The U.S. rice industry faces a number of challenges as it heads into the new millennium, including trade, low prices, and grower production and management needs.

Recent changes in trade relations with China, the possibility of increased trade with Cuba and controversy over U.S. involvement in Viet Nam port construction will be topics of discussions at this year's USA Rice Outlook Conference, Dec. 3-5, at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas.

The annual conference provides a forum for all segments of the rice industry to convene and examine issues. The conference program will include rice industry and outside experts to discuss timely information and perspectives on the rice situation today and the outlook for tomorrow.

The conference trade show is devoted exclusively to rice-related technology, products and services.

Program preview - U.S. Rice at Home and Around the World: an in-depth look at the domestic and international situation and outlook.

- State-by-state rice reports.

- Production, marketing and research profiles, plus a national research report.

- Biotechnology.

- Balancing the benefits of new technologies with consumer needs.

- Shaping domestic farm policy.

- Surveying the legislative landscape.

- International trade policy.

- Issues for U.S. rice in trade negotiations.

Registrants may participate in a number of special events, including a Sunday breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. featuring speaker Jolene Brown.

Also on Sunday: - A tour of Hoover Dam with lunch on the Desert Princess Paddlewheel is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

- The conference registration desk opens at 1 p.m. The USA Rice Outlook Conference's Grand Opening Reception will be held in the Exhibit Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Monday highlights include: - 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. General Program.

- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guest Event: Cuisine with a West Coast Flair.

- Noon to 1:45 p.m. Luncheon and Rice Farmer of the Year Awards.

- 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. General Program.

- 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. USA Rice Outlook Conference's Millennium Reception.

Tuesday: - 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. General Program.