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Part II: The challenges we face

In Part 1, the newly appointed President/CEO of the USA Rice Federation explained the three challenges facing the rice industry.

Shortly after answering the Search Committee's question about the challenges facing the industry, I remarked that hiring me meant accepting my overall management system. I went on to describe my system for working with members to identify a specific mission statement and goals to be undertaken, and then to develop activities and programs which – when successfully conducted – will accomplish the goals.

We are now implementing this system. After working with USA Rice leadership, a mission statement and goals were approved by the Executive Committee. (See Below) This document will be presented for approval to the board of directors at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in December.

Obtaining industry recognition and support for these goals will help us achieve greater industry unity. If we keep our eye on the ball, and focus on goals that are for the benefit of the entire rice industry, we will eliminate much of the disagreement that exists in some areas of the industry today.

For example, more specifically defining the domestic and international promotion goals will help resolve questions pertaining to marketing programs for retail or foodservice, promoting long grain or medium grain rice, and promoting rice in Europe or Asia.

Successfully operating a trade association as dynamic as the USA Rice Federation is not an easy task for members or staff. Reaching a consensus is often difficult even in associations with a more homogeneous membership. In the Federation, it is especially challenging because we represent producers (sellers), millers (buyers), exporters, a foundation, and a political action committee from different geographic regions handling different varieties of rice.

Arriving at a consensus on policy or program discussions is easier if the leadership is open-minded and considers what is good for the entire industry. Or, can we be more creative in applying what is good for the industry to an individual producer or company? The real benefit of a fully implemented goals process is that it forces members with diverse backgrounds to define and agree on what is good for everyone. Once this is decided, designing activities can be accomplished in a more strategic and focused manner.

Also, more clearly defining member goals and challenges will help the rice industry realize that we must maximize the use of all of our resources successfully to achieve the goals.


USA Rice Federation is the national advocate for all segments of the rice industry, conducting activities to influence government programs, developing and initiating programs to increase worldwide demand, and providing other services to increase industry profitability.


  1. Maintain its position as the national leader in developing and influencing the implementation of farm and regulatory policy that is favorable to the growth and profitability of the U.S. rice industry.
  2. Gain meaningful market access in key international markets for all forms and types of rice.
  3. Conduct overseas marketing programs and food aid activities to increase exports of all forms and types of rice.
  4. Increase domestic consumption (excluding imports) to 30 pounds per capita by 2004.
  5. Develop and administer an effective public relations program designed to influence and inform members, non-members, government officials, consumers and the media.
  6. Represent (in the current structure or as modified) all producer states and all industry segments by gaining new members and strengthening the commitment of the current member base.
  7. Conduct education and information programs to help enhance member profitability.
  8. Serve the needs of the rice consumer, balancing the benefits of new technologies with the right of the consumer to choose the appropriate product.
  9. Manage and operate the Federation in an efficient and effective manner.

Stuart Proctor is president/CEO of the USA Rice Federation. e-mail:

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