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April 2024
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Congressional Staff Visit Rice Farmers in Mississippi Delta

CLEVELAND, MS – Last week, a group of Congressional staffers visited with rice farmers Joe and Michael Aguzzi and Kirk Satterfield, along with Mississippi State University Rice Extension Specialist Dr. Hunter Bowman at the Aguzzis’ farm.

The Aguzzis shared the history of their family’s rice farm and rice production in the Mississippi Delta, while Bowman talked about the agronomics of producing rice and the uniqueness of the crop.

Satterfield, who serves as chair of USA Rice and the Mississippi Rice Council, spoke to the record-high production costs and stagnant rice market prices rice farmers have faced over the last two years, which is why they needed and are currently receiving special assistance for the 2022 crop year. He also provided an overview of international trade and market issues that impact the U.S. rice industry, including the egregious actions of bad trade actors like India and the benefit that normalized trade with Cuba would offer for the industry.

With the 2023 Farm Bill on the horizon, Satterfield told the staffers that rice farmers need a strong farm safety net, and that means much-needed improvements to the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program by specifically increasing the rice PLC reference prices. He underscored that an adequate PLC program is critically important to U.S. rice farmers because it helps level the playing field for rice that is highly subsidized by our global competitors.

“I relish any opportunity to visit with Congressional staff, but I especially appreciated this group making the trek to the Mississippi Delta to see rice country in action and discuss issues our industry is facing,” said Satterfield. “We’re hopeful these staffers will return to Washington understanding the importance of our domestic rice industry and that they will help us tackle these pressing issues, particularly with Farm Bill reauthorization this year.”

Congressional staffers were led by Mississippi Farm Bureau’s Justin Ferguson and included Halee Fisher and Harlea Hoelscher of the House Agriculture Committee, and Semaj Martin-Redd (Rep. Trent Kelly, MS), Anna May (Rep. Michael Guest, MS), Murray Miller (Rep. Bruce Westerman, AR), and Blake Nolan (Rep. Mike Ezell, MS). QR Code

Published Date: June 6, 2023

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