Power Lunch

Older white man wearing business suit stands in front of podium with USA Rice Outlook Conference Little Rock AR sign
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Dec 10, 2019
LITTLE ROCK, AR – A highlight of every USA Rice Outlook Conference is the annual Awards Luncheon.  It’s a heady event where attendees gather to recognize and reward their peers for accomplishments in service to the industry.  

This year, Governor Asa Hutchinson was on hand to welcome everyone to Arkansas, and talk about the economic impact of rice production here.  And emceeing the program was Arkansas native AnnaLisa Meredith who, in 2017, was crowned the 80th International Rice Festival Queen in Crowley, Louisiana – the only International Rice Festival Queen ever not from Louisiana.

Rice Farming Magazine Editor Vicky Boyd introduced the 2019 Rice Farmer of the Year, the Rice Industry Award, and the Rice Lifetime Achievement Award (see story below).

Dhu Thompson, CEO of Delta Plastics, received the 2019 USA Rice Sustainability Award for the company’s focus on recycling.  Delta Plastics is one of the largest recyclers of heavily soiled and contaminated plastic in the U.S., and since 1998, has diverted 1 billion pounds of waste material from landfills.

USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward introduced this year’s National Rice Month Scholarship Grand Prize Winner Kyle Voong, a high school senior from Brandon, Mississippi, who produced an engaging three-minute video that was a musical tribute to U.S. rice.  The video, “A Sup-Rice-Ing Presentation,” was shown before Voong took the stage to thank Corteva Agriscience for sponsoring the contest and receiving the “big check” for $4,000 dollars.

Finally, Frank Carey, chair of The Rice Foundation, announced the members of the 2020/22 Rice Leadership Development Program class:  Mallory Everett, McCrory, AR; Elliot Maschmann, Oran, MO; Adam Shea, Little Rock, AR; Derek Sohnrey, Chico, CA; Jason Waller, Mer Rouge, LA; Garrett Williams, Stuttgart, AR; and Christine Wylie, Colusa, CA.

The two-year program provides a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, and is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc., and American Commodity Company.