Jul 06, 2017
CROWLEY, LA – Last week USA Rice and the Louisiana Rice Growers Association (LARGA) hosted six staff members from across the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs to experience rice growing and milling firsthand here in Louisiana.
USA Rice arranged a similar tour of the Mid-South in 2006 and it served to educate EPA staff and as a bridge building exercise between the regulatory agency and the rice industry. With changes in staff at EPA over the years, USA Rice decided it was time to bring new personnel out to inform them of key pesticide issues facing rice growers across the Mid-South.
“For all of the EPA staff that attended the tour, rice touches their portfolio in some way,” said Dr. Steve Linscombe of the LSU Ag Center and member of the USA Rice Regulatory Affairs and Food Safety Committee. “Whether it’s having a rice pesticide in their portfolio or doing analysis on the uniqueness of rice compared to other row crops, each participant was able to learn something about rice that will help them better assess rice pesticides.”
Stops on the tour included a production rice farm to learn about common pests and diseases, a crawfish operation to see the relationship between crawfish and rice production, a rice mill to hear about issues with stored grain pests, a flying service that covers Louisiana rice country to discuss aerial application, and a second rice farm to observe a tail water recovery system in action.
“They also had plenty of opportunity to interact with all parts of the rice industry at two field days and several grower dinners,” said Paul Johnson, a rice farmer and current LARGA vice chair. “We made sure they got their share of gumbo and jambalaya to go along with all the knowledge they took home. And we would like to thank the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and all those who joined us last week for the tour and opened up their homes and businesses to our EPA guests.”