Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas rice industry donated 169,700 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Foodbank in honor of National Rice Month today. The donation from six mills will provide over 1.27 million servings of rice to help feed families, children, and seniors all across the state.
Participating rice mills are Windmill Rice Company of Jonesboro, Riceland Foods, Inc. of Stuttgart, Producers Rice Mill of Stuttgart, Riviana Foods of Carlisle, Ralston Family Farms of Atkins and Specialty Rice, Inc. of Brinkley.
“Arkansas rice farmers grow over 50% of the nation’s total crop and will produce rice on approximately 1.2 million acres this year in over 40 counties, many of which are served by the Arkansas Foodbank,” said Arkansas Rice Council President Dow Brantley. “As rice harvest continues, we, as farmers, try to be good stewards by giving a portion of our crop to hunger relief efforts.”
September is also Hunger Action Month. Arkansas ranks second in the nation for food-insecurity, and Feeding America projects that 11% more Arkansans are experiencing hunger since the start of the pandemic – totaling nearly 532,000 people today. That number includes one in four children who may not have enough to eat. This rice donation will go in to weekend backpacks for children, food boxes for home-bound seniors and will fill shelves at food pantries for families in need.
The rice will be distributed to the five Feeding America network food banks: River Valley Regional Food Bank in Fort Smith; Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro; Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana; Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock; and Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Springdale.
“Arkansas rice farmers play crucial role in the fight against hunger. We’re so grateful for their partnership and support as we provide nutritious food to Arkansans facing hunger,” said Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders. “Food shouldn’t be an impossible choice, and this incredible donation comes at a pivotal time as Arkansas Foodbank and the other Feeding America food banks in our state are working to provide food to our neighbors struggling right now.”
Arkansas is the largest rice-growing state in the nation, producing nearly 9 billion pounds annually. This year, Arkansas family farmers will produce over 50 percent of the nation’s rice for the first time in history. Arkansas rice farmers and millers contribute over $6 billion each year to the state’s economy and employ over 25,000 Arkansans.