Trade Breakthrough: California company to be first in U.S. to sell rice to China
The ongoing US-CHINA Trade Frictions has come to a critical point, one of China's largest rice importers will be bringing in Sun Valley's California Calrose rice and distributing it for both retail and food service. By the end of September, more than 36,000 kilos of the product will be shipped to China. MARK NIU has the story.
In California's Sacramento Valley, Sun Valley Rice company has made a breakthrough. It's about to become the first U.S. company ever to sell rice to China.
One of China's largest rice importers - Dragon Ocean Hing Group - will be bringing in Sun Valley's California Calrose rice and distributing it for both retail and food service.
"My great-grandparents moved here and bought this property a little over 100 years ago."
Rice farmer and Sun Valley CEO, Ken LeGrande, has worked these fields since he was a child.
"These are some of the very first ones and it'll just explode in five days. They're just about a week before we can find any juice. That's going to be a rice kernel right there."
LeGrande says the historic deal is the result of 15 years of hard work and patience.
KEN LEGRANDE, PRESIDENT AND CEO SUN VALLEY RICE COMPANY "We're just awfully excited to be the first American company to sell American rice into China. Our company has been working really diligently for the last several years going to China, meeting with potential buyers. That's really what it takes the ability to go to China and understand how important the traditions of rice are."
MARK NIU WILLIAMS, CALIFORNIA "The rice plants in these fields will be harvested in early September. By the end of September, more than 36,000 kilos of the product will be shipped to Shenzhen, China."
Part of what impressed Chinese importers is Sun Valley's quality control.
Probes collect grain samples from every delivery so that workers can check for damage or impurities by hand.
They also measure the precise moisture level of the grains.
Sun Valley says if the first shipment to China works out, more business will follow.
The company also buys 10-percent of its rice from other California growers, so the deal could benefit the entire California rice industry.
KEN LEGRANDE, PRESIDENT AND CEO SUN VALLEY RICE COMPANY "Trade between the U.S. and China is at a really critical point in our view and if the humble dish of rice can be part of what opens that door a little further and starts the flow of trade between our two countries, then we are very proud to be a part of that historic moment."
It's also a proud moment for a family that's been growing rice for five generations.
KEN LEGRANDE, PRESIDENT AND CEO SUN VALLEY RICE COMPANY "It really surprising to think how I was 10-years-old and riding on a tractor with my grandfather never thinking that someday I would be producing a crop and being that first rice to go to China."