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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.

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