ST. LOUIS, MO -- (December 6, 2013) -- The 2014 Rice Leadership Development Program class was named Thursday at the annual Rice Awards Luncheon held during the USA Rice Outlook Conference here in St. Louis. The class is comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals who went through a lengthy and intense selection process, including interviews this week with a committee comprised of industry leaders and program alumni.
The new rice-producer class members are Derek Haigwood, Newport, AR; Jeremy Jones, England AR; Jon Munger, Yuba City, CA; Will Reneau, Beaumont, TX; and Clayton Schaefer, McCrory, AR. The new industry-related class members are Jonathon Hobbs of Russell Marine Group in Jefferson, LA; and A.J. Sabine of the Louisiana Farm Bureau in Baton Rouge, LA.
"The caliber of applicants made choosing this year's class especially difficult and that's a problem the rice industry likes to have," said Marvin Cochran, Chairman of the Rice Foundation. Cochran went on to thank everyone who applied to the program and encouraged the crowd to reach out to those not selected this time to suggest they apply again to the program next year.
The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication training. During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen their leadership skills.
John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc. and American Commodity Company are sponsors of the Rice Leadership Development Program through a grant to The Rice Foundation, and the USA Rice Federation manages the program.
Pictured from left are Marvin Cochran, Brian Ottis of RiceTec, Jeremy Jones, Will Reneau, Derek Haigwood, A.J. Sabine, Jon Munger, Clayton Schaefer, Chris Crutchfield of ACC, Joe Townsell, Jr. of John Deere, and RiceTec's Mark Denman, also Chairman of USA Rice Federation.