Leadership Class Gets Up Close in California

Sep 23, 2016
Harvest time at Montna Farms
SACRAMENTO, CA -- Last week, the 2015/17 Rice Leadership Development Class completed Session Three of the program, a comprehensive tour of California's Central Valley rice country.  The week-long program consisted of farm and mill visits, observation of water systems here, and meetings with representatives of the California Rice Commission, California Rice Research Station, and Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, as well as a close look at rice harvest.  
"As a California producer, it's my privilege to show my fellow class members around our region," said Greg Van Dyke.  "Touring the unique growing regions here lets them see first-hand both the rewards and difficulties of farming in California."

“The diversity of crops that are planted so close to each other is amazing to me,” said Mississippi’s Nat McKnight.

"I was impressed by the water districts in California rice country," said Arkansas producer Hudgens Jeter.  "While they currently have a serious issue with supply, their delivery infrastructure ensures that what is available can be moved where it is needed.  I would like to see something similar in the mid-south as we work to ensure sustainable water for the future."
"This session was very insightful on the complexity of issues the local rice industry faces," said Paul Johnson, a Louisiana producer.  "From water and air quality issues, to wildlife preservation, to water availability, and increased cost of production for producers, California has a delicate political and regulatory balance of which everyone along the supply chain was cognizant."

Class members also got to experience rice harvesting at Montna Farms after traveling to Lundberg Family Farms to observe their operation.  Sun Valley Rice Company showed the class how they process brown sprouted rice, and a tour of PGP International demonstrated the many ways rice is used as an ingredient.  

Members of the class are producers Nicole Creason, Jonesboro, AR; Greg Van Dyke, Pleasant Grove, CA; Paul Johnson, Welsh, LA; Nat McKnight, Cleveland, MS; Hudgens Jeter, Stuttgart, AR; and industry-related members Dr. Dustin Harrell, Rayne, LA with the LSU Ag Center; and Collin Holzhauer, Harrisburg, AR with Southern Rice & 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 USA Rice.

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