Nov 23, 2021
USA Rice extends condolences to the family and friends of Linda Zaunbrecher, of Gueydan, Louisiana, who passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 21, at the age of 80.
A native of Gueydan, Linda grew up “in town” with no agricultural background until she married Wayne N. Zaunbrecher whose family was in the rice business. It was a life-changing event that placed Linda in the vanguard as a female leader in a male-dominated industry, establishing a legacy that ensured a future filled with leadership opportunities for women in agriculture.
“If you were lucky enough to cross paths with Mrs. Linda, you understood in an instant the devotion she had for agriculture and the rice industry,” said Julie Richard, who farms rice with her husband, Christian, near Kaplan. “I grew up in Gueydan and was lucky enough to know her all my life. Her passion, loyalty, and grace opened many doors for women in agriculture.”
In 1984, Linda was elected chair of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, a position that came with a seat on the Louisiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors. In 1990, Linda made history as the first woman elected to the Louisiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors Executive Committee, and she served for 25 years as 3rd Vice President of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation. She also took on leadership positions with the Louisiana Rice Council and USA Rice, and in 2019, was only the second woman named to the Louisiana Ag Hall of Distinction.
“Linda’s contributions to the rice industry were the very embodiment of leadership and set the standard for involvement and participation in the promotion and advancement of agriculture, well beyond Louisiana,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “On a personal note, Linda always gave me great advice and counsel throughout her years of participation on USA Rice boards and committees. It was such an honor to get to know this industry maverick who had passion for the rice industry and the people in it.”
Linda also was instrumental in the establishment of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Foundation, a charitable program that helps fund Louisiana Agriculture in the Classroom programs and provides scholarships to young people who plan to make a career in agriculture. In 2016, the Louisiana Farm Bureau changed the name of the four-year scholarship to the Linda and Wayne Zaunbrecher Scholarship.
“She was a champion for the rice industry,” said Richard Fontenot, current vice president of the Louisiana Farm Bureau. Acadia Parish rice farmer Jackie Loewer said, “with Mrs. Linda in the room, we always reached higher.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Louisiana Farm Bureau Foundation/Linda and Wayne Zaunbrecher Scholarship, PO Box 95004, Baton Rouge, LA 70895-9004; or the Vermilion Farm Bureau Federation/Dwayne A. Zaunbrecher Memorial Scholarship, 3139 Veterans Memorial Drive, Abbeville, LA 70510.
The family requests that visiting hours be observed at Vincent Funeral Home in Gueydan, 311 Fourth Street, today, from 2:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., with a rosary being prayed at 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, November 24, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. until the procession departs for the church at 1:30 p.m.