Anheuser-Busch & Riceland
Opposition to Pharm Rice
Getting High-Level Political Support
Press Release / U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) 15apr2005
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) today sent a letter to Governor Matt Blunt regarding her concerns about protecting markets for Missouri rice. Emerson, a vocal advocate for value-added opportunities for Southern Missouri farmers, represents the northernmost rice-producing district in the nation and is a member of the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The text of Emerson's letter, which was also shared with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), follows:
"In light of recent statements by two of Missouri's largest purchasers of rice, Riceland Foods and Anheuser-Busch about genetically modified rice, I am urging you to take any action you deem necessary to keep these and other markets open to our Southern Missouri Rice Producers. As you know I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of the new technologies that have allowed our agricultural producers to provide the safest, most affordable food products in the world. However, the market realities that have been presented to me by Riceland Foods, Anheuser-Busch, my rice producers, lenders and suppliers dictate that I must oppose the production of GM rice in Southeast Missouri in crop year 2005.
"Our Southern Missouri rice producers are the northernmost in the nation and their hard work on over 200,000 acres will result in $95 million worth of product grown in our state this year. First and foremost we must protect this industry's markets and not jeopardize our farmers' income.
"It is of the utmost importance to me that we continue to assure the safety of GMO rice and use sound science to convince our trading partners of this reality. At the same time we cannot damage our existing markets for traditional rice until these issues are resolved. I stand ready to work with you and your staff to achieve our mutual goal of helping our Missouri Rice farmers."