OSAGE BEACH, MO – This week, USA Rice participated in an important education conference here to showcase the Missouri rice industry to more than 100 family and consumer sciences teachers. Through two interactive sessions, attendees received a farm-to-table look at domestic rice production, cooking information, and learned about the nutritional benefits of rice for a healthy lifestyle from one of USA Rice’s professional chefs. Teachers at the session participate in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) school program and were gathered at a FCCLA Fall Leadership Conference.
“Our FCCLA teachers instruct students in health, nutrition, personal, and professional culinary skills, and food science,” said Donna Sharpe, Missouri FCCLA adviser. “The Missouri FCCLA chapter is the fourth largest in the country and we have tremendous participation from across the state. USA Rice has presented here before and we welcomed them back as we really appreciated the free curriculum they provided along with the presentation by a professional chef.”
During the session, attendees sampled a rice dish made especially for them by Chef Charles Dottore, using jasmine aromatic rice donated by Martin Rice Company in Bernie, Missouri. Martin Rice also donated 2-pound bags of the same jasmine rice for the teachers to take home and practice the cooking techniques taught by Chef Charles.
“I learned so much in this teaching session,” said Whitney Hoffmann, an FCCLA teacher from Sullivan High School, in Sullivan, Missouri. “I am one of those people who didn’t realize we grow rice in the United States, let alone right here in Missouri! I’m excited to cook up my Missouri rice sample, and I know my students will get a kick out of the fact that the rice they’re learning to cook with might have come from their home state.”
The ongoing program with FCCLA is an effort by the rice industry to work with teachers to educate students about rice grown in their state, and the culinary and nutritional benefits of rice as part of a healthy diet.
“I’m grateful to USA Rice for making these experts available and providing this program to our teachers and to Martin Rice Company for helping make it all possible,” said Missouri rice farmer Rance Daniels. “This kind of outreach is very important for our industry and will have a lasting impact on teachers and students turning them both into loyal customers and allies for us.”