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Hurricane Gustav makes its mark on the 2008 rice crop

The USA Rice Federation is currently assessing the damage from Hurricane Gustav in south Louisiana and southeast Texas, and is monitoring storm-related weather patterns very closely in the rice-growing regions of northeast Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri.

Discussions with federation members have revealed that south Louisiana concerns are for loss of electrical power in some areas and structural damage, which could affect warehouse and bin-stored rice. The availability of power is important for proper rice storage, drying and milling processes.

The USA Rice Federation will be monitoring storm and flood damage from the Labor Day landfall of Gustav and subsequent heavy rains and winds.

“The concern now is for the impact of heavy rains and wind on the rice crop and infrastructure in our rice-producing states,” President and CEO Betsy Ward said. “But we are grateful there was not more extensive damage from this storm in south Louisiana and we hope that further damage in other states will be kept to a minimum.”

Rice fields are in various stages of harvest throughout Louisiana and Texas, with the harvest nearly completed in the southern part of Louisiana. Rice harvesting is just beginning in Mississippi and Arkansas and has not yet started in Missouri.

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