The Iraqi government has agreed to purchase 15,000 tons of American rice in a deal that should relieve some pressure on Louisiana rice growers who are feeling the burn from an escalating trade war with China, and other nations.

The Bayou State is one of the top US rice producers at about 1.35 million tons. North Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham says it’s a good step for a massive industry.

“Were growing about 370 million dollars worth of rice, and they know form the Louisiana producers especially that they are going to get the highest quality rice in the world.”

In recent years the Louisiana agriculture industry has increasingly relied on the Chinese market for large portions of their sales, a habit that is being threatened by the growing trade war. Abraham says diversifying our trade partnerships is one way to get around the tariff turmoil.

“Anytime we can extend our reach that’s a good day, especially with the commodity market. Its precarious at best, and now that we have these tariffs looming over us we need these new markets we can put our rice into.”

The Bayou-Babylonian connection could see Louisiana rice sent over 7,100 miles away from home to a country that’s trying to bounce back after nearly being crushed by ISIS. Abraham says he’s glad Louisiana food will be filling the stomachs of people who have a lot of work ahead of them.

“We spent time and treasure and unfortunately many American lives over there, so if something good is coming out of that country then we want to be a part of that. We want them to become a good economy, and a prosperous economy.”

This is the third such large scale deal to be completed in the last year.

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