Rice Federation Officials Say Farmers are Key to Foreign Markets

JANUARY 24, 2007 - Posted at 3:40 p.m. CST

BRINKLEY, AR - Experts in the rice industry say it will take time for foreign markets to again embrace U.S.-produced rice because of concerns they have about genetically engineered foods.

At the annual meeting of the Arkansas Rice Producers' Group in Brinkley, representatives from the USA Rice Federation told farmers they cannot go back in time to before traces of Bayer CropScience's L-L-RICE-601 was found in U.S. long-grain rice.

Experts say the process could take years, but it will never happen if farmers don't get started.

The Arkansas Plant Board has banned planting Cheniere rice in 2007 and 2008 and required that all rice planted in the state this year be tested for traces of L-L-RICE-601.  Fields planted in Cheniere rice last year are to be planted this year with Clearfield rice or a crop other than rice.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)