USA Rice Federation Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee Chairman Michael Rue and President and CEO Betsy Ward are in Japan this week at the invitation of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Partners in Agriculture" celebration commemorating the Foreign Agricultural Service cooperator program and the special agricultural relationship between the U.S. and Japan.

Ward and Rue attended the Global Food Security Symposium, where both Vilsack and Japanese Minister of Agriculture Hirotaka Akamatsu spoke and then participated in a roundtable discussion. Ward and Rue thanked Vilsack and his staff for their tremendous support of USA Rice's trade policy and promotion efforts in Japan. They also highlighted ongoing trade policy challenges in the key Asian rice markets, including Japan.

Japan is the second largest export market for U.S.-grown rice and is the No. 1 market for rice grown in California, taking an average of one quarter of the California rice crop each year.