Rice: California Farmer Elected New USA Rice Chairman

Charley Mathews (left), new USA Rice chairman, with Brian King, former USA Rice chairman.

New chairmen for USA Rice and The Rice Foundation were elected by their respective Boards of Directors during annual meetings on July 13.  

Charley Mathews, Jr., USA Rice’s new chairman and a rice farmer from Marysville, California, will assume the two-year post on August 1, taking over for Brian King, a rice merchant, who has been chairman of the group since 2016.

“Charley is going to make a great chairman,” King said.  “He is well versed in U.S. rice industry issues going from the field to the board room having served in leadership positions as chairman of both The Rice Foundation and the USA Rice Council.”

Mathews is a third generation rice farmer who has served on numerous USA Rice committees, including Sustainability, International Promotion, and the Crop Insurance Task Force.  Mathews is an alumni of the Rice Leadership Development Program, as is King, and past chairman of the California Rice Commission.

“Brian King guided us through some challenging times and presided over countless meetings, including some with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Senators and House Members from all over the country, representing the U.S. rice industry,” said Mathews.  “He has made trips to major, and potential major, markets including Colombia, Mexico, and China, and we appreciate the time sacrifice he has made on behalf of U.S. rice.”

“This is a difficult time for the American rice industry as we navigate the current uncertainty around trade and stay on top of the ongoing Farm Bill negotiations that are so crucial to our growers,” said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice.  “I look forward to working with Chairman-elect Mathews as we tackle these issues on behalf of the entire U.S. industry.”

Frank Carey was elected chairman of The Rice Foundation.  Carey, with Valent LLC, a crop protection firm, replaces Mathews, who served as chairman of The Rice Foundation for two years.

“The breadth of work The Rice Foundation has been responsible for is astounding,” said Mathews.  “Foundation-funded projects like a multi-state water management study, a breeding project for jasmine-type aromatic rice varieties in the U.S., and conservation work estimating biological and economic contributions that rice habitats make to North American waterfowl populations, have exceeded expectations.  The Foundation and the industry are in good hands with Frank, and I know he’ll continue to identify more projects with far-reaching industry benefits.”

The Rice Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, which serves as the research and education program arm for the rice industry.


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