• U.S.-Grown Rice Earns New “Likes”

    by Colleen Klem | Nov 10, 2015
    What's not to like?
     DP- US Grown Rice Earns New Likes 151110

    ARLINGTON, VA -- Eight major grocery chains with more than 1,200 store locations in 23 states have used USA Rice messages and recipes to promote U.S.-grown rice to their customers this fall.  Overall, promotion activities by these stores earned USA Rice an additional 3.9 million impressions among consumers during September and October.

    “We were beyond thrilled to get such a positive response to our program this fall,” said Katie Maher, director, domestic promotion programs. “These numbers are especially impressive because USA Rice did not pay for any of the partnership activities. Each month we see growth in this program and expand to new stores and audiences.”

    USA Rice recipe cards were distributed through Big Y, Giant Eagle, Meijer’s, and Skogen’s Festival Foods to more than 1 million shoppers during September as a National Rice Month (NRM) promotion. As an extra effort, Meijer, Giant Eagle, Jewel Osco, Raley’s, and Big Y stores used Twitter and Facebook to link consumers to recipes and reached a combined 1.8 million viewers through social media.

    Redner’s featured rice in the September/October issue of their HealthCents newsletter. A full-page article titled “Reach for Rice” told readers how to select the best type of rice for their dish and passed along nutrition facts on each type along with a USA Rice recipe. The newsletter reaches more than 30,000 shoppers in-store and online.

    Dietitian blogs were also a popular tool with supermarkets. Jewel Osco posted information and graphics from USA Rice’s Healthy Rice Bowls materials to more than 150,000 readers. “Tasty and Healthy Options with Whole Grains” was the title of the blog post from Lowes Foods’ dietitian in October. The post featured USA Rice’s consumer infographic 10 Reasons to Eat Rice Grown in the USA. Raley’s Season Blog blog promoted the infographic and shared two recipes perfect for California shoppers looking for locally grown products.

  • Kroger Dietitians Enjoy Healthy Competition

    by Colleen Klem | Nov 04, 2015
    DP-Kroger Dietitians Enjoy Healthy Competition

    ARLINGTON, VA -- To celebrate National Rice Month (NRM) Kroger used its own employee pool to spread the word about U.S.-grown rice.  The supermarket chain, which has more than 2,500 stores in 34 states, encouraged staff to participate in a rice recipe contest.  Employees shared pictures of their plates with the hashtag #ricecreations through social media.

    “The NRM recipe contest was a fun, creative way to educate employees at stores throughout the country about the versatility and health benefits of rice,” said Katie Maher, USA Rice director of domestic promotion.  “Kroger has 80,000 employees and we reached them in a way that keeps rice top of mind when making recommendations to customers and of course, they are shoppers too.”

    Throughout NRM, Kroger’s corporate dietitian used social media to post cooking tips, USA Rice recipes, and nutrition facts about rice while promoting the contest through the company’s employee portal.  One post read, “When you eat US rice, you’re eating a sustainable grain! US rice farmers protect & preserve natural resources. Remember to post your #ricecreations photo for a chance to win $100 and a rice cooker.”

    More than 100 entries were received and the contest was so successful that the company extended the promotion for an additional two weeks.  Winners for the five best entries were awarded prizes of gift cards and rice cookers.

    “Encouraging families to cook with U.S.-grown rice is beneficial in every way, and our associates really enjoyed this messaging,” said a Kroger corporate dietitian.  “We saw creative dishes and the exchange of ideas through our internal social media platform.  All in all, this promotion was a success for everyone involved.” 

  • Rouses Proudly Supports America’s Rice Farmers

    by Deborah Willenborg | Sep 22, 2015
    DP-NRM Wrap-up Rouses-150918
    ARLINGTON, VA – During September National Rice Month (NRM), USA Rice is partnering with grocery store chain Rouses to inspire people to ‘think rice’ while shopping and planning meals.  Several customized NRM rice promotions are underway reaching shoppers with key U.S. rice messages before, during, and after their shopping experience at Rouses locations across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

    Rouses kicked off NRM with an in-store radio announcement touting America’s rice farmers and the benefits of U.S.-grown rice that played every thirty minutes in thirty-seven locations.  Store windows display a healthy eating poster with a prominent image of brown rice, and a full-page NRM advertisement is featured in the September/October issue of My Rouses Everyday, a publication available in stores and online.

    “Shoppers also have the opportunity to ‘think rice’ with Rouses’ Chef Nino by taking part in two in-store cooking classes in honor of NRM,” said Katie Maher, USA Rice director of domestic promotion.  “The cooking class menu features three U.S. rice recipes: USA Rice’s Curried Chicken Lime Rice Bowl, Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf, and Ginger Pork Stir-Fry.  Each recipe is also accompanied by a rice nutrition fact.”

    On September 8, Chef Nino made an appearance on This Morning New Orleans, a local TV segment reaching more than 3,000 viewers, where he called out NRM and cooked a recipe featuring U.S.-grown basmati rice.

    Rouses is also conducting NRM promotional activities online.  Earlier this month, a promotional e-mail entitled “Eat Local for Labor Day” was sent to more than 17,000 subscribers and highlighted U.S.-grown rice messaging and the NRM logo.  Rouses is planning at least four NRM focused social media posts this month and has already shared USA Rice’s recipes and new promotional video.  

    “Rouses is a great retail partner for U.S. rice and they are clearly demonstrating their commitment to supporting America’s rice farmers,” said Maher.  “Rouses even expanded on our planned NRM promotions, incorporating bonus activities at many locations. They are a strong advocate for our industry and we thank them for their support.”

  • USA Rice Staff Celebrate National Rice Month with Partner P.F. Chang’s

    by Deborah Willenborg | Sep 15, 2015
    U.S. rice -- the feel good food
    ARLINGTON, VA – Usually USA Rice’s Virginia staff celebrates September National Rice Month with an office cook-off and luncheon.  Family rice recipes square off against professional recipes selected from the USA Rice archives, and there are always a few rice desserts.  But this year, with the new RiceGiving program in full swing, the staff decided to go out to lunch to support rice’s newest partner.

    The staff descended on a neighborhood P.F. Chang’s, the upscale Asian-inspired eatery that is promoting America’s rice farmers with the RiceGiving program.  For every rice entrée ordered by customers during September, participating USA Rice members will donate a serving of rice to a family in need through the nationwide charitable organization, Feeding America.

    “We did our part today,” said Katie Maher, USA Rice’s director of domestic promotion who organized the lunch.  “Most of us wore our Think Rice t-shirts and we ordered so many rice dishes there was barely room on the table!”

    Maher said at the halfway point in the program she’s confident P.F. Chang’s customers will max out the rice industry pledge of up to one million servings for Feeding America.

    “We were very excited that P.F. Chang’s partnered with us to let consumers know that all their rice is sustainably sourced from U.S. farmers, is gluten and GMO free, and a great source of important vitamins and minerals,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice president & CEO who attended the lunch.  “Today’s lunch was an opportunity for our staff to celebrate the rice industry and we couldn’t have done it with a better partner than P.F. Chang’s.”
  • National Rice Month Spotlight: PF Chang's Participates in RiceGiving

    by Colleen Klem | Aug 27, 2015

    DP- NRM Spotlight PF Changs Participates in Rice Giving 2 150827
    Second in a series of three articles this week highlighting upcoming 
    USA Rice National Rice Month promotions

    ARLINGTON, VA – Consumers across the country have another reason to be excited about National Rice Month – they can have their rice and give it too.  New this year, USA Rice is partnering with P.F. Chang’s, a major user of U.S.-grown rice, to raise awareness about rice grown in the USA and to help those in need.

    All month long, P.F. Chang’s and USA Rice will partner to present RiceGiving —a new program that will donate a serving of U.S.-grown rice to a local food pantry for every rice entrée ordered by P.F. Chang’s guests.  Created by USA Rice and leveraging the national food bank network of Feeding America, the RiceGiving program is expected to donate as much as 100,000 pounds of U.S. rice – that’s one million servings!

    “This program is a great way to raise awareness – both that a majority of the rice people eat in this country is grown by American farmers, and that the U.S. rice community is sensitive to hunger issues in America.” said John Hasbrook, USA Rice Foodservice Subcommittee chairman.  “RiceGiving can make people feel good about their food decisions – when they choose U.S. rice, they are not only helping America’s family rice farmers, they are helping provide that warm, nutritious meal to someone in need.”

    P.F. Chang’s will promote the RiceGiving program to their patrons both in their 210 restaurants, and online to their nearly one million social media followers and newsletter subscribers.  They will also use a dedicated webpage to explain RiceGiving, featuring a two minute video provided by USA Rice.

    “We are honored to invite our guests to join in this important cause by dining to donate,” said Michael Osanloo, Chief Executive Officer of P.F. Chang’s. “Thanks to our loyal customers, we will be able to help put food on the table for many American families.” 

    Betsy Ward, USA Rice President and CEO, is also enthusiastic about the program: "We cannot imagine a better restaurant partner for National Rice Month than P.F. Chang's. Already committed to great food and the highest quality rice, P.F. Chang's is also demonstrating its commitment to America's family rice farmers. We look forward to working together to support these farmers and those in need through our RiceGiving program." 

  • National Rice Month Promotional Items Now Available

    by Colleen Klem | Aug 05, 2015
    Open for business
    NRM Store 2 

    ARLINGTON, VA -- With National Rice Month (NRM) quickly approaching, USA Rice has stocked up on an assortment of exclusive promotional items. Items can be purchased online or by filling out an order form and sending it to USA Rice.

    This year is the 25th anniversary of National Rice Month, and USA Rice will debut several new specialty items to commemorate the occasion.

    Items available for purchase include: t-shirts, sunglasses holders, koozies, aprons, colored pencils, measuring cups, shopping totes, and more. All of the NRM items will feature either the 25th National Rice Month Anniversary logo or the Think Rice logo, which was recently unveiled as the new face of USA Rice consumer marketing initiatives.

    "These promotional items serve as a great platform to promote U.S.-grown rice during National Rice Month," said Katie Maher, USA Rice's manager of domestic promotion. "This branded merchandise generates public awareness for the rice industry and keeps rice on people's minds, and hopefully, on their plates.

    With strong support from rice producers and millers, NRM has grown into an established national promotion educating consumers about the benefits of U.S.-grown rice and boosting U.S. rice sales nationwide.

  • Have a Rice Summer -- Plan a Promotion to Earn Scholarship Money

    by User Not Found | Jul 20, 2015
    USA Rice encourages high school seniors throughout rice country to invest some vacation time in planning an innovative promotion campaign for September, National Rice Month.  Three scholarship prizes, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, totaling $8,500 are available.  The grand prize is a $4,000 scholarship and a trip to the 2015 USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the scholarship presentation.  The second-place winner will receive $3,000 and third-place, $1,500.
    High school graduating students in the 2015-16 school year that live in rice-growing states -- Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas -- can qualify to enter by conducting a promotion campaign in their local communities during September with U.S.-grown rice as the central theme.   Entries are due October 15.
    For more information about the scholarship, visit the contest web page.
  • USA Rice Unveils New National Rice Month Logo

    by Colleen Klem | Jun 04, 2015
    ARLINGTON, VA -- This September, the U.S. rice industry celebrates the 25th anniversary of National Rice Month (NRM).  To commemorate the occasion, USA Rice has developed a special edition 25th anniversary logo inspired by the new Think Rice logos.

    USA Rice will feature the logo in various NRM awareness campaigns this September, including: customized activities with supermarket registered dietitian at select retail chains, and on premium promotional items, which will be available for purchase later this month.  

    "September is a time to celebrate the rice harvest and recognize the contribution of the U.S. rice industry to America's economy," said Katie Maher, USA Rice manager of domestic promotion programs.  "This exciting new logo will help draw attention to our activities and blend seamlessly into our year round promotion programs." 

    Over the past 25 years, with strong support from rice producers and millers, NRM has grown into a well-known national promotion, educating consumers about the U.S. rice industry and supporting U.S. rice sales nationwide. 

    Maher said USA Rice will make the new logo available for use by all entities promoting U.S. grown rice leading up to and during National Rice Month.

  • USA Rice, Dow AgroSciences Team Up on National Rice Month Scholarships; $8,500 in Awards Available

    by Colleen Klem | May 21, 2015
    2014 Grand Prize Winner Nicholas Schafer
     Nicholas Schafer
    INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Dow AgroSciences continues its commitment to the agriculture industry by sponsoring the USA Rice Federation National Rice Month Scholarship Program, expanding the opportunity from students in U.S.-rice producing counties to students in all U.S. rice-producing states.

    High school graduates in the 2015-16 school year are encouraged to apply for scholarships totaling $8,500. To apply, students must create a promotional program that highlights U.S.-grown rice for National Rice Month in September. Applicants can submit a synopsis of their promotion in a variety of ways, including in video format, which will be accepted this year for the first time. 

    The scholarship program is now open to students who live in any county in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Three scholarships will be awarded based on the originality and effectiveness of the winning entries. 

    "We are thrilled Dow AgroSciences is supporting this scholarship program for the sixth year in a row and opening up the opportunity to all youth in rice-producing states," says Darla Huff, rice product manager, Dow AgroSciences. "Supporting our youth and educating the public about agriculture is integral to the success of the rice industry." 

    Because the scholarship emphasizes education, the students' efforts also help build awareness of the valuable contributions the rice industry makes to this country's economy, Huff says. 

    Nicholas Schafer, a high school senior from Carlisle, Arkansas, was the grand-prize scholarship winner in 2014 for his promotion titled "Do you Know Where Your Rice Comes From?" The promotion educated children from his community about the origin of their food and the intricacies of farming. 

    "They need to understand all the hard work put into growing rice," Schafer says. "It's not just something you get from a grocery store. There's a lot behind it, and they need to understand the importance of where it comes from." 

    Promotions must be executed in September, and applications must be submitted by Oct. 15, 2015. Scholarship forms and additional guidelines are available at the USA Rice Federation website. 

    "The USA Rice Federation is proud to once again partner with Dow AgroSciences, which funds these three scholarship awards, to support the rice industry and education of our youth," says Betsy Ward, president and CEO of the USA Rice Federation. "Students who participate do an excellent job promoting the importance of U.S.-grown rice and its role in their home states." 

    The grand-prize winner will receive a $4,000 scholarship and a trip with a chaperone this December to the award ceremony at the 2015 USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans. The second-place winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship, and the third-place winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship.