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LA seeks market in Iraq - Rice farmers want share of business
Capitol news bureau, February 14, 204
State Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom is arguing for an increased U.S. presence in Iraq -- but he's talking about rice, not troops. Odom is joining with U.S. rice farmers in general, and Louisiana growers in particular, in pushing for President Bush to open Iraqi markets to U.S. rice.

Before the United Nations sanctions related to the 1991 Persian Gulf War in Iraq, the country was the No. 1 importer of U.S. rice, with a particular taste for Louisiana varieties.

John Denison, a southwest Louisiana rice farmer and former USA Rice Federation chairman, said that's something rice farmers have been trying to get done for months.

"If we open the markets back up, we ought to make sure we've got some Louisiana rice in it," he said.

Most of the food aid responsibility has been turned over to the United Nations, Denison said.

"They've been bringing in Thai rice and Vietnamese rice," he said. "We think USA rice should be there."

He said that although Louisiana rice farmers got good prices in 2003 after a disastrous price drop in 2002, they have plenty of rice to sell to Iraq. Several members of Louisiana's congressional delegation have signed on with the rice group to call for cutting rice-producing nations that weren't part of coalition that fought the war out of food aid contracts.
MGR Archive 16.2.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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