Broadcast Newsline: March 10, 2004

Richard Bell, president and CEO of Riceland Foods, provides market insight on rice and soybeans.

In today’s farming environment, the majority of producers recognize crop diversity as one key to long-term growth and stability.

Since cotton producers have multiple row crops to consider in their operation, such as soybeans, rice and corn, recent comments by Richard Bell, president and chief executive officer of Riceland Foods, provide market insight.

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In 2003, China imported 35% of soybeans produced in the world, accounting for more soybeans than were produced in the United State’s top two soybean producing states – Illinois and Iowa. According to Bell, there are several reasons why China will continue to import large amounts of soybeans.

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Bell attributes an attractive loan deficiency payment, moderate prices and Brazil importing U.S. rice as factors contributing to the U.S. rice market’s positive shift in 2003. Unlike China and soybeans, Bell does not think Brazil will be a consistent customer for U.S. rice.

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With one-half of U.S. rice exports staying in the Western Hemisphere and 25 percent remaining within the North America Free Trade Agreement area, future prospects on U.S. rice remain strong. Bell considers the current U.S. rice market attractive, especially on emerging domestic fronts.

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During his comments at the 2004 Mid-South Gin Show, Bell encouraged Mid-South producers to consider adding wheat as a late spring or early summer crop.

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