Wednesday, April 17, 2019

17th April,2019 Daily GLobal Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Will the United Kingdom Ever Leave the EU?   
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- The EU-27 approved a new official Brexit deadline here last week of October 31, 2019.  This is the third official date for the Brexit; the original plan was to leave the EU on March 29, but repeated failure of the UK government to gain Parliament's approval of an exit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and fear of a "hard Brexit" has resulted in a series of postponements.  According to the new roadmap, the UK can leave the EU before the Halloween deadline if Parliament ratifies the current exit agreement.  Prime Minister May and the leader of the opposition Labour party are reportedly in negotiations on a plan acceptable to Parliament.

"Last week's events leave U.S. rice exporters facing the status quo for now and uncertainty for the longer term," said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings.  EU import duties continue to apply on U.S. rice exports to the UK, and EU and UK government plans to divide up the zero-duty tariff rate quota for 38,721 metric tons (milled basis) of U.S. rice between the UK and the remaining EU-27 remain under negotiation in the World Trade Organization.  "Our main goal of a U.S.-UK free trade agreement keeps getting pushed back as long as the UK remains in the EU or remains as part of the EU customs union, which is a major component of the prime minister's exit plan."

Despite strong rhetoric on both sides of the English Channel, economic assessments of the costs to both the UK and EU-27 economies of a hard Brexit prevailed in granting another extension and more time for a negotiated outcome.  The UK Parliament remains fragmented 
among many different interest groups including those who oppose and support different Brexit scenarios, and even supporters of a second referendum to avoid Brexit altogether.

"The prime minister's exit plan is supposed to cover the transition while the UK and the EU negotiate their long term economic relationship.  The longer this transition lasts, the longer the delay in a U.S.-UK trade agreement," concluded Cummings.


2 Arkansas Clearfield rice varieties to be available in 2020

Xueyan Sha and his research team cut breeder seed for advancing breeding lines in this file photo. Fred Miller/UA System Division of Agriculture
By Fred Miller Special to The Commercial
STUTTGART — Two new high-yield, Clearfield®rice varieties developed by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will be widely available from Horizon Ag in 2020.
Professor Xueyan Sha, Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station rice breeder based at the division’s Rice Research and Extension Center near Stuttgart, released two new Clearfield varieties, according to a news release.
The two varieties are a long-grain rice, CLL15, and a medium-grain rice, CLM04, that will be part of the Horizon Ag lineup next year, said Tim Walker, Horizon Ag general manager.
“These Clearfield varieties will provide farmers with outstanding yield and grain quality combined with the agronomic characteristics rice farmers need to manage their crops for maximum profitability,” he said.
Sha said CLL15 is a semi-dwarf rice that averaged 186 bushels per acre in 42 state and regional trials during the 2016 to 2018 growing seasons. Milling yields were comparable to other Clearfield varieties with head rice yield of 59.8 percent and total milled rice of 69.5 percent in 22 statewide and regional trials.
CLL15 has improved blast resistance compared to other Clearfield varieties and good straw strength, making it moderate resistant to lodging, Sha said.
CLM04 is an early maturing, semi-dwarf rice with outstanding yield potential, good milling and grain quality, Sha said. In 43 state and regional trials from 2016 to 2018, it averaged 198 bushels per acre, slightly better than CL272 and Jupiter, and slightly below Titan.
Milling yield averaged 60.1 percent head rice to 68 percent total rice in 23 state and regional trials, Sha said. Its chemical composition is nearly identical to Jupiter, which is part of CLM04′s breeding lineage, making it a good choice for cereal companies.
Compared to other popular medium grain varieties, Sha said, CLM04 has good lodging and blast resistance.
Clearfield rice was developed at Louisiana State University when rice breeder Tim Croughan discovered a breeding line of rice with a naturally occurring genetic mutation that was tolerant to the imidazolinone family of herbicides, said Bob Scott, Rice Research and Extenstion Center director.
LSU licensed the genetic material to American Cyanamid, now BASF, which shared the breeding material with the UA System Division of Agriculture about 1999, Scott said. Horizon Ag is a seed technology company licensed by BASF to market Clearfield rice varieties.
“Both of these new varieties will fill current needs for Southern rice farmers today and will be valuable additions to the Horizon Ag variety lineup,” Walker said. “Since 2001, Horizon Ag has brought forward rice varieties that have enabled farmers to meet the challenges they face while producing a product that returns more to their bottom line.
“CLL15 and CLM04 will continue that 20-year legacy,” Walker said.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture rice breeding and research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearchand Instagram at ArkAgResearch.
For more information about CLL15 and CLM04 in seed production, visit
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.
— Fred Miller is science editor with the U of A Division of Agriculture.

Gila-river-Centre for Biological Diversity
For Immediate Release, April 16, 2019
Sinjin Eberle, American Rivers, (720) 373-0864
Allyson Siwik, Gila Conservation Coalition, (575) 590-7619
Todd Schulke, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 574-5962
Donna Stevens, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, (575) 590-5698
New Mexico's Gila River Named America's Most Endangered River of 2019
Climate Change, Proposed Diversion Threaten State's Last Wild River
WASHINGTON― American Rivers today named the Gila River No. 1 on the list of “America’s most endangered rivers” of 2019, citing the grave threat that climate change and a proposed diversion project pose to New Mexico’s last free-flowing river. American Rivers and its partners called on New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to permanently stop the diversion project and advance more cost-effective, innovative water supply solutions.
“New Mexicans can’t afford to dry up their last wild river,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Basin director for American Rivers. “Ruining the Gila River with an expensive diversion project doesn’t make sense when there are better, more cost-effective water supply options.”
“We are already feeling the impacts of climate change in New Mexico and across the Southwest and it’s only going to get worse. The decisions we make today will determine whether we have healthy rivers and secure water supplies in the future. We have an opportunity on the Gila to demonstrate that it is possible to protect healthy rivers and meet our water needs in an era of climate change,” said Rice.
Scientists estimate that due to climate change, the Gila River will cease to be a snowpack-fed river by mid-century. The proposed diversion project would put greater strain on Gila River flows already altered and reduced by the impacts of climate change. In turn climate change will likely limit the amount and availability of water that can be developed by the proposed diversion, calling into question the project’s long-term viability.
American Rivers and its partners called on Lujan Grisham to stop the diversion project and instead spend $66 million available through Arizona Water Settlement Act funding on alternative water supply solutions to meet the water needs of communities throughout southwest New Mexico.
These solutions include infrastructure improvements and expansions such as the Grant County Regional Water Supply Project and municipal and agricultural conservation and efficiency projects.
“It’s time to stop the waste of millions in federal funds on a Gila River diversion to benefit a small number of irrigators and the world’s largest copper mining company, and instead direct AWSA monies to critically important community water projects that achieve long-term water security for thousands in southwest New Mexico,” said Allyson Siwik, executive director of the Gila Conservation Coalition.
“It’s rare to see a wild river these days because so many of the nation’s rivers have been dammed,” said Donna Stevens, executive director of the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance. “People come from all over to visit the Gila Wilderness — the nation’s first wilderness area — and the Gila River. They boost the local economy with their tourist dollars.”
Flowing out of the nation’s first wilderness area, the Gila River supports outstanding examples of southwestern riparian forest, cold-water fisheries and a remarkable abundance of wildlife. The river is home to indigenous people who have lived in southwestern New Mexico for thousands of years, and it remains vital to the region’s culture and heritage.
“A stronghold for many endangered species, the Gila is one of the last intact rivers left in North America,” said Todd Schulke, a cofounder of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have to work hard to make sure it stays that way. We urge Governor Lujan Grisham to help us protect the Gila River forever.”
The annual “America’s most endangered rivers” report is a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers’ fates. Over the years the report has helped spur many successes, including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with “wild and scenic” designations, and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.
The Gila River was previously included on this list in 1995, 1996, 2008 and 2014. Other rivers in the region listed as most endangered in recent years include the Lower Rio Grande (2018), Lower Colorado River (2017) and Colorado River in the Grand Canyon (2015).
America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2019

1. Gila River, New Mexico
Gov. Lujan Grisham must choose a healthier, more cost-effective way to provide water to agriculture than by drying up the state’s last major free-flowing river.
2. Hudson River, New York
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must consider effective, nature-based alternatives to storm-surge barriers that would choke off this biologically rich tidal estuary.
3. Upper Mississippi River, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri
State and federal agencies must enforce laws that prohibit illegal levees, which increase flood risk for communities and degrade vital fish and wildlife habitat.
4. Green-Duwamish River, Washington
Local leaders must produce a flood-protection plan that safeguards communities and restores habitat for Chinook salmon — fish that are essential to the diet of Puget Sound’s endangered orca whales.
5. Willamette River, Oregon
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must immediately improve 13 dams to save wild Chinook salmon and steelhead from going extinct.
6. Chilkat River, Alaska
The Japanese investment firm DOWA must do the responsible thing and back out of a mining project that could decimate native salmon.
7. South Fork Salmon River, Idaho
The U.S. Forest Service must safeguard endangered fish by denying a mining proposal that could pollute this tributary of the “wild and scenic” Salmon River.
8. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Gov. Asa Hutchinson must demand closure of an industrial hog-farming facility that pollutes groundwater and threatens endangered species.
9. Big Darby Creek, Ohio
Local leaders must use state-of-the-art science to craft a responsible development plan that protects this pristine stream.
10. Stikine River, Alaska
The International Joint Commission of the United States and Canada must protect the river’s clean water, fish and wildlife, and indigenous communities by stopping harmful, polluting mines.
2019 River of the Year: Cuyahoga River, Ohio
American Rivers celebrates the progress Cleveland has made in cleaning up the
Cuyahoga River, 50 years since the river’s famous fire that sparked the nation’s environmental movement.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
American Rivers believes every community in our country should have clean water and a healthy river. Since 1973, we have been protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers and conserving clean water for people and nature. With headquarters inWashington, D.C., and offices across the country, we are the most effective river conservation organization in the United States, delivering solutions that will last for generations to come. Connect with us at

NFA shores up inventory with domestic palay procurement of 1.26 million bags as of April 12

Workers at a National Food Authority Quezon City warehouse. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS
THE National Food Authority (NFA) said Tuesday that its purchases of palay, or unmilled rice, amounted to 593,123 bags during the month as of April 12, bringing its running total for the year to 1.26 million bags. Description: NFA rice warehouse
In a statement, the NFA, whose importing function was taken away by the Rice Tariffication Law, limiting it to the role of maintaining a buffer stock from domestic rice purchases, said including the last of its rice imports, the buffer stock now stands at 1.86 million bags.
“We are hoping that this will continue as we fulfill our mandated level of buffer stock. Our palay procurement activities will continue for as long as there are palay farmers willing to sell to us, to give them a fair price for their palay,” Tomas R. Escarez, NFA officer-in-charge administrator said in the statement.
Procurement operations in the month to April 12 in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro generated 93,699 bags, while Isabela province supplied 79,020 bags; Nueva Ecija 72,420; Bulacan 52,856 bags; Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro 31,907 bags. The NFA’s Northwestern Cagayan-Apayao (Allacapan) office procured 23,629; Tarlac province 19,484 bags; and North Cotabato 17,896 bags.
With the signing of the Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act 11203 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the NFA has been stepping up its domestic procurement to fulfill its mandate of maintaining the equivalent of 15-30 days of the country’s rice consumption.
The law was enacted after inflation spiked in 2018, in part due to the depletion of the NFA’s reserves. Poor families depend on subsidized NFA rice for access to the staple, and the lack of supply in NFA warehouses increased the pricing power of private dealers selling their grain at commercial rates.

“The IRR of the Rice tariffication Law or RA 11203 has been signed and the role of the NFA has been refocused to buffer stocking. Based on the IRR, the NFA must now adopt a policy of maintaining a buffer stock equivalent to 15-30 days of national rice consumption, sourced from local farmers only. To be able to meet that, we have to buy around 15M to 30M bags of palay,” Mr. Escarez said.
The NFA recently increased its palay procurement target for 2019 to 14.46 million bags from 7.78 million bags. On the average, it is currently buying 73,233 bags per day.
“More farmers are selling to NFA because we have increased our effective buying price. The NFA started implementing an additional P3.00 per kilogram Buffer Stocking Incentive (BSI) in October, in addition to the previous P0.20/kg drying, P0.20/kg delivery, and P0.30/kg Cooperative Development Incentive Fee, increasing the agency’s maximum buying price for palay from P17.40/kg for individual farmers and P17.70 for members of farmer cooperatives/organizations to P20.40/kg and P20.70 per kg, respectively,” he said.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the average farmgate price of palay continued to fall to P18.87 per kilogram (/kg) as of April 5 from P18.96/kg in March. There are some areas where the grain sells for as little as P14/kg.
The farmgate price has been trending downwards since the law started moving towards full implementation, with a liberalized import policy expected to bring in more cheap foreign rice to compete with domestic grain. Prices have also fallen despite widespread damage to the standing crop caused by the El Niño dry spell.
As of April 2, El Niño damage, mainly to the rice and corn crops, was P5.05 billion, on lost volume of 276,568 metric tons (MT). The dry spell has affected 177,743 hectares of agricultural land and 164,672 farmers. Damage to the rice crop accounted for P2.69 billion of the total and lost volume of 125,590 MT, affecting 111.851 hectares and 108,845 farmers. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang

Sri Lanka trade deficit falls in Jan, vehicle, gold imports down

Apr 17, 2019 13:53 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)



ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka's external trade balance fell to a 617 million US dollar deficit in January 2019 from a 1.05 billion US dollar deficit a year earlier amid higher exports and falling imports, official data showed.
Exports for January grew 7.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.04 billion rupees, while imports fell 17.8 percent to 1.66 billion US dollars, the central bank said.

January was the second consecutive month in which exports had exceeded 1 billion US dollars.

In industrial exports, earnings from textiles and garments grew 9.5 percent from a year earlier to 475.9 million US dollars in January.

"Textiles and garment exports increased as a result of high demand for garments from the EU and the USA as well as non-traditional markets such as India, Japan, Australia, China and Canada," the central bank said.

Rubber product exports grew 13.5 percent to 80.7 million US dollars.

Food, beverage and tobacco exports grew 10.2 percent to 53.1 million US dollars driven by higher tobacco exports.

Petroleum product exports fell 28.9 percent to 37.5 million US dollars.

"Export earnings from petroleum products declined significantly in January 2019 for the second consecutive month due to lower bunkering and aviation fuel exports driven by significantly lower bunkering quantity, reflecting the intense competition faced by Sri Lankan ports from regional ports mainly in India and Singapore."

Agricultural exports grew for the first time in 11 months due to higher seafood and coconut export growth.

Tea export earnings however fell 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 110.8 million US dollars despite higher volumes.

Meanwhile, imports fell for the third consecutive month, driven by policy measures of the central bank.

In consumer goods, food and beverage imports fell 39.5 percent to 111.2 million US dollars with higher availability of domestic rice, and falling demand for dairy and vegetable imports.

Personal vehicle imports fell 47.9 percent to 49.5 million US dollars, with the central bank imposing higher duties and margin requirements, which were only removed in April.

In intermediate goods, fuel imports fell 9.1 percent to 329 million US dollars. 

"Expenditure on fuel imports declined due to lower average import prices and lower volumes of crude oil and refined petroleum products despite a higher import volume of coal."

Gold imports were negligible, from 93.7 million US dollars a year earlier, as the central bank had imposed higher duties to curtail gold smuggling to India.

Fertilizer imports fell 91.2 percent to 3.7 million US dollars.

Investment goods meanwhile fell 8.8 percent to 398.5 million US dollars.

"Lower expenditure on commercial cabs and auto trishaws categorised under transport equipment, and iron and steel categorised under building material, mainly led to this decline," the central bank said.

The construction sector was experiencing a slowdown due to over 90 billion rupees in overdue payments from the government for infrastructure projects, which had squeezed liquidity of contractors. (Colombo/Apr17/2019)

Nigeria produces 90% of rice it consumes
Aanu Adegun
The minister of agriculture and rural development has claimed that Nigeria is producing 90 per cent of the rice it consumes - According to Ogbeh, support of the present administration triggered a visible shift to eating what Nigerians grow - Going further, the minister said Nigeria is now a major actor in agricultural exports to other African countries, Europe and American countries Chief Audu Ogbeh, the minister of agriculture and rural development on Tuesday, April 16, expressed satisfaction that Nigeria was now producing 90 per cent of the rice it consumed locally. Ogbeh disclosed this at the 2019 Annual Research Review and Planning meeting held at the newly commissioned Balarabe Tanimu Conference Hall at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Kaduna state. The theme of the meeting is: “Harnessing the Potential of Agricultural Export in Nigeria: The Role of Key Stakeholders”. READ ALSO: 3 policemen, 4 others sentenced to death for kidnapping Ogbeh, who was represented Dr Karima Babangida, the director, extension services of the ministry, said that the support of the present administration had triggered a visible shift “to eating what we grow rather than eating imported food’’. “One very good example that we see today is the locally home grown Nigerian rice, hitherto, Nigeria has been a major and largest importer of rice from Thailand and this implies largest importer in the world. “But today, we have been able to achieve a paradigm shift in the right direction and we are now producing 90 per cent of the rice we eat in the country, I think we should appreciate our farmers here. “Nigeria does not only have the capacity to feed itself, it also becomes a major actor in agricultural exports to other African countries, Europe and American countries, including the Far East, especially China,” he said. According to him, the same thing is happening in other sectors of the agric economy, with collective efforts of stakeholders, Nigeria will have a favourable balance of trade in food items. PAY ATTENTION: Install our latest app for Android, read best news on Nigeria’s #1 news app Meanwhile, had reported that Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and rural development, on Thursday, April 4, urged youth in the country to engage in farming before they make moves to seek for political positions. Minister Ogbeh reportedly said this in Abuja during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between two companies, the Nigeria Agricultural Mechanisation and Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL) and the MANTRAC Nigeria Limited. ( -> We have upgraded to serve you better. Unemployed graduates are too many in my ghetto | Legit TV. Source: TAGS: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIANANRICE FARMERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (RIFAN) HOT: UBI FRANKLIN BANKY W WEDDING DPR RECRUITMENT THE RICHEST FUJI MUSICIAN IN NIGERIA ANKARA GOWN WITH LACE Read more:

Ogbeh says Nigeria now produces 90% of rice it consumes

WorldStage Newsonline—-Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday expressed satisfaction that Nigeria was now producing 90 per cent of the rice it consumed locally.
Ogbeh disclosed this at the 2019 Annual Research Review and Planning meeting held at the newly commissioned Balarabe Tanimu Conference Hall at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Kaduna State.
The theme of the meeting is: “Harnessing the Potential of Agricultural Export in Nigeria: The Role of Key Stakeholders”.
Ogbeh, who was represented Dr Karima Babangida, the Director, Extension Services of the ministry said that the support of the present administration had triggered a visible shift “to eating what we grow rather than eating imported food’’.
“One very good example that we see today is the locally home grown Nigerian rice, hitherto, Nigeria has been a major and largest importer of rice from Thailand and this implies largest importer in the world.
“But today, we have been able to achieve a paradigm shift in the right direction and we are now producing 90 per cent of the rice we eat in the country, I think we should appreciate our farmers here.
“Nigeria does not only have the capacity to feed itself, it also becomes a major actor in agricultural exports to other African countries, Europe and American countries, including the Far East, especially China,” he said.
According to him, the same thing is happening in other sectors of the agric economy, with collective efforts of stakeholders, Nigeria will have a favourable balance of trade in food items.
Ogbeh stressed the need for all stakeholders, researchers, extension service providers, farmers groups, policy makers, development partners, input suppliers, agro-based NGOs among others must all synergise to continue to harness the enormous potential in the country.
He minister called for improved crop varieties, both arable and tree crops, livestock and fisheries, adding that it was the only way to improve comparative and competitive advantages and become self-sufficient in food and agricultural production.
“The National Agricultural Extension System also needs to strongly adopt best piracies in the cultivation of the various commodities to ensure high quality farm outputs that in turn determines the quality of the final product.
“The extension system has a critical role to play in ensuring famers’ adherence to processes that assure quality and traceable  of farm produce,” he said.

Customs arrests suspected smugglers, intercepts 3,270 bags of rice in Oyo, Osun

 Apr 16, 2019  National  484  By 
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Oyo/ Osun Area Command, on Tuesday said that it arrested no fewer than eight suspected smugglers arrested in connection with smuggling of some prohibited items into the country between January and March this year 
        The Customs Area Controller, Mr Abdullahi Argungu, made this disclosure while addressing a press conference at the command’s headquarters in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital He said the suspects were arrested by his men in different locations within the command’s area of coverage in the two states of Oyo and Osun Argungu insisted that the suspects who have been granted conditional bail would soon be charged to court after investigations have been concluded He said, “Eight (8) suspects were arrested and subsequently granted conditional bail and will soon be charged to court I must sincerely commend the dedication of my officers and cooperation of other units of service and the synergy enjoyed with other sister agencies Argungu further disclosed that the command between January and March, intercepted no fewer than three thousand, two hundred and seventy (3,270) 50kg bags of imported parboiled rice and seven hundred (700) 25 litres of kegs of vegetable oil, fifty bags of sugar, twenty bales of second-hand clothing and other contraband goods with duty laid value put at N105,728,974 66 He added that the command within three months generated the sum of N13,397,441,364 71 from excise duties in the first quarter of 2019 
        The Customs Area Controller said, “The command under my watch has continued to improve on its intelligence-driven strategy and has carried out series of operations at different locations within the command’s area of coverage, which has led to the following: One used ash colour Toyota Corolla with duty paid value put at three million, three thousand, six hundred and twenty eight naira (3,003,628 00) One used white colour Toyota Highlander with duty paid value put at (N4,072,713 00), One used black color Toyota Prado with duty paid value put at (12,112,448 00) One used black Peugeot 607 with duty paid value put at (1,253,056 00), three thousand, two hundred and seventy (50kg) bags of rice with duty paid value put at (49,634,676 00) Seven hundred (700) 25 litres of kegs of vegetable oil with duty paid value put at (N6, 828,344 44), fifty bags of sugar with duty paid value put at (00,977 00) Twenty bales of second hand clothing with duty paid value put at (N2,047,920 00), twenty nine means of conveyance with duty paid value put at (N25,975,212 22) The total duty paid value is put at (N105,728,974 66) In the area of revenue collection, the command collected the sum of thirteen billion, three hundred and ninety seven million, four hundred and forty one thousand, three hundred and sixty four naira and seventy one kobo (N13,397,441,364 71) from excise duties in the first quarter of 2019 Let me also inform you gentlemen of the press of the sentence of one Mr Bayo Mafo who was sentenced by the federal high court Ibadan to three years imprisonment for impersonating as a Customs officer and obtaining money under false pretences This is not serve as a warning to others who think they can continue to reap where they did not sow to desist from such illegalities

Arkansas declares war on cauliflower rice

Last month, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law truth-in-labeling legislation sexily titled—all-caps their’s—“AN ACT TO REQUIRE TRUTH IN LABELING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS THAT ARE EDIBLE BY HUMANS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.” (As for other purposes?) The stated goal of this law is to “protect consumers from being misled or confused by false or misleading labeling of agricultural products.” Much of the law focuses on meat and dairy products, and bars non-animal-derived versions of such foods from using terms like meat and milk. This is similar to legislation passed in at least five other states including Missouri, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Mississippi.
But the Arkansas law also protects the term rice. Why? Because the state’s rice farmers are concerned that consumers would be misled by products like cauliflower rice, which do not actually contain any grains of rice. Cauliflower rice is made by breaking down chunks of cauliflower into rice-sized kernels. But true rice is now defined in Arkansas as “the whole, broken, or ground kernels or by products obtained from the species Oryza sativa L. or Oryza glaberrima, or wild rice, which is obtained from one of the four species of grasses from the genus Zizania or Porteresia.” Sorry, cauliflower rice, you’re now considered mislabeled.
Arkansas Online reports the Arkansas Rice Federation and Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association both had input on this legislation, which will go into effect later this year. One of its sponsors, Rep. David Hillman, is a rice farmer and past chairman of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board. The law imposes a $1,000 fine for first-offense food mislabeling; funds raised by fines will be directed toward the Agriculture Department’s Plant Board Fund.
So now the follow-up question is: What to call the product formerly known in Arkansas as cauliflower rice? Cauliflower Ryce? CauliCrumblies? Fart-Smelling TinyBits? You’re on your own, Razorbacks.