A deal the United States struck with China in July could be benefit Texas rice farmers and prop up the struggling industry.
The agreement allows China to buy 250,000 tons of rice from the U.S. per year, out of the nine million tons it produces. This could raise prices of the crop and put more money in the pockets of rice farmers across the country, according to the Chronicle.
This deal is part of an overall lifting of an export ban between the U.S. and China that began under George W. Bush’s presidency, continued through the Obama administration, and was recently settled by President Donald Trump.
“If we could get to 16 cents instead of 10 cents a pound, it would take a lot of risk out,” Texas rice farmer Ray Stoesser told the Chronicle. “Trade is the answer to our problems.”
The acreage of rice fields in Texas has shrunk from 600,000 in the 1950s to 187,000 today. The Trump administration will soon enter into a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which could bring the boost in trade that farmers like Stoesser so badly need after steady decades of decline.