The Arkansas rice industry donated more than 28,000 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Rice Depot, which helps feed needy families in the state. The donation, made in honor of National Rice Month, will provide healthy and nutritious servings of rice for hungry families.

Rice mills participating in the donation include Cormier Rice Milling, DeWitt; Producers Rice Mill, Stuttgart; Riceland Foods, Stuttgart; and Riviana Foods, Carlisle. The Arkansas Rice Council, along with the Miss Arkansas Rice county winners, presented the rice to Arkansas Rice Depot President and CEO Laura Rhea.

“The Arkansas Rice Depot is celebrating its 24th anniversary this year,” Rhea said. “In that time we have evolved into a statewide organization helping families across Arkansas — all thanks to rice growers.”

The Rice Depot is a statewide food bank that works with 600 Arkansas hunger programs, including food pantries, school food programs, disaster relief and a statewide hunger hotline. Last year it distributed more than 5 million pounds of food to 73,630 needy Arkansas families.

“Arkansas rice farmers and millers are going through difficult economic times right now, but they are glad give back to the community and help those in need,” Arkansas Rice Council President Robert Petter said.

Arkansas is the nation’s largest rice-growing state, producing nearly 9 billion pounds of rice annually. Sponsored by the USA Rice Federation, National Rice Month is now in its 16th year.