BRINKLEY, Ark. – The Arkansas Rice Council and Arkansas Rice Producers’ Group joint annual membership meeting will be held at the Brinkley Convention Center at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27.

“International promotion funded by the Arkansas rice checkoff will be the focus of this year’s program,” said Arkansas Rice Council Chairman Joe Mencer, a producer from Lake Village. “The United States is projected to export 46 percent of the 2004/05 rice crop, so international promotion and market development are vitally important to us.”

International promotion programs are conducted through the USA Rice Federation. Betsy Ward, USA Rice vice president for promotion, will provide an in-depth report on international program activities and results, Mencer said.

The program also will include updates on domestic promotion and the Arkansas rice promotion project, a pilot in-state promotion program conducted by the Arkansas Rice Council.

“We grow the rice, but we rely on USA Rice to promote it here in the United States and around the world,” said John King III, a Helena rice producer who chairs the national USA Rice Council, which is the federation’s promotion arm. “The annual meeting is an excellent opportunity to hear how our promotion investment is being put to work.”

USA Rice Federation President and CEO Stuart Proctor will make the annual financial report. Proctor also will provide a government affairs update in the Producers’ Group segment of the program.

Results of the Arkansas Rice Council board election will be announced, as will the new members of the Rice Leadership Class.

At the conclusion of the business meeting, lunch will be served.

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