Judge dismisses claims against RiceTec

A judge in Greene County, Ark., Circuit Court dismissed all counterclaims against Houston-based RiceTec Inc., the self-proclaimed world's leading developer of hybrid rice seed, by an Arkansas rice grower. The judge ordered the grower to pay for the seed, and other costs, he had refused to pay because of his contention that the RiceTec seed produced inferior yield and quality rice compared to other available rice seed.

The judge ruled that the claimant, Scott Meredith, a Delaplaine, Ark. rice grower, must pay his outstanding debt, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs to RiceTec related to seed he purchased from RiceTec in 2009, according to information released by RiceTec.

Meredith's complaint, that didn't hold water with the judge, was that RiceTec justified a higher price for its seed because of an insinuated higher yield than other companies' seed. He planted two strains of rice on about 700 acres in eastern Arkansas and harvested yields of around half the bushels of comparable fields planted in non-RiceTec seed. Meredith claimed it was RiceTec's problem that he had to replant some fields. He also complained that the harvested rice had inferior milling quality.

Over the past five years, RiceTec has invested more than $75 million in research, product development and customer support to ensure that American rice farmers have viable product choices to grow and that domestic and international consumers have a sustainable supply of rice for their tables, it was noted by the company.

In the next five years, John Nelsen, RiceTec president, said RiceTec plans to invest another $130 million to develop even more advanced rice seed products.

RiceTech was logically glad to have the judgment early in the seed selling season for the 2013 crop year. It does not have the negative publicity hanging over its head as seed sales progress for 2013.

Nelson said, "Fall is the time to plan the crop for the next season, and we are working alongside growers to help them plan and cultivate a successful rice crop next year.

He said, "RiceTec has set the standard for lowering the carbon footprint for rice production while developing higher-yielding, more disease-tolerant, top-quality hybrid rice plant that has proven itself on the American farm, and we will continue to do so."