Governor declares Rice Day celebrating $6 billion industry in Arkansas

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – One of the state’s largest industries now has its own day.

Today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson proclaimed Sept. 17 as Rice Day.

“Farming to me is a great source of pride,” Collin Torian said.

Torian is a seventh generation farmer who works outside Carlisle.

“The fact that I get to produce food for not only people here in Arkansas but other parts of the world, means a great deal to me,” he said.

It means a great deal to the natural state too, 6 billion dollars worth each year to be exact, which is why Gov. Hutchinson gave rice its own day.

“When you purchase Arkansas grown rice you’re supporting your neighbors and that essentially supports our state’s largest industry,” Lauren Waldrip, Executive Director with the Arkansas Rice Federation said.

Land used for agriculture spans thousands of acres across the state Waldrip says the investment comes with no guarentees to the farmers.

“The benefits that they may or may not receive are not proportionate to the risk that they accept every year just to grow a safe and quality food supply for us,” she said.

“As a farmer and a producer you have to be eternally optimistic,” Torian said.

As they harvest rice this month, trade wars with China are cutting down profits for crops, with some farmers barely breaking even.

“We’re facing some very tough times economically right now, but it’s a labor of love at the end of the day,” Torian said.

A love instilled in him through generations of farmers — which families across the globe appreciate one bite at a time.

Also to celebrate the ady, seven Arkansas rice mills donated 141,000 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank.

That’s one and half million servings of rice to hungry Arkansans.

All five Feeding America food banks in the state will receive a cut of the crop.

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