Rice growers suffering from lack of trade action

A rice lobbying organization says the Biden administration’s lack of focus on trade is hurting US rice farmers.

Louisiana rice miller Bobby Hanks chairs the Trade Policy Committee for USA Rice. He tells Brownfield heavy subsidies in countries like India put US rice farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

“We’re having a hard time competing with them globally. We’re challenged in all the export markets that we’ve been traditionally exporting rice to, but we’re also threatened here in the United States. Imports are at an all-time high and it’s all a result of heavy subsidies in Asia that our farmers just can’t compete with.”

He says rice growers are prioritizing a World Trade Organization case against India in an effort to improve profitability for US rice producers.

“If we can get that going, if they can at least give that amount of focus as it relates to trade, then we feel like we at least get going in the right direction.”

Hanks says they also talked about the potential for new free trade agreements with countries like the United Kingdom during the USA Rice D.C. fly-in earlier this month.

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