Rice export deal with China to boost business for local farmers


After over a decade of negotiation, China has signed a historic agreement to provide market access for United States rice exports which could mean more business for local rice farmer in Crowley.

Even though the agreement was signed today, the export of U.S. rice to China could be several months away. According to Dustin Harrell with the LSU Ag Center, local millers and shippers to make sure they comply with the requirements of the agreement.

“The next step would be for Chinese inspectors to come down with USDA inspector’s and inspect and certify some of the Mills and shipping operations. And from that point we should gain access to that market,” said Harrell.

Local rice farmers are in the middle of harvest season. Fred Zaunbreacher, a fifth generation rice farmer let me join him as he harvested rice this afternoon and explained the importance of this new export deal.

Zaunbreacher said, “China is a huge market. They grow more rice than anyone in the world but they have more people than anyone else in the world. This will be the third year in a row that China has ranked second in rice imports, so it’s a very big market it’s one that we’ve never been able to get into until now and it’s one that we’re excited about.”

Food safety is a major issue for Chinese consumers. Polluted water has made some rice crops overseas unsafe to eat, but now with the United States exported rice, consumers will know that their food will be high quality and safe to eat.

This export agreement has been a long time coming but the local economy will soon see a boost from this new untapped market.



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