LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Rice Federation Board announced today that Lauren Waldrip Ward has been selected as the new Executive Director.
Originally from Moro, Arkansas, Ward was raised on a rice, soybean, and corn farm and is the fifth-generation descendant of a Delta farm family. Ward has staffed the Federation since March 2015, assisting in trade association management, media relations, communications, PAC management, and public affairs. She traveled to Cuba on a trade mission in June of 2016 as part of the ongoing effort to normalize relations with the country and reopen the Cuban market to Arkansas rice.
"I am honored to have this leadership opportunity to support and promote an industry that has given so much to me, to Arkansas, and to the world," Ward said. "Rice is a big part of my life story and now more than ever, it is vital that we tell the story of Arkansas agriculture and our rural communities. I look forward to continuing my advocacy on the issues that face our growers and our industry."
"Lauren's thorough background and knowledge of the industry has been an asset to the Federation since she began," Arkansas Rice Federation Chairman Jeff Rutledge said. "We are excited about what the future holds for the Federation and Arkansas's rice industry under her leadership as executive director."
Former executive director Ben Noble will be the new vice president of marketing and strategy at Riceland Foods Inc. starting September 1.
The Arkansas Rice Federation represents all aspects of the rice industry including the Arkansas Rice Council, Arkansas Rice Farmers, Arkansas Rice Merchants and Arkansas Rice Millers.