Grain News


Members of 2013-15 Rice Leadership Development Program Class Complete First Session

Date Posted: March 28, 2013

Stuttgart, AR—The 2013-15 Rice Leadership Development Program class participated in its first session March 11-15, with a look at rice production and marketing programs in the Gulf Coast states of Texas and Louisiana.

Class members include rice producers John Compton, Jennings, LA; Seth Fiack, Glenn, CA; Mark Isbell, North Little Rock, AR; Steven Schuler, Woodland, CA; and Joel Stevens of Monticello, AR.

Industry-related members are Robb Dedman, Pro Ag Consulting Inc. from Rison, AR, and Wes Long, RiceTec Inc. from Benton, AR.

In Texas, the group met with USA Rice Federation staff for an overview of the rice industry, updates on domestic and international promotion efforts, and information about USA Rice’s organizational structure.

The class also visited Anheuser-Busch, the largest domestic user of rice, Creed Rice Inc., where alumnus Michael Creed explained the role of international brokers, and the offices of the US Rice Producers Association.

Riviana Foods Inc. employees reviewed consumer and industrial marketing techniques, while alumni Terry Hlavinka, Jerry Boettcher, Ralph Novosad and Linda Raun spoke about Texas rice production before the class visited the farms of Ronald Gertson and Steve Balas.

The group also met with Dick Ottis, executive vice president of Rice Belt Warehouse Inc., the state’s largest rice storage facility, before going to RiceTec Inc., where hybrid rice production technology was discussed.

At the final stop in Texas, class members met alumnus Mike Doguet and toured Doguet’s Rice Mill, Sod Farm and Cattle Ranch in Beaumont.

In Louisiana, the class met with alumnus Philip Bertrand of Farmers Rice Milling Company in Lake Charles, who explained Louisiana rice marketing; then traveled to Crowley, for a tour of the Louisiana State University Rice Research Station, where alumnus Dr. Steve Linscombe summarized the latest rice research. In Lacassine, alumnus Mark Pousson gave the class an overview of the new South Louisiana Rail Facility.

After a stop at JohnPac Inc. to observe bag manufacturing, the class toured the farm of alumnus Christian Richard.

Session I concluded with a visit to Russell Marine Group in Metairie, to learn about river logistics and tour a mid-stream loading facility on the Mississippi River, where they observed a ship being loaded with long-grain rice headed for Venezuela.

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 the USA Rice Federation.

For more information, call 870-673-7541.

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