Industry News

In Memory of Alex Balafoutis

“We are saddened by the news of the passing of long-time CRC board and committee member Alex Balafoutis,” said Tim Johnson, President & CEO of the California Rice Commission. “His leadership and friendship will be greatly missed. Information of services will follow soon.”

Alex Balafoutis

USA Rice also extending condolences to the family and friends of Alex Balafoutis who passed away Sunday, February 26.

“The U.S. rice industry has lost a beloved friend and servant far too early in life,” said Chris Crutchfield, president & CEO of American Commodity Company. “For those who knew him well, Alex was a person who could always be counted on in time of need – whether it be business or personal.”

Alex started his career in the rice industry in California more than 40 years ago at Pacific International Rice Mills. He worked at PGP International for 35 years before moving to Western Foods in 2019 where he was instrumental in opening the Japanese rice market to U.S. imports.

Alex was a dedicated advocate for the U.S. rice industry, serving on numerous USA Rice and California Rice Commission boards and committees promoting U.S.-origin rice and rice products all over the globe. He was a past chair of the USA Rice Millers’ Association, and also led the USA Rice Asia Technical Working Group for the last two decades.

“Alex devoted himself to the rice industry and helped USA Rice advance our mission on a regular basis. He was also a true friend to everyone who had the fortune to work with him,” said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of USA Rice.

Alex was known by family, friends, and colleagues as a person who could always have a good time and put a smile on your face. He was a rabid fan of the San Francisco 49ers and the Sacramento Kings and was looking forward to watching his Kings make the playoffs this year. 

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