A group of seven Chinese rice buyers visited the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Dec. 12 as part of their tour through U.S. rice-growing areas.
During the visit, China and the U.S. reached a preliminary trade agreement that increases Chinese purchases of a wide range of agricultural products, including rice. A Chinese company bought 40 tons of U.S. rice earlier this year.
Don Groth, Rice Research Station resident coordinator, showed the group how genetic markers are being used to expedite breeding work to develop new varieties.
The group toured Supreme Rice Mill in Crowley and Farmers Rice Mill near Lake Charles, along with the Port of Lake Charles, where a ship was being loaded with rice for Iraq. They also sampled boiled crawfish cooked by farmer Fred Zaunbrecher.
Kane Webb, USA Rice field representative in Louisiana, said the tour has gone well. “It’s been very positive,” he said.
The Chinese delegates are interested in buying high-quality rice, but it’s uncertain when that might happen. “The label ‘Grown in the USA’ means high quality and an emphasis on food safety,” Webb said.
The group started the trip with a tour of rice industry facilities in Arkansas, and they ended their visit on Dec. 17 with meetings in California.