Some wonder if y’all oversold at $4, or thereabouts, and were trying to make up for it — the pool termination was a response to that, to keep you afloat. Can you address that?

“The answer is an emphatic ‘no.’

“I talked to a farmer in Louisiana who had heard the same rumor.

“Something did happen that might have given that rumor some legs. We did sell some rough rice early to make room for the 2010 crop. We thought we’d get 70 million bushels and had no way to handle that much. We were renting storage and doing what we could.

“So, we did sell rough rice during harvest. That part of the rumor is true — but it was done to make room. And the price, at the time, wasn’t great.

“That said, it had nothing to do with the decision to close the pool.”

Some farmers claim their milling quality wasn’t bad while their neighbor’s was. There’s no reason to doubt them. They say it isn’t fair to co-mingle the poor rice with their good and both get hurt. Is there any way to prevent that?

“Each member is paid based on his crop’s quality and milling — not based on what his neighbor does. Even if the rice is co-mingled, he’s paid that way.

“The problem is, even the rice that looked good this year isn’t up to snuff. That doesn’t mean all the rice has been put in a ‘bad bin’ or it’ll all be bad.

“As for co-mingling, I’d be willing to listen if anyone can explain how to prevent that when taking in 60 million to 70 million bushels. It would take a lot of little, small bins and I’m not sure we could do that.

“Bottom-line: you’re paid based on your milling quality, what yours milled, what your grade is. You aren’t paid based on your neighbor’s crop.”

On mill benefits in a tough year…

“I want to comment on the quality of this rice. Independent buyers have a tendency to shy away from junk. Junk isn’t going to find a good market.

“But we don’t have the option of turning down rice that’s really bad. We take it all. And that’s a good thing that we do for our members. We’re going to find a home for their rice.

“In our case, we’re trying to get the most for every bit, for every farmer.”