Funding rice research will better position the industry to stay ahead of the curve, and with funding from state and federal entities threatened by today’s federal budget environment, the U.S. rice industry must make it a priority to adequately fund much needed rice research.  New and innovative research is costly, but the challenges facing the industry, natural or regulatory, are increasing.  Each of the six rice-producing states conducts research in rice breeding, soil and water management, and weed and insect control, among other work.   Their efforts have been largely responsible for boosting rice yields significantly in the past 20 years.

Whether it involves developing new rice varieties, or sustainable on-farm practices, rice research starts at the production level.  Rice’s cost of production is high.  Therefore, farmers cannot be successful if they do not have the fundamentals afforded by the rice research boards to produce a high-yield crop that can compete in the global marketplace. 

Congressional approval and passage of the U.S.-Colombia FTA this year is essential if the United States expects to achieve the goals set out by the president in the National Export Initiative of doubling exports and creating 2 million new U.S. jobs in five years.  Furthermore, the Canada-Colombia trade agreement is expected to enter into force this year, as is Colombia’s agreement with the European Union.  The United States can no longer afford to be left behind.