Rice grower leader on extended direct payments

The rice industry is pleased that direct payments are still available with the extension this year of the 2008 farm bill.

Texas rice grower Linda Ruan, who is chair of the USA Rice producers group (of the USA Rice Federation), says yield is consistent for rice growers because all rice crops are irrigated – therefore, their risk is in price and cost of production.

She tells Brownfield Ag News, “In order to get financed we need some sort of safety net that will – and what we wanted was a counter-cyclical safety net that would not pay anything if prices state up but if prices went down it would trigger – similar to the current counter-cyclical program – it would trigger and give us a payment but only if prices went down.”

And that’s what they liked about the farm bill passed by the House Ag Committee – being able to choose that over revenue protection. The Senate passed farm bill only offer the revenue choice.

Ruan says they are pleased Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi is the new ranking chair of the Senate Ag Committee, replacing Pat Roberts of Kansas because she says Cochran understands rice and similar southern crops. 

“You know, Senator Roberts, we had worked with him for years, also. But, I think that working with Senator Cochran is going to be, hopefully something that will help move this farm bill forward.”

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