Saturday, September 08, 2018

8th September,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

Clock is Ticking for 2018 Farm Bill 

WASHINGTON, DC -- The House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee held its first official meeting Wednesday morning where the 56 conferees, nine Senators and 47 House Members, comprising the committee made brief statements on legislative provisions and issues they support or oppose in the two chambers' bills. 

Although the leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees met several times throughout August to reconcile differences between the two versions of the Farm Bill before the current law expires on September 30, the most contentious differences still remain, particularly in the commodity, conservation, and nutrition titles.  

One outstanding issue is a harmful provision included in the Senate version aimed at further restricting access to the farm safety net.  

"In both chambers, we've crafted policies not to make the good times better, but to make the tough times bearable.  But, we are not without our differences," said Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to his fellow conference committee members.  "I'm deeply concerned that the actively engaged eligibility provisions included in the Senate bill will only exacerbate the pain being felt throughout rural America by arbitrarily excluding some farmers from Title I programs.  This is often characterized as a regional difference, but let me be clear, this provision does not discriminate against regions, it discriminates against farmers and those who feed and clothe this nation."

"The proposed changes to the actively engaged rule for commodity program eligibility would be devastating to the program's intent to provide a modest safety net for farmers during times of declined prices, and market and trade uncertainty," said Joe Mencer, Arkansas rice farmer and chair of USA Rice Farmers.  

During Wednesday's meeting, Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-LA) highlighted a provision in the House version that is a priority of USA Rice, allowing for the expansion of the family definition for commodity program eligibility to more accurately reflect modern day family farm management structures.  Abraham said, "A sudden death in the family can unravel a family farm that's been running for generations.  We can fix this with the bill and preserve the family farm, a vital part of the fabric of rural America, and I support including nieces, nephews, and first cousins in the definition of 'actively engaged.'"

Collective sentiment among legislators revolves around the need for the 2018 Farm Bill to be passed on time.  Just 10 legislative days remain with the House and Senate both in session before September 30, leaving Congress little time to forward the bill to the President's desk to be signed into law.

"USA Rice is thankful to have great advocates in Washington working to pass a farm bill with positive farm, conservation, trade, and food aid provisions for the U.S. rice industry," said Charley Mathews, Jr., California rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice.  "With yet another declining net farm income forecast for 2018, a reliable safety net and other critical farm bill programs will be essential to ensuring rice farmers and our industry can weather the storm."
USA Rice
Rice Gene-Editing Research Cited as Among World-Changing Science
Sep. 07, 2018
Description: Vibha Srivastava is experimenting with gene editing as a tool that may one day assist conventional rice breeders develop improved varieties.
Photo by Fred Miller
Vibha Srivastava is experimenting with gene editing as a tool that may one day assist conventional rice breeders develop improved varieties.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Research published by a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture scientist has been recognized by an international publisher for its high-impact potential.
Vibha Srivastava, professor of crop, soil and environmental sciences for the Division of Agriculture, has been experimenting with gene editing, a technique that induces mutations in plants. Her goal is to develop technologies that will one day assist rice breeders develop advanced rice varieties for Arkansas growers.
Division rice breeders develop improved varieties to help farmers keep ahead of nature's tendency to change growing conditions.
These conditions include plant diseases that mutate to overcome resistance and insects that eventually adapt to defeat a plant's natural defenses. Environmental changes can include climate changes that affect air temperature or water availability, or the invasion of new weeds or insects.
Conventional breeding requires scientists to cross many generations of plants in order to move useful mutations that occur in nature from wild cousins of rice into breeding lines that may lead to new cultivated rice varieties. The process can take decades to accomplish.
Gene editing can speed up the process, Srivastava said.
Srivastava emphasizes that gene editing is not the same as genetic modification, in which genetic code from one organism is inserted into another organism.
"A plant's genetic traits are developed through mutations that occur naturally in response to environmental stresses," Srivastava said.
Those mutations could be viewed as naturally occurring gene editing that results in new information being stored in the plants' genes. As a tool for plant breeders, Srivastava said, gene editing provides a way to copy and paste that information from rice plants' wild or distant cousins into available breeding stock.
"We use the information from the wild plant to try to induce the same mutation in breeding stock," Srivastava said.
To accomplish this, Srivastava is adapting a technology called "CRISPR/Cas9." CRISPR is scientific shorthand for "clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats." These are segments of DNA that contain short, repetitive base sequences.
Cas9 stands for CRISPR associated protein 9, a type of protein that can be guided by CRISPR to induce cuts or double-stranded breaks in DNA. Srivastava said the cut is repaired by the cell through an error-prone process that using mutations.
"There are two techniques for gene editing," Srivastava said. "Point mutations attempt to induce a mutation in a single gene and defined deletions attempt to excise a larger chromosome section."
Srivastava was attempting to delete a chromosome section by inducing cuts at two different points that mark the beginning and end of the section she wanted to remove.
Removing genetic code might seem an unlikely goal, but Srivastava said it has the potential to eliminate a yield- or quality-limiting plant characteristic. One such gene segment, she said, controls rice grain quality. When it is activated, by high nighttime temperatures, it causes a decline in quality.
Deleting that set of genetic instructions could help improve rice grain quality in the face of a common climate problem for Arkansas rice growers.
"What we found out," Srivastava said, "is that creating deletions is extremely difficult."
Srivastava had hoped that mutating the two points that defined the target gene section would result in the section being deleted. But what she found was that it simply mutated those two points and left the intervening section intact.
Research may not always take you where you expected, Srivastava said, but it advances knowledge that can help design a new experiment or even lead to unexpected discovery.
With accidental discovery in mind, Srivastava and research technician Shan Zhao are growing the gene edited plants in a greenhouse to maturity so they can evaluate whether any advantageous traits have been induced.
No gene edited plants leave the greenhouse or her lab, Srivastava said. Gene editing is still experimental and is not used in Division of Agriculture plant breeding programs.
Srivastava learned that colleagues in other research institutions were conducting similar experiments and encountering the same difficulties. "But no one was reporting it," she said.
Some scientists may be reluctant to report when their experiments don't succeed in accomplishing their intended goals. But Srivastava believes the knowledge gained is valuable, even if only to point ongoing research in new directions.
It is said that Thomas Edison said of repeated failures in his lab that he learned 1,000 ways not to make a lightbulb. The story may be apocryphal, but the point is valid in Srivastava's view.
And Springer Nature, publisher of many peer-reviewed scientific journals, seems to agree. The publisher chose Srivastava's research paper on her attempts to delete chromosome sections, to feature in their online "Change the World — One article at a time" section.
Springer Nature selects stand-out research articles from its research journals in various scientific disciplines. The high-impact papers are nominated by the publications' editors'-in-chief and submitted to the publishers.
Srivastava's article, titled "Dual-targeting by CRISPER/Cas9 for precise excision of transgenes from rice genome," was originally published in Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture: Journal of Plant Biotechnology.The journal's editor-in-chief nominated it for inclusion in "Change the World."
This recognition gives Srivastava's research article free access, making it available to a wider audience of researchers, including those who may be trying to blaze a similar trail in plant biotechnology.
About the Division of Agriculture: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation's historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
About Springer Nature: Springer Nature is a global publisher that advances discovery by publishing robust and insightful research, supporting the development of new areas of knowledge, making ideas and information accessible around the world, and leading the way on open access.

Cajun Country Rice, local stores helping out the food bank

In honor of September being both Hunger Action Month and National Rice Month, Second Harvest Food Bank — with Cajun Country Rice and dozens of area grocery stores — hopes to collect at least 40,000 pounds of rice for people facing hunger in South Louisiana. The “Have a Rice Day!” promotion runs all month.
Throughout September, for every purchase of a five-pound bag of Cajun Country Rice (medium- or long-grain), Falcon Rice will donate an additional half-pound of Cajun Country Rice to Second Harvest. Shoppers may also choose to donate the five-pound bag of rice at their grocery store for later pickup by Second Harvest to help reach our goal of 40,000 pounds.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Falcon Rice, producer of the Cajun Country Rice brand, for this promotion at Walmart, Rouses, Kroger, and Super 1 Foods locations throughout South Louisiana,” said Second Harvest Food Sourcing Specialist Natasha Curley. “Rice is such a perfect food to donate as it provides nutrition and meal flexibility for the thousands of families we serve every month, and our locally-grown rice is some of the best in the world.”
Falcon Rice, located in Crowley, is a regular donor to Second Harvest’s mission to fight hunger.
“We just want to be here for the community, and we have a product that stretches so far when you’re talking about feeding families,” said Robert Trahan, Director of Sales and Business Development at Falcon Rice. “We’re proud to support what Second Harvest does for Acadiana and all of South Louisiana.”
Visit for more information.

Cutting almost complete, yields good in rice varieties

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Description: rice harvest

rice harvest

Rice harvests in a four county area including Wharton, Matagorda,  Jackson and Colorado counties are wrapping up along with the rest of the Gulf Coast with near-record yields of good quality grain with many producers considering a second harvest. Ratoon cropping early planted fields might improve net profits, according to Lee Tarpley,  AgriLife Research crop physiologist, not pictured. Later- planted fields could be ratoon cropped if temperatures remain above 50 degrees into early November.  “If it stays warm they could see another harvest with less input costs, and that could mean a better bottom line,” Tarpley said. 
L-N Photo by Melony Overton

Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 5:15 am
The rice harvest is winding down along the Gulf Coast and producers are almost done in El Campo with many considering a second harvest.
Dick Ottis, president and chief executive officer for Rice Belt Warehouse, Inc., with locations in El Campo, Ganado, Bay City, Edna and Blessing, said the harvest in El Campo is 95 percent complete.
Facilities can run 18 to 24 hours a day to dry rice.
“Company wide, we are 80 percent complete with the harvest. Some locations are more complete than others,” Ottis said. “We have other areas that aren’t that far along (as El Campo).”
The Bay City facility, for example, takes in many hundred weights of organic rice that is a growing trend among producers in Wharton, Matagorda, Jackson and Colorado counties.
“That rice is usually a little later in maturing. That sets their harvest back later,” Ottis said.
The majority of the organic rice the Bay City warehouse receives comes from upper Wharton County and Colorado County, Ottis said.
“It started very slow, but it has picked up to where I assume we probably have 13,000 to 14,000 acres of rice in these four counties that is organically grown.”
For the most part, producers have seen a “very good yield for the different rices we dry,” regarding conventional and hybrid rice, Ottis said.
According to Lee Tarpley, an AgriLife Research crop physiologist, a near record yield is expected for producers who planted their fields early in spring avoiding heavy spring rains that caused delays for other growers. Late planted rice was exposed to hot spells and heat damage, Tarpley said in a Texas A&M University crop and weather report.
M.O. Way, AgriLife Research entomologist, said in the same report that about 190,000 acres of rice were planted this season statewide with half the acreage planted in hybrid varieties.
Ottis has witnessed that other growing trend in the four-county area, too.
“I think we’ve seen more hybrid rice grown in our local area this year than in all years past. We’re probably growing 75 to 80 percent hybrid and the rest is conventional varieties,” he said.
The reason for more hybrid rice grown over the conventional varieties could be because conventional rice yields less with the first crop when compared to hybrids, Ottis said.
According to the Texas Rice Crop Survey conducted by Texas A&M, the rice acreage for the 2018 crop season in Wharton County is 38,602 up 7.6 percent from 2017’s 35,892 acres of rice. The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2018 crop acreage report also shows an additional 3,871 acres of rice intended for seed this year.
Way said good growing conditions have many farmers considering growing a ratoon crop, or allow another crop to grow from the stubble left after the harvest.
Ratoon cropping could produce an additional 35-50 percent of the main harvest, with little input costs beyond fertilization and water, Way said. About 60 percent of Texas rice acres are ratoon cropped typically.
“In rice, we actually have two crops for conventional and hybrids,” Ottis said. “We have that first crop that is cut in July and August. Then we have the ratoon or second crop that is harvested in late October and end of November. We may go a lot longer if there is a lot of it, you just never know.”

Posted at: Sep 8, 2018, 1:22 AM; last updated: Sep 8, 2018, 1:22 AM (IST)

Rice millers to boycott paddy storage over milling policy

Say state has imposed unrealistic conditions on the industry
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Description: Rice millers to boycott paddy storage over milling policy
Rice millers during a state-level meeting in Sangrur on Friday. Tribune photo
Tribune News Service
Sangrur, September 7
Rice millers from across the state after a state-level meeting here on Friday announced to boycott storage of paddy in their mills from the forthcoming season if the state government fails to make required changes in the custom milling policy.
Around 1,200 millers alleged that the state government had imposed unrealistic conditions on the rice industry.
“In the new policy released last month, the government has imposed numerous conditions and no one can fulfil all. If required changes are not made in the policy, it will ruin the rice milling industry,” said Rajnish Kansal, state media incharge of the Rice Millers Association, Punjab.
The main demands of the millers included abolition of five per cent bank guarantee, end of interest over from miller over quality cut, government should take 67-kg rice from 99-kg paddy and one per cent dry benefit should go to miller, advance payment of user charges to miller to help miller maintain purchase and end of undertaking for levy security 350.
“A majority of rice millers are under huge debt due to the wrong policies of the state government. The new policy will only add to their woes,” said Kansal.
Punjab president Gian Chand Bhardwaj attended the meeting.
“The Congress has always supported the rice industry of the state. We will take required steps to redress their grievances,” said Cabinet Minister Vijay Inder Singla, who called the millers to his residence in Sangrur for discussion.

600 containers of Pakistani rice stuck at Kenyan ports


Published: September 8, 2018
Description: The delay in clearance of containers is resulting in heavy demurrage costs and increase in landing cost of Pakistani rice each day.

The delay in clearance of containers is resulting in heavy demurrage costs and increase in landing cost of Pakistani rice each day. PHOTO:FILE
LAHORE: Almost 600 containers of Pakistani rice have been stopped at Kenyan ports by the customs authority, said Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Sameeullah Chaudhry.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Customs were examining the containers for security check and verification, which Chaudhry said was unfair considering that the certificates of conformity were in order. He lamented that despite having necessary approvals and a clean bill of health from the agencies recommended by KEBS, the containers were being inspected to check compliance with phytosanitary standards and their physical characteristics.
The delay in clearance of containers is resulting in heavy demurrage costs and increase in landing cost of Pakistani rice each day.
As per rules, rice is not allowed to enter Kenya based on 2-5% higher broken quantity. “It is a matter of great concern because in agriculture commodity 2% is considered insignificant variation,” he added. “This has jeopardised our rice exports. We want a level playing field.”
Despite the intervention of the Pakistan High Commission and commercial counsellor to resolve the crisis, the Kenyan inspection team was not cooperating, he pointed out.
The REAP chairman suggested that reciprocal steps may be taken in the case of Kenyan products destined to the Pakistani market.
“Our consumer health and protection is equally important and we must take reciprocal measures to protect our consumers from any inferior quality of Kenyan products being imported into Pakistan,” he said.
He warned that if the matter was not tackled, Pakistan risked losing its share of rice exports – 475,000 tons or 12% of total exports, which would enhance the country’s trade deficit and imbalance.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2018.

Rice Prices

as on : 07-09-2018 12:18:14 PM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
Indus(Bankura Sadar)(WB)
Tamluk (Medinipur E)(WB)
Published on September 07, 2018

U.S. rice farmers losing market share in Mexico, Latin America

The numbers behind the monthly WASDE projections point to some troubling signs for the U.S. rice industry.
U.S. rice exports are expected to increase 13 percent in the 2018-19 marketing year, according to the USDA Economic Research Service’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates or WASDE report.
Normally that would be good news for U.S. producers, who would benefit from the increased sales. But, this time, the numbers behind the monthly WASDE projections point to some troubling signs for the U.S. rice industry.
U.S. rice prices continue to be significantly higher than its competitors, says Dr. Nathan Childs, senior rice economist for the USDA-ERS, and a speaker for a recent University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Food and Agribusiness Webinar. As a result, U.S. prices will have to come down to make that prediction a reality.
Another factor: the U.S. is continuing to lose market share in Latin America, a region that used to be a “99 percent” American market, according to Childs, whose presentation was titled “U.S. rice growers projected to face higher ending stocks and lower prices in 2018-19.” (See video at
“I brought this up earlier, and I’m going to bring it up again,” he said. “South American exporters continue to gain market share in Mexico, which has been the largest quantity market for U.S. rice. There’s no other market that buys as much quantity.”
Mexico is a strong market, purchasing 900,000 metric tons of rice in 2017, he said. “That’s a lot of rice. The U.S. was probably once 99 percent or a rock solid 95. We’re probably not even at 80 percent of that market now.”

Exports to Mexico

Childs displayed a graphic of the last eight years of U.S. exports to Mexico that showed shipments falling off a cliff to less than 300,000 tons.
“This is calendar year and only through May,” he said quickly. “Exports haven’t dropped off for the whole year. Look at the proportion. One can see the U.S. is the dominant supplier, but not to the degree it was maybe eight or nine years ago. That’s the largest U.S. market.”
Latin America currently accounts for about 60 percent of U.S. rice exports, taking slightly more than 4 million metric tons in 2016-17. U.S. shipments to the region were just approaching 3 million metric tons in June with one more month to go in the 2017-18 marketing year.
“It will be lower, but not this much lower, he said, referencing another slide. “But you can see how Mexico, and then the rest of Latin America are important to the U.S. rice industry. A lot of that is rough rice; way over half.
This slide is just long-grain,” he noted. “Latin America is about 80 percent of U.S. long-grain exports. So let’s say it’s even more important for the southern Rice Belt. California doesn’t ship much to Latin America. But for the South, Latin America is critical.”

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is nowhere near as large as Mexico, but is “a rock solid market,” purchasing well over 100,000 tons a year.
“You can see that the U.S. was absolutely dominant; Costa Rica bought just a little bit of rice from South America,” he said. “Now the U.S. is still the largest supplier, supplying more than half, but not dominant.”
Childs says the increased competition from South American exporters to Mexico, Central America and Venezuela has to be a key concern for the U.S. rice industry in the 2018-19 marketing year.
“These are key U.S. long-grain rough rice markets where the U.S. share has been declining for several years,” he said. “And, in many of those markets — most of those markets — the U.S. still is a big supplier to Mexico, much of Central America.
“Will Asian exporters ship milled rice into South America, Central America and Mexico?” he asked. “They had been shipping some. They backed off. But they’re a possibility.”


Other question marks include Iraq, where the U.S. sold 30,000 metric tons in August. Last year, they sold 90,000 metric tons.
“Will the U.S. pick up any medium-grain sales to North Africa and the Middle East?” he asked.
With Australia’s crop reduced and Egypt’s falling crop prospects, analysts believe the latter could purchase around 400,000 tons. “So will Egypt buy U.S. rice? And what type and class of rice?”


Increased U.S. rice acreage and increased production this harvest are expected to result in U.S. long-grain ending stocks rising by 31 percent for the 2018-19 marketing year, says Childs.
“Prices are expected to go down for all classes of rice,” he said. “That will pull the all rice price down. We expect more supplies. and to move the rice, prices have to be more competitive.”

Government procures 38 mn tonnes rice so far in 2017-18; exceeds target

PTI|Sep 07, 2018, 01.43 PM IST

Description: 1For the current year, the government has fixed paddy MSP of 'common' grade variety at Rs 1,550 per quintal, while that of 'A' grade variety at Rs 1,590 per quintal.
The Centre's rice procurement has surpassed the target at 38 million tonnes so far in the ongoing 2017-18 marketing year that will end this month, a senior food ministry official said Friday.

The rice procurement target set for this year was 37.5 million tonnes.

The government had procured 34.35 million tonnes during the last marketing year (October-September), surpassing the target of 33 million tonnes set for that year.

"Rice procurement is coming to closure this month. So far, we have procured 38 million tonnes. We have purchased more than the target set for this year," the official told PTI.

Much of the rice was purchased from states like Punjab, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

Over 33 per cent of the country's total rice production has been procured at the MSP.

The paddy is procured at the minimum support price (MSP). State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies have undertaken procurement operation.

For the current year, the government has fixed paddy MSP of 'common' grade variety at Rs 1,550 per quintal, while that of 'A' grade variety at Rs 1,590 per quintal.

The country is estimated to have harvested a record 112.91 million tonnes of rice in 2017-18, as against 109.70 million tonnes last year, as per the official data.