|Arkansas Rice Growers
Annual Meeting Votes to Reject "Pharma Rice"
Greg Massa, http://www.usriceproducers.com
This is from The Rice Advocate, a publication of US
Rice Producers Association. This vote was in response
to Ventria Bioscience leaving California and relocating
to Missouri, where they hope to plant their drug-producing
rice this year. We here in CA have offered our assistance
to both Missouri and Arkansas farmers as they continue
the fight against Ventria.
The annual meeting of the Arkansas Rice Growers Association,
held Tuesday evening in Brinkley, passed two resolutions
dealing with issues of concern to rice farmers. First,
the membership agreed to promote stronger enforcement
of food safety laws, specifically pesticide, herbicide
and fungicide residual levels in imported rice. Jerry
Lee Bogard, of Midland Grain in Stuttgart, spoke to
the 200 assembled farmers about the need to encourage
the federal government to enforce current regulations
and ensure the safety of imported food. With 14% of
the domestic use of rice filled by imports, Mr. Bogard
also encouraged a change in direction for the rice research
community, who should be focusing on developing varieties
of aromatic rice to compete with imports. Secondly,
the membership approved legislative efforts to ban the
production of pharmaceutical or industrial rice in Arkansas.
Because of the imminent threat that "pharma"
rice will be planted in the Missouri Bootheel this spring,
the potential for domestic and export market disruption
from even a small acreage of rice containing human genes
is extremely serious, according to Greg Yielding, Executive
Director of ARGA.