible momentum," Vollmar said. "I believe we're truly inventing the future of farming."
Contact Nathan Bomey: 313-223-4743 or Follow him on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Source with thanks: Detroit Free Press

UVAS conference on livestock inaugurated: Pakistan to export surplus wheat: Bosan

December 17, 2014
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said on Tuesday that Pakistan has surplus wheat and looking for markets to export surplus wheat. He expressed hope that the wheat output target will be achieved. Bosan said that in the global market prices of wheat and rice were decreasing while in Pakistan prices of wheat and rice were high because in our cost of production is high in the country. He said that in order to discuss the issue of high cost of production he was calling the meeting of chief ministers of all four provinces within a month.
He also said that he will talk to the FBR regarding dumping duty on the import of milk. He was talking to media persons after addressing the opening session of the two-day conference on Livestock and Dairy Development on the role of social sector and rural community organized by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore in collaboration with the Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) and Pakistan Agriculture Scientists Forum. Bosan said the government has decided to give a direct subsidy of Rs 5,000 per acre to rice growers. A committee has been formed on the directive of the Prime Minister and it will discuss how to reduce the cost of production of different commodities, he added. 
Responding to a question, he said "wheat target will be achieved this year with the grace of Almighty Allah and we have sufficient wheat in stock as well". The government would focus on the recommendations and issues highlighted for bringing improvement in the livestock sector and after the 18th Amendment in the Constitution the responsibilities of the provincial governments have also increased as the powers have been transferred to them, he added. The Minister said the government will try to implement the recommendations of the conference in letter and spirit.
Earlier addressing the ceremony Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said that the livestock sector has the capacity of generating gainful employment in the rural population, particularly small farmers and women. The urban population growth increase in per capita income and export opportunities are fuelling the demand of Livestock and its related products. The development of livestock at rural level is constrained by low productivity per unit animal, prevalence of livestock diseases, poor management, nutrition and vaccination. 
The federal government has always been supportive to the livestock sector in providing most enabling environment for its growth and expansion. "I am sure with the collaborative effort of all stakeholders the livestock sector will be able to perform at their maximum potential during the year. He urged the private sector to initiate awareness programs for the small livestock farmers regarding vaccination and improved husbandry practices in livestock production. 
In his opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Talat Naseer Pasha said that for the growth of dairy and red meat sector "we need to provide market pull to our livestock farmers as well as supportive of the farming communities in disease control and enhancement of feed resources and other inputs. "
Our dairy sector is hitting badly by zero duty on the import of skim whey milk powder whenever there are lower world milk prices, these powder are dumped in our markets, which affect our dairy farmers. These days the milk prices are gone down to $2,200 per ton due to ban on import of dairy products by Russia. China can be potential source for export of meat and its products. We need to initiate school milk program and provide an egg a day to our children to attract them to schools and improve their health and solve the issue of malnutrition and as well as provide market to our dairy and poultry farmers." 
He also mentioned the role of UVAS in the development of livestock sector and related sector. He said the Punjab government has approved establishment of a new university named "Cholistan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences" in Bahawalpur and the Punjab government had already allocated 1,000 acres of land in Bahawalpur for the purpose and it was being established with the collaboration of two Turkish universities, "Selcuk University" and "Ankara University". 

Source with thanks:Business recorder

Dunklin recognized with conservation award


The award was presented during the annual Rice Awards luncheon held last Monday at the 2014 USA Rice Outlook Conference.

By USA Rice Federation

Posted Dec. 15, 2014 @ 11:11 am 
USA Rice Producers' Group Conservation Committee Chairman Leo LaGrande recognized George Dunklin's leadership and contributions to U.S. agricultural conservation with the presentation of the fifth annual USA Rice Federation Distinguished Conservation Achievement Award. The award was presented during the annual Rice Awards luncheon held last Monday at the 2014 USA Rice Outlook Conference."It is the USA Rice Federation's privilege to present this award to George Dunklin," LaGrande said. "George has been farming rice for 34 years, is a past commissioner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, has been active in Ducks Unlimited for 31 years and has recently been elected to become the organization's 42nd president.""Farmers are, by definition, conservationists," said LaGrande. "As we continue to see farm policy evolve, we realize conservation and coalition-building is front and center. And USA Rice's partnership with Ducks Unlimited is a perfect example of this new model emphasizing agriculture's role in preservation of natural resources."The historic stewardship partnership between USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited was formed in 2013 so the groups could work collaboratively to conserve critical natural and economic resources.  Earlier this year, the partnership submitted their first national Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) proposal outlining the planning, design, and installation of conservation practices on working rice lands.  RCPP approval is scheduled to be announced by year's end.

Facts elusive for some U.S. consumers when it comes to rice

Dec 15, 2014Forrest Laws | Delta Farm Press
Some consumers don’t know what rice looks like when it’s growing in the field. Some don’t know that rice is grown in the United States. And some associate rice – and all commercially-grown U.S. crops – with GMOs.As hard as this information might be for U.S. rice farmers to swallow – especially the part about GMOs since no commercially-grown U.S. rice is GMO – those are attitudes that turned up frequently in a series of focus groups conducted by the USA Rice Federation last summer.“It’s important to remember when you’re looking at this that we’re there to get opinions; we’re not there to get facts, particularly if their opinions all have a very fleeting relationship to the truth,” said Michael Klein, vice president, marketing and communications for the USA Rice Federation.
Klein was setting the stage for a presentation on the findings of the focus groups conducted in five U.S. cities for the Federation. Klein delivered the focus group opinions at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in Little Rock Dec. 9.The cities – Little Rock, Sacramento, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Chicago and Philadelphia – were selected to represent different segments of the U.S. population: a rural and agricultural area such as Little Rock; an urban and rice-growing area such as Sacramento; an environmentally-conscious area, Portland; and two highly urbanized areas, Chicago and Philadelphia.The Federation “teased” the audience with a couple of sound bites from the groups earlier in the Outlook Conference. A video clip in which focus group members tried to imagine what rice looks like – “does it grow on a vine?” drew a lot of head-shaking in one audience.

Family farmers

Klein said the groups, which consisted of 10 to 12 persons drawn at random from each area, expressed near-universal admiration for farmers.“’Farmers are hard-working, farmers are necessary, they feed us, they appreciate everything that farmers do’ were some of the comments we received in Little Rock and in Chicago,” said Klein. “But there’s a catch. Their respect is reserved for family farms, not for corporate farms.
“We’re glad they like family farms because we think, well, that’s us, we’re family farms,” he said. “But that’s not what they think. They think family farms are being pushed out by corporate farms. Corporate farms are taking over, and family farms are few and far between.”What did members of the focus groups know about rice farming? Almost nothing, says Klein.
“In each of the focus groups except one, they assumed that all of their rice came from China,” he noted. “India and Thailand were also mentioned, but, for the most part, it’s China. The exception to that was Sacramento where rice farming is very heavy in the Sacramento River Delta.”The group in Sacramento was more knowledgable about farming, particularly because of the water issue in California. “Everyone knows that water is used for rice,” he noted. “There was a sense that there might be too much water used for rice. But they were knowledgable which may be an indication the CRC (California Rice Commission) is doing some good in the state.

Come and get it

“We got the sense walking around the city that ‘we’ll let the farmers have all the water they need. If there’s any left, we’ll drink it, and if there’s any left after that, the guys from LA can come up and get it.”In Portland, only a few hundred miles away, the sentiment was totally different. “Suspicion; it’s a totally evil plot, that sort of thing,” said Klein. “You know we use the word flooding, and people associate flooding with Noah and a lot of water. That might be something we want to think about.”Some focus group members believe that hot, humid weather is needed to grow rice, “and they didn’t think we had any weather like that in the United States,” said Klein. “So that’s one of the reasons they think most rice comes from China – that type of weather is prevalent there.”
One Portland participant, a chef, said he would never serve rice grown in the United States,” said Klein. “The only rice he would serve customers was rice that he knew was grown in a small village in southeast China. He was very opinionated, very misinformed and very, very passionate about his misinformation.”When the focus group leaders talked about gains U.S. rice farmers have made in significantly reducing their crop’s environmental footprint, the reaction was positive initially. Then the questions took a different turn.
“Is it hybrid rice from genetic engineering?” a focus group member from Chicago asked. “This isn’t logical unless they’re using some sort of GMO,” said a group member from Portland. “I think it’s attributed to GMO. Monsanto,” said a Little Rock participant.

Two defenders

“There were only two people in all of the groups who came to the defense of GMOs and said they weren’t necessarily bad,” said Klein. “They weren’t really excited about it (GMOs). They seemed to be resigned to it.”On the other hand, when the group members were informed that U.S. rice contains no GMOs, the atmosphere changed with some members applauding and a female member of one group pumping her arm in a “yes” gesture to express their approval.Klein said the Federation took away several messages from the focus groups. One is that it needs to emphasize that rice farmers are family farmers and that few corporations run rice farms in the United States.
“We need to talk about our family farms and that our crops are locally grown, which might differentiate us from some other crops,” he said. “Some people may use the term family-owned businesses, but I would say family farms.”Another is the GMO issue. For now, the rice industry should take advantage of the no-GMO rice message. It also should begin now to figure out how to address the GMO or Frankenfood problem before genetically-engineered rice becomes available.
Another is conservation. “Even the guy who wouldn’t support U.S. rice could see the connection between rice farming and conservation,” Klein noted.Group members also liked the Grown in the USA Rice label and said they preferred to buy products grown and made in this country. “One participant said she wouldn’t buy rice from another country because she didn’t like the chemicals they put on it and the fact they had their children out picking their rice.” For more information on U.S rice producers, visit

Arkansas Farm Bureau Daily Commodity Report

A comprehensive daily commodity market report for Arkansas agricultural commodities with cash markets, futures and insightful analysis and commentary from Arkansas Farm Bureau commodity analysts.
Noteworthy benchmark price levels of interest to farmers and ranchers, as well as long-term commodity market trends which are developing. Daily fundamental market influences and technical factors are noted and discussed.
Cash Bids
New Crop

Riceland Foods

Cash Bids
Stuttgart: 1032
Pendleton: 1032
New Crop
Stuttgart: 994
Pendleton: 999

Jan '15
Mar '15
May '15
Jul '15
Aug '15
Sep '15
Nov '15
Jan '16
Mar '16

Soybean Comment

Soybeans saw marginal gains today. Strong demand remains supportive but prices are feeling pressure from large supplies. Current forecast look very favorable for South American soybean production and we could see another record crop. This would likely push global stocks even higher, currently global stocks are forecast up more than 30%. as the demand is not forecast to keep up with production.

Cash Bids
New Crop

Mar '15
May '15
Jul '15
Sep '15
Dec '15
Mar '16
May '16
Jul '16
Sep '16

Wheat Comment

Another strong day in wheat as the market remains focused on the Russian situation. Russia is already tweaking its export program in an effort to slow exports from the country. While this is supporting prices now, longer term it will likely have less of an affect as global supplies remain ample to meet demand. Larger supplies in EU and other countries are forecast by the USDA to offset the declines in Russia, this knee jerk reaction by the market to the Russia situation should top soon and prices move back to $6.

Grain Sorghum
Cash Bids
New Crop

Cash Bids
New Crop

Mar '15
May '15
Jul '15
Sep '15
Dec '15
Mar '16
May '16
Jul '16
Sep '16

Corn Comment

Corn prices closed higher today. While the gains were good today, one would hope that some of the bullish news today would do more to support corn prices: Vilsack announced China has approved Viptera, ethanol production was a record 990,000 barrels last week, and Ukraine reportedly defaulting on 20% of corn sales to China. While prices have strengthened in recent weeks, we could see prices come under pressure soon as declining soybeans have improved the price ratio and could encourage more corn planting. Larger acres would put pressure on prices and limit upside potential in this market.

Mar '15
May '15
Dec '15

Cotton Comment

Cotton posted gains today. March has been unable to hold above resistance at 61 cents, and has moved back to the middle of the consolidation range. Support is the contract low of 58.53. The monthly supply/demand report held a mixed bag. Domestic production was cut by 474,000 bales to 15.923 million. However, that number was overshadowed by record-setting world ending stocks of 108.08 million bales.

Long Grain Cash Bids
- - -
Long Grain New Crop
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Jan '15
Mar '15
May '15
Jul '15
Sep '15
Nov '15
Jan '16

Rice Comment

Rice ended higher but traded in a narrow range above support, which for January is around $12 and for March near $12.26. Resistance on any rebound will be $12.86 ½ for March. Burdensome world stocks continue to limit the upside potential. The domestic supply/demand estimates were unchanged in the latest report except for a 1 million hundred weight increase in exports that carried directly over into a 1 million cwt. Decrease in ending stocks. Average farm prices were lowered by 20 cents on either end, with the estimate now standing at $14-$15 per cwt.

Live Cattle:
Dec '14
Feb '15
Apr '15
Jun '15
Aug '15
Oct '15
Dec '15
Feb '16
Apr '16
Jan '15
Mar '15
Apr '15
May '15
Aug '15
Sep '15
Oct '15
Nov '15

Cattle Comment

Cattle prices closed lower again today. This weakness maybe a signal for producers to sell some of those cows they were holding onto. Prices have seen sharp losses of between 10 and $20 in most months, which will be difficult for prices to recover from.

Feb '15
Apr '15
May '15
Jun '15
Jul '15
Aug '15
Oct '15
Dec '15
Feb '16

Hog Comment

Shell Eggs

National Turkeys

Delmarva Broilers


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NFA opens importation of 187,000-MT rice

By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) | 

MANILA, Philippines - The National Food Authority (NFA) has opened to the private sector the importation of 187,000 metric tons (MT) of high-quality rice under the minimum access volume (MAV) omnibus importation program.The opening of the private sector importation under the MAV was done pursuant to the resolution passed by the NFA Council on Dec. 9.Each importer would be allowed to bring in a maximum of 5,000 MT for the entire allocation from any country of origin. No more allocations would be issued when the omnibus origin volume has already been exhausted.Imports would be levied a tariff of 40 percent which has be paid in advance through the LandBank of the Philippines. The final assessment of payment shall be conducted by the Bureau of Customs.
Under the MAV omnibus importation program, importers would only be allowed to import high quality rice varieties such as glutinous rice, Jasponica, Basmati and other special and aromatic rice varieties.Regular rice with five percent brokens, 10 percent brokens, and 15 percent brokens may also be imported under this program.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
All NFA-licensed importers may apply to import under this program starting Dec. 28, 2014 until Jan. 31, 2015. All imports must arrive on or before Feb. 28, 2015.The complete list of requirements may be found at the NFA website.Interested importers must submit to the Grains Marketing Operations Department-Foreign Operations Division of the NFA a letter of intent together with all the documentary requirements.Corporations and cooperatives interested to participate in the program must designate, through a board resolution, an authorized representative to act on behalf of the corporation or cooperative during the application process.
Farmers’ organizations must present an original certificate of good standing from the government agency where it is registered such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform or National Irrigation Administration. They must likewise authorize a representative.
The Philippines has agreed this year to increase the volume of rice that could enter the country under the MAV to 805,000 MT from 350,000 MT in exchange for the extension of its special tax treatment on rice by the World Trade organization (WTO).For now, the country still implements the old MAV scheme under which, 187,000 MT may be of omnibus origin while 163,000 MT should be of country-specific origin. Under the country specific program, rice may only be imported from the following source countries with the respective allocations: Thailand (98,000 MT), India (25,000 MT), China (25,000 MT) and Australia (15,000 MT).
Food security chief said Francis Pangilinan said the NFA Council would review and make recommendations on the enforcement of the country’s commitment with the WTO.“The NFA Council imports committee created last August has been tasked to review and make recommendations regarding out WTO commitments. We will await their recommendations,” he said.
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Mekong Delta Rice Exports May Hit 5.85 Million Tonnes This Year

CAN THO, Dec 17 (Bernama) - Mekong Delta's rice exports are likely to reach 5.85 million tonnes worth US$2.9 billion this year, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.The latest figures are unchanged from last year, said the Steering Committee for Southwestern Region.As of Tuesday, the region exported 5.6 million tonnes of rice and is projected to ship another 250,000 tonnes for the rest of the year.Asia and Africa account for 83 percent of Mekong Delta's rice export market.Other export destinations are the US, Europe and Oceania.

Iran’s 8-month wheat imports up 67%
On Line: 15 December 2014 19:12
In Print: Tuesday 16 December 2014              

TEHRAN- Iran imported near $1.3 million of wheat in the first eight months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-Novemebr 21), a 67.4 percent rise compared to the same period in the previous year.Wheat was Iran’s main imported product during the mentioned period of time, accounting for 3.79 percent of the country’s total worth of imports, the Fars News Agency reported on Monday. Iran imported $34.254 billion of non-oil products during the eight-month period. 

The country imported $1.02 million worth of rice in the first eight months of current Iranian year, showing 36.3 percent drop compared to the same period last year.Traders say that Iran is stepping up its grain import activity. In recent years, it has imported around 5 million tons of the staple, but sources estimate the current requirement at up to 6 million tons. Iran’s annual wheat production is forecast to reach 13 million tons by the end of 2014, a one-million ton fall from the previous year’s estimated figure, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report.The report says Iran’s annual rice paddy output is expected to hit 3 million tons in this year, with 100-ton rise from the figure estimated for 2013

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Asia rice markets subdued; India prices ease on weak rupee

By Reuters | 17 Dec, 2014, 04.23PM IST

Rice prices were little changed in Thailand and Vietnam as buying declined ahead of year-end holidays, traders said on Wednesday.ET SPECIAL:
BANGKOK: Rice prices were little changed in Thailand and Vietnam as buying declined ahead of year-end holidays, traders said on Wednesday, while prices in India edged down after its rupee currency sank to a 13-month low. "It's almost New Year so the market is quiet," a Bangkok-based trader said of trade in Thailand. "It is like this every year...the market tends to go quiet as companies close down."

The Indian rupee hit 13-month lows on Tuesday as markets in the region tumbled on fears over the health of the global economy. "Due to a slight drop in paddy prices and a weak rupee, exporters are reducing prices," said B V Krishna Rao, managing director of Pattabhi Agro Foods Pvt Ltd, a leading Indian exporter. Indian 5 per cent broken rice was quoted at $390-$400 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) at Kakinada port, against around $405 FOB last week. "Since Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan are quoting lower prices, Indian sellers have no choice but to follow them. Right now Indian exports are subdued, but from mid-January exports will pick up," Rao added.

The price of Thailand's benchmark 5 per cent broken rice has remained within the range of $410-$415 a tonne FOB since it first eased from $420 in mid-November. It was quoted at $413-$415 on Wednesday. Thailand's government has about 17 million tonnes of rice in stockpiles and only a tenth of it is of standard export quality, according to the latest audit. The stocks were built up under the previous government's rice-buying scheme and has kept pressure on the global market. In an effort to sell off those stockpiles, the government will sign an agreement to sell rice to China on Friday, Arkom Termpittayapaisith, deputy minister of transport, told reporters on Wednesday. Details of the deal have not been made public. The government will also open a tender to sell 400,000 tonnes of rice on Monday.
Vietnam's rice market was also quiet due to the approaching holiday season with the 5 per cent broken grade quoted at $390-$395 FOB on Wednesday, against $390-$400 last Tuesday. "No one trades much at the year end," said a Vietnamese trader for a foreign company, adding that Chinese buyers had used up their quota for imports allowed this year.

NACC urges prosecutors to protect witnesses in rice case

Published: 17 Dec 2014 at 06.19

Ariane Kupferman-Sutthavong

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Tuesday asked the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to help protect witnesses involved in the probe into former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's role in the rice-pledging scheme. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) set its sights on breaking the Yingluck government's rice-purchase programme even before the May 22 coup, and continues to press hard for prosecution of the ex-premier and some of her cabinet ministers. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

NACC secretary-general Sansern Poljiak made the demand at a joint meeting between the NACC and the OAG Tuesday.The committee, set up on Sept 4, was intended to work on the case amid uncertainty about whether to indict Ms Yingluck for her alleged failure to stop losses under the scheme. The attorney-general says work by the NACC on the case is not strong enough to support indictments.Mr Sansern called on Attorney-General Trakul Winitnaiyapak, who led OAG representatives at the meeting, to defend plaintiffs, including the anti-graft commission itself, from counterclaims.

He said witnesses, including officials involved in the investigation, need to be protected because they often face parallel lawsuits filed by the defendant. Such lawsuits are aimed at deterring witnesses from testifying.Mr Sansern said the NACC also wanted the attorney-general to help set the direction of investigation. He suggests the office help with probes rather than wait for NACC reports to be complete. That should help reduce the problem of incomplete reports or gaps in procedure, he said. The NACC was ready to address the opening of Ms Yingluck's case before the National Legislative Assembly on Jan 9, he said

Thanks with source: Bangkok post

Rice millers’ problems to be solved on Dec 29’


PATNA: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday said the longstanding problems of the rice millers would be solved at the entrepreneurs (udyami) panchayat scheduled for December 29. Speaking at a conference of Bihar state rice millers association at the S K Memorial Hall, Manjhi promised to solve their problems instantly, but finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said the announcements with financial implications can't be implemented instantly. The CM said he solved the problems of homeguards and the policemen on a single day and gave instant instructions to the officers regarding their longstanding demands. He said Bihar has 3,000 rice mills, yet the state imports rice from Punjab and Haryana.
"The government proposes to procure 24 MT of rice from next year against 18 lakh MT this year. The state food corporation's godowns have the storage capacity for only 11 MT. This has to be increased," the CM said. He asked the industrialists to create job opportunities in Bihar itself so that local youths do not need to go outside Bihar in search of employment. He assured government assistance to the entrepreneurs. Industries minister Bhim Singh said an investment of Rs 8,000 crore was made in industries in Bihar and Rs 6,000 crore of that were in food processing units. Former minister Jagdanand Singh said only Biharis could improve the status of Bihar.
 It was unfortunate that Bihar had to import rice and wheat from Punjab and Haryana though its fields were rich in production but needed assured irrigation, Singh, a former water resources minister, said. Jagdanand said the government did not procure a single kg of rice this year. Sudhakar Singh, president of the millers' association, submitted a 9-point memorandum to the chief minister. He said the millers would cooperate with the state government in procurement and storage of foodgrains.

 He said the government miserably failed to meet the target of procuring 30 lakh tonne of rice. Bihar is getting 20 lakh tonne of rice annually from the central pool and importing 20 lakh MT from Punjab and Haryana, he said. He said the millers had been fighting for survival for the past three years. He feared the rice mill industry will collapse and it would result in the collapse of agro economy of the state.

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5 ways U.S.-Cuba relations are about to change

12:53 p.m. EST December 17, 2014
The American contractor, who has been held in Cuba on espionage charges for five years, is finally headed home. (News, USA TODAY)

President Obama is announcing a major overhaul of U.S.- Cuba relations, the biggest shift in the two nations' diplomatic posture since the severing of ties in 1961.Here are five key steps in Obama's announcement, from a White House summary:
"The President has instructed the Secretary of State to immediately initiate discussions with Cuba on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed in January 1961."In the coming months, we will re-establish an embassy in Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between our two governments as part of the normalization process."
The administration is broadening use of existing categories of allowable travel, including for family visits, professional meetings and "support for the Cuban people." The announcement also includes step to increase commercial flights to Cuba.The administration is also increasing commercial trade in both directions. "Licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be authorized to import $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined."Items that will be authorized for export include certain building materials for private residential construction, goods for use by private sector Cuban entrepreneurs, and agricultural equipment for small farmers."
A view from Old Havana's Hotel Sevilla includes the tree-lined boulevard known as Paseo del Prado.(Photo: Laura Bly, USA TODAY)
For families in the U.S. sending cash back to Cuba, "remittance levels will be raised from $500 to $2,000 per quarter for general donative remittances to Cuban nationals (except to certain officials of the government or the Communist party); and donative remittances for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, and support for the development of private businesses in Cuba will no longer require a specific license."

In order to increase the ability of Cubans to access the Internet, "The commercial export of certain items that will contribute to the ability of the Cuban people to communicate with people in the United States and the rest of the world will be authorized. This will include the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware, and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems."

Cuban President Raul Castro talks during the plenary session of the XIII America's Peoples Alliance summit in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 14, 2014.(Photo: Alejandro Ernesto, European Pressphoto Agency)
Cuba has been listed as a "state sponsor of terrorism" since 1982. Obama's action directs the secretary of State to "immediately launch" a review of that status and to"provide a report to the President within six months regarding Cuba's support for international terrorism."
 (Photo: File photo by Charles Tasnadi, AP)


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