More than two dozen Colombian farmers from Fedearroz, the Federation of Colombian Rice Farmers, traveled to Louisiana and Arkansas this week to learn about U.S. rice production.
The group got lessons on export logistics, freight forwarding, and barge loading from Russell Marine Group in New Orleans and Consolidated Grain and Barge in Memphis.
Dr. Steve Linscombe provided an overview of the Louisiana Rice Research Station at Louisiana State University, including current research trials, and showcased precision ag equipment located at the station. Randy Thibodeaux, a rice farmer in Crowley, was able to take a break from a busy harvest to show off his farm and storage capabilities.
In Arkansas, the Fedearroz delegation visited the University of Arkansas Rice Research Center in Stuttgart to learn about genetics and plant pathology, and at Windmill Rice Company in Jonesboro they were able to see milling and packaging of rice.
Yony José Álvarez, chairman of the board of Fedearroz, expressed his appreciation for everyone taking the time to show their group the entire rice industry chain. USA Rice helped arrange the meetings during the week but Fedearroz self-funded the trip.
Alberto Mejía, a rice farmer from Tolima, talked about the differences he saw between rice production in the U.S. and Colombia. “We came here to try to compare rice production in our country with the U.S. but it’s really hard to make the comparison when things are so different, such as the roads, infrastructure, machinery, and technology. We learned a lot on this trip.”