• USDA Estimates Rice Acreage Down 17 Percent

    by Michael Klein | Mar 31, 2017

    Can you check again?
    COMM-USDA Estimates Rice Acreage Down 17 Percent-170331

    WASHINGTON, DC - Area planted for rice in 2017 is expected to total 2.62 million acres, 524,000 less than in 2016, and back at the level planted in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service's Prospective Plantings report released today.  Planted acreage is forecast significantly lower for four of the six major rice-producing states with California almost unchanged at 539,000 acres and Louisiana down just eight percent to 400,000 acres.  Mississippi, which saw the largest percentage increase in 2016 (47 percent), will see the largest percentage decrease this year, down 38 percent to 120,000 acres.

    Long-grain, representing 73 percent of the total rice acreage, is expected to be 533,000 acres less than last year, with 360,000 of those acres being lost in Arkansas, the top rice producing state.  Medium-grain, now 25 percent of the total rice acreage, is projected to be up 1,000 acres to 666,000 - 72 percent of which is in California.  Area planted for all short-grain varieties, representing just two percent of production, is anticipated to be up 19 percent from last year's total.

    USA Rice Farmers Chairman and Missouri farmer Blake Gerard said, "With weak prices and uncertainty in our overseas markets, this dip in planting intentions is not very surprising. Here in Missouri, planting intentions are still somewhat in flux, but very soon the market and weather conditions are going to help solidify our decisions for the coming year."

    The USDA report is based on information supplied to USDA by growers, and though generally accurate within 5 percent, actual planted acres could vary.  The Rice Acreage Report, based on actual planted acres, will be published at the end of June.

  • California Rice Country: In the Board Room and On the Farm

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 13, 2017
    On the Van Dyke farm with Connie Jerome
    and Greg Van Dyke
    SACRAMENTO, CA -- Last week USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward visited California rice country to attend the March Board of Directors meeting of the California Rice Commission (CRC).  “The CRC is a key member of USA Rice and supports our programs both financially and with the active members who populate our boards and committees,” said Ward.  “It was great to speak to the CRC Board about developments in Washington and to thank them for all their support for USA Rice.”

    CRC manages an impressive program for the California rice industry and that was demonstrated by the scope of topics addressed at the board meeting including farm policy, international trade policy and promotion, regulatory and food safety issues, and CRC’s effective communications outreach to multiple target audiences both in California and around the globe.

    In addition to attending the CRC event, Ward traveled to Pleasant Grove to visit the Van Dyke Ranch, a vertically integrated company that includes Van Dyke’s Rice Dryer and VA Farms Inc.   Greg Van Dyke, a recent graduate of the Rice Leadership Development Program, led the tour and explained the history of the Van Dyke family operations in the region that stretches back to 1898.

    “I appreciate the hospitality of Greg and his family, and always enjoy getting out to see rice facilities first hand,” said Ward.
  • California Rice Research and Industry on Display

    by Colleen Klem | Sep 06, 2016
    Getting the lay of the land (Photo credit: Jim Morris)
     MS- CA Field Day

    BIGGS, CA – The University of California Rice Experiment Station held its annual field day here last week and USA Rice was on hand to participate.  President and CEO Betsy Ward and Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely toured the grower-funded research plots and heard from the University’s researchers who are working to further improve upon California’s high quality/high yielding varieties. It was a great opportunity to visit with hundreds of growers, researchers, industry advocates, and partners on a fine summer day in Biggs.

    The California Rice Commissions’ Executive Committee also met with Ward and Mosely to review policy and program alignment plans for the coming year and to discuss the importance of coordinated approaches on trade, communications, and farm policy. 

    In addition, The Sun Valley Rice Company in Arbuckle hosted a roundtable meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Darci Vetter and California rice industry leaders to discuss pending trade deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).  The California visit wrapped up with a trip to the rice farming operations of USA Rice Council Chair Sean Doherty in Dunnigan. 

    “I’m pleased we were able to participate in another excellent California field day,” said Ward.  “Dr. Kent McKenzie always puts on an impressive show, and I think he would agree that the grower funds are essential to the success in developing new rice varieties. It was good to have Ambassador Vetter on hand to see the care and precision that goes into growing the high quality California crop each year.”

    The California rice crop is proceeding well and acreage is back up to 560,000 – a 33 percent increase over what was planted last year.  Farmers are beginning to harvest this week and expect to be finished by mid-October.

  • In Memory: Wendell Lundberg

    by Michael Klein | Jun 17, 2016
    Wendell Lundberg
     Wendell Lundberg

    USA Rice extends condolences to the family and friends of Wendell J. Lundberg, the second eldest of four brothers who built Lundberg Family Farms, a national leader in organic rice and whole grain products.  He died on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at Enloe Hospital in Chico, CA. He was 85 years old.

    Wendell J. Lundberg was born August 17, 1930 in Holdridge, Nebraska to Albert and Frances Lundberg. In 1937, Wendell and brothers Eldon, Homer, and Harlan moved with their parents to Richvale, California.

    After graduating from Biggs High School in 1948, Wendell attended UC Davis, where he completed a two-year course in agronomy. At Davis he was a founding member of the Cal-Aggie Flying Farmers Club, learning to fly at age 19 and igniting a passion for aviation that persisted throughout his life and resulting in thousands of hours at the controls. Wendell transferred to Chico State College in 1950 and earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial arts and a teaching credential in 1953. After graduation, Wendell traveled to Australia to manage a rice experiment in Darwin, Northern Territory. This began a lifelong love of world travel that took Wendell to Africa, Europe, and South America, among other destinations. He returned to Richvale in 1955 to farm rice with his father and brothers.

    In 1969, Wendell and his three brothers built a small rice mill in Richvale and started milling the rice they grew on their farm. They also launched a catfish hatchery, which Wendell managed. Wendell and his brothers went on to become the first farmers in America to successfully grow and market organic rice. Passionate about organic and eco-positive farming practices, Wendell and his brothers sought to honor their parent’s mission to produce wholesome, healthful rice products while protecting and improving the environment for future generations.

    Wendell met his future wife, Carolyn Osborn in 1968. They married three years later and together raised three children, Jessica, Joe, and Alysicia Lundberg. Married for more than 45 years, Wendell and Carolyn Lundberg were also proud grandparents to four grandchildren, Rebecca, Alexandrea, Ivan, and Maxine.

    In 1974, Wendell joined ten other local businessmen to found TriCounties Bank, which eventually grew to 62 branches in 23 California counties. Wendell served as a director of the bank until his retirement from the Board in 2007, continuing service as a Director Emeritus.

    n addition to being a committed husband, father, grandfather, leading employer, and driver of the local economy, Wendell Lundberg was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Science degree for his longtime commitment to CSU, Chico in 2013.

    Passionate about education and investing in the minds of the next agricultural generation, Wendell served on advisory boards of the University including the College of Agriculture and the education department. A man of many hats, this prestigious degree also recognized Wendell’s commitment to service beyond the University, which included serving as a director of the Butte County Rice Growers Association, director of Trico Bancshares, member of the California Rice Industry Committee, director of North State Crime Stoppers, president of the Chico Chapter Experimental Aircraft Association, and elder of the Chico Evangelical Free Church.

    Wendell J. Lundberg is survived by his wife, their three children, four grandchildren, brother Homer and many nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

    A viewing will be available at Newton Bracewell in Chico, Friday, June 24
    th, 4pm – 8pm. The memorial service will be at the Chico Evangelical Free Church on Saturday, June 25th at 3pm, with a reception immediately following.

  • Field Report: California

    by Colleen Klem | May 27, 2016

    WHEATLAND, CA -- Like many rice growers in northern California and across the mid-South, Michael Bosworth has spent the last couple weeks flooding his rice fields and finishing up planting.  And like fellow rice growers, Bosworth employs strategic conservation practices during this crucial stage of rice production in an effort to use resources responsibly and deliver the strongest crop for consumers.   

    "We use precision technology to help us grow quality crops while using minimal resources," said Bosworth.  "We utilize yield mapping and fertilizer prescriptions in order to put just the right amount of fertilizer on every acre, which protects against over-fertilizing and ensures we have a more even crop.  We also utilize GPS drag scrapers on all of our farm acres to use less water and also have a more uniform water depth across the field."

    So far, these practices are paying off and things are looking good on Bosworth's farm.  He finished planting the last of his rice earlier this week and will start ground spraying herbicide application next week to help the rice crop outcompete the surrounding weeds.  After that he will begin preparing his farm equipment for harvest the first week of September. 

    Bosworth shares the stages of rice production on his social media channels with explanations of his sustainability practices to help consumers visualize and understand the process their rice goes through before ending up on their dinner tables.  “We have to be mindful of the public. There are other people you talk to that aren’t farmers and don’t know the steps we take to engage in sustainable practices while still delivering a quality crop.  I think it can be a very impactful message.”     

    Bosworth raises organic and traditional rice, walnuts, and cattle. He also serves as USA Rice’s California social media ambassador, helping to tell the story of rice to using the hashtag #thinkrice.  

    Loading crop duster with Calrose rice seed

  • California Calrose Wins “World’s Best Rice”

    by Deborah Willenborg | Nov 03, 2015
    King of the world
    KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA -- Last week, hundreds of delegates from more than 30 countries gathered here for the 7th Annual TRT World Rice Conference, where it was announced that California Calrose rice was the recipient of the highly-coveted “World’s Best Rice” award.

    A panel of culinary experts and prominent international chefs chose Calrose rice as the “World’s Best Rice” from an assortment of 25 entries submitted by delegates across the globe.  California Calrose beat out Cambodia/Thai Fragment Jasmine rice, the reigning “World’s Best Rice” winner for the past three years.

    Jeremy Zwinger, chairman and host of the conference, presented the award to Greg Van Dyke, a producer from Pleasant Grove, California, and member of the California Rice Commission.

    "I'm deeply humbled and honored to receive this historic award on behalf of the California rice industry, home of world renowned Calrose Premium Rice,” said Van Dyke.  “For more than a century, multi-generational California rice farmers have self-funded cutting edge research in natural line, non-GMO, premium japonica varietal development.  As a fifth generation California farmer, I am insanely proud to grow Calrose Premium Rice...the best rice in the world!"
  • USA Rice Continues Rice Industry Visits, Participates in Annual Field Day

    by Colleen Klem | Aug 27, 2015
    Lundberg Family Farms CEO Grant Lundberg (l) and Dow Brantley
    GA- USA Rice Continues CA Rice Industry Visit Edited 

    BIGGS, CA - Yesterday, USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley continued his California rice industry visit at the California Rice Experiment Station's annual field day held here. Brantley and USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward provided educational resources for attendees on behalf of USA Rice and visited the wide range of rice test plots throughout the station.

    Following the field day, Brantley met with Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Foods in Richvale, California to discuss relevant industry issues and to tour the processing facilities and company headquarters.

    The California visit wrapped up with a trip to the rice farming operations of USA Rice Council Chair Sean Doherty in Dunnigan, and USA Rice Farmers Conservation Committee Chair Leo LaGrande in Williams.

    "I'm pleased we were able to participate in a California field day again and that our chairman was able to take time away from his operations in Arkansas to visit with California leaders," said Ward. "It's that grower-to-grower contact across a wide geography that strengthens our industry and is, I believe, one of the primary functions of USA Rice."

    Brantley thought the time away from his farm was well spent. "I was able to meet with members from every sector of the industry out here - farmers, millers, merchants, and spend time with the chairman of the USA Rice Council. It was eye-opening to see the California operations - to see what they are doing differently than us in the south and hear first hand about the sometimes unique challenges they are facing here. I was happy to share insights into what we are doing and dealing with in the south, and Betsy and I will take back what we learned here. It's a win-win for us all." 

  • California Rice Industry Hosts USA Rice Leaders

    by Colleen Klem | Aug 26, 2015
    USA Rice's Betsy Ward
     GA-CA Rice Industry Hosts USA Rice, BW at podium-150826

    SACRAMENTO, CA – This week, USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley traveled to California to meet with members of the rice industry and attend the annual California Rice Experiment Station Field Day in Biggs.

    In addition to the field day, Brantley and USA Rice President & CEO, Betsy Ward attended the 8th annual The Rice Trader (TRT) Americas Conference held in Sacramento yesterday.  Ward joined California Rice Commission (CRC) CEO Tim Johnson and President of the Northern California Water Association David Guy as panelists on the “Politics, Water, Rice and the Future” panel during the general session. Ward provided an overview of USA Rice’s activities and mission, particularly updates on international promotions for several export markets, farm policy and conservation efforts, and changes to the USA Rice communication resources.

    Following the panel, Brantley and Ward, along with the CRC Executive Committee and CRC Committee Chairs, provided updates relative to the California rice industry, specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the China phytosanitary protocol.

    Brantley, a rice farmer from Arkansas, shared his enthusiasm for this trip, saying “it’s really been a privilege to learn about the California rice industry firsthand while I’ve been in the state.”  He added “knowing that many challenges California faces are shared by their colleagues in the south will only strengthen and further unify the U.S. rice industry.” 

  • California Rice Commission Secures State-Specific RCPP Funding

    by Temp 2 Temp 2 | Jan 14, 2015
    SACRAMENTO, CA - In a separate conservation proposal, the California Rice Commission (CRC) received an RCPP grant of $7 million. This program will support many of the same practices offered by the highly successful Waterbird Habitat Enhancement Program and efforts to develop a viable nesting cover crop system for idled ricelands.
    "Having these additional resources should provide a big boost to our industry's longstanding wildlife conservation efforts," said Paul Buttner, Manager of Environmental Affairs for the CRC. "California ricelands provide habitat to nearly 230 wildlife species - millions of birds that fly along the Pacific Flyway, and the value of winter waterfowl habitat in California Rice is estimated at $2 billion."
    Contact: Deborah Willenborg (703) 236-1444