USA Rice held its annual summer meeting in Dallas, Texas, July 6-9. At the meeting, representatives from all segments of the U.S. rice industry from various rice producing states converged to discuss issues and conduct business for the organization. Ag Council of Arkansas Executive Vice President, Andrew Grobmyer, attended the event, and multiple Ag Council leaders and members served as participants on various boards, committees and task forces that conducted business at the meeting. By all accounts, the gathering was a success as it helped prepare the organization for the future service of the U.S. rice industry.
More below from Michael Klein of USA Rice:
USA Rice Summer Meetings and Leadership Changes
IRVING, TX – USA Rice volunteer leaders on multiple task forces, committees, and boards gathered here for annual membership meetings, budget and policy discussions, and program reviews.
Despite triple digit temperatures outside and the stark realities of out-of-control input costs, trade cheats, and unrest in many top export markets, the meetings were productive and attendees charted a course ahead for the industry.
Outgoing USA Rice Chair Bobby Hanks (left) congratulates his successor Kirk Satterfield
“There’s no question these are unprecedented times our industry is facing,” said Bobby Hanks, USA Rice chair. “We’re fortunate that we have the right team and a deep bench; our staff and our volunteer leaders are as dedicated to seeing our industry through this as can be, and we’re optimistic that our message, that rice is not like other crops, is getting through to the policymakers in Washington.”
One member of the USA Rice team honored during the General Session on Thursday was Senior Director of Meetings & Membership Jeanette Davis who celebrated her 35th year with the organization – the longest currently serving staffer.
“We have great stability on our team which is a testament to our staff but also to our members who make working for them fulfilling and fun,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.
Jeanette Davis hitches a ride
on Richard Petter's combine
The USA Rice Political Action Committee raised more than $28,000 at several events during the meetings, and in response to the industry’s commitment to improving grain quality, the USA Rice Marketability & Competitiveness Task Force was made a full committee by the USA Rice Board of Directors on the recommendation of the USA Rice Millers’ Association. The new committee is co-chaired by Arkansas rice farmer David Petter and Texas miller Keith Gray.
Amidst the robust discussions of priorities and budgets it was impossible not to notice the availability of skilled industry leaders ready to step up for the industry as a whole, with several key leadership positions changing hands as terms come to an end on July 31, 2022.
The USA Rice Merchants Board of Directors elected Park Eldridge of Arkansas as chair, succeeding Ryan Carwell. Texas rice farmer Tim Gertson was elected to succeed David Petter as chair of The Rice Foundation, and Mississippi rice farmer Curtis Berry took over the reins at the USA Rice Farmers Board of Directors for the current chair, Mississippi rice farmer Kirk Satterfield, who was elected to succeed Hanks as chair of USA Rice.
Also, last month the USA Rice Millers Association elected Louisiana’s Meryl Kennedy-Farr to succeed Keith Glover as chair of that organization. Kennedy-Farr becomes the first woman and the youngest person ever to chair that organization in its 123-year history.
David Petter (left) hands over the reins of The Rice Foundation to Timothy Gertson