Mar 31, 2015
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- After visiting rice facilities in Texas earlier this week, the 2015/17 Rice Leadership Class concluded the first session of the two-year program last Friday in Louisiana.
During their three-day visit in the state, the class met with Farmers Rice Milling Company and toured the bioenergy plant that supplies the company's electricity. At the South Louisiana Rail facility in Lacassine, the group met Mark Pousson, an alumnus of the program, and toured their state-of-the-art rail facility. Dr. Steve Linscombe from the Louisiana State University Rice Research Station reviewed the latest rice research information before the group visited JohnPac, Inc. in Crowley for a tour of their bagging facility.
"I'm thankful to have been given the opportunity to witness rice production in an area of the United States that is different from my own," said Nicole Creason, a producer from Jonesboro, AR. "For instance, the Zaunbrecher Brothers family farming operation was eye-opening to me because of the additional crawfish crop they are growing along with rice because diversification plays an integral part in agriculture."
The final stop on the tour was New Orleans, where class members met with the Russell Marine Group to learn about river and barge logistics, toured a mid-stream barge/ship loading unit, and met with Eurofins to learn about DNA and GMO testing in rice.
"Coming from California, with our specific cultural practices and varieties we plant, and being able to see the same crop done in a different way has been eye-opening," said Greg Van Dyke, a producer from Pleasant Grove, CA. "Being able to talk with the other class members when we're traveling around, the conversations with other growers and industry people who have completely different backgrounds and different experiences, you learn a lot from other passionate people in the same industry."
Class members are rice producers Nicole Creason, Jonesboro, AR; Hudgens Jeter, Stuttgart, AR; Paul Johnson, Welsh, LA; Nat McKnight, Cleveland, MS; and Greg Van Dyke, Pleasant Grove, CA. Rice Industry representatives are Dr. Dustin Harrell, Rayne, LA, with LSU AgCenter and Collin Holzhauer, Harrisburg, AR, with Southern Rice and Cotton.
The Rice Leadership Development Program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc., and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and is managed by the USA Rice Federation.
Contact: Chuck Wilson (870) 673-7541