Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., issued an Emergency Rule Friday relative to the sale of seed rice which does not meet germination standards. Germination is the process by which a plant grows from a seed.
“While performing routine tests like purity and germination on seed rice, the LDAF Seed Lab discovered the quality was significantly negatively impacted during the historic 2016 flooding in rice production areas,” Strain said.
Most seed rice available to Louisiana growers is certified and is required to possess a higher purity and germination quality percentage (80 percent) than non-certified seed rice (60 percent). The LDAF Seed Programs Division administers the state’s Seed Certification Program.
“After testing numerous seed rice samples, our seed analysts confirmed that much of the seed rice available to producers for the 2017 planting season does not meet the current minimum certified seed germination standard. Had we not discovered this, it could have resulted in a significant shortage of rice for the 2017 planting season and a more than $100 million loss for our rice farmers. It could have also put some of our rice farmers out of business,” said Strain.
The Emergency Rule allows the germination standards to be temporarily lowered for 120 days to allow more seed rice to be made available to farmers to plant.
Louisiana rice farmers produce some of the highest quality rice in the world because of our rigorous standards. Even though the germination is lower, it will still produce a healthy product. This allows our farmers to adjust their planting rates to produce enough rice to sell and get through the 2017 planting season which could have been ruined had our analysts not made this discovery,” added Strain.
According to the LSU AgCenter, there are 1,024 rice producers in the state. Rice planting season typically starts in March. Rice is an approximately $482,000,000 industry in the state of Louisiana.