2015 Rice Award Winners Recognized at Annual Awards Luncheon

Farmer of the Year Honoree Jerry Hoskyn
From left: Vicky Boyd, Rice Farming; Tim Walker, Horizon Ag; honoree Jerry Hoskyn; and USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley
Dec 11, 2015
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Winners of the 2015 Rice Awards were announced today at a luncheon in their honor.  Awards are presented in the categories of farmer, industry and lifetime achievement.  This year’s winners are Jerry Hoskyn, farmer of the year, Keith Fontenot, rice industry award winner and Jimmy Hoppe, rice lifetime achievement award winner.

Jerry Hoskyn grew up on a farm in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and left home for college with no plan to return to the farming life.  However, his roots in the Arkansas Grand Prairie ran deep and it wasn’t long before he was back on the farm and 48 years later, he’s still at it.  Hoskyn is known as an innovative producer who embraces technology and, while considered a mentor by many, he is always willing to learn something new.  Hoskyn serves on several USA Rice committees and says, “I serve on a lot of committees but I think I learn a lot more from them then I ever give.  There are just so many sharp people in the rice industry.”

Keith Fontenot is first and foremost an educator.  After receiving a degree from Louisiana State University in vo-ag education, Fontenot began teaching others, from 4-H’ers to professional producers.  His work as a county extension agent using educational materials, programs, and methods provided by the LSU AgCenter, has helped farmers in his area increase yields and improve best management practices.  Fontenot says the learning goes both ways:  “I’ve been blessed to work in an area of southwest Louisiana that has some of the best, most innovative rice farmers in the world.  They expect and deserve excellence.  You couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with and for.”

Jimmy Hoppe is a well deserving recipient of the Rice Lifetime Achievement award having been a rice farmer since he was in the eighth grade!  He says he has spent his whole life on his farm in southwest Louisiana, doing what he loves with a strong commitment to sustainability and conservation practices to enhance the environmental benefits of rice production.  Accepting the award, Hoppe said, “It’s overwhelming and humbling to have been chosen, and it’s been a pleasure to serve in this industry.”

The Rice Awards are sponsored by Rice Farming magazine, Horizon Ag, and USA Rice.