• USA Rice’s Whole Grain Announces 2017 Advertising Specials

    by Deborah Willenborg | May 05, 2017
    COMM-Whole Grain Ad Kit-170505
    ARLINGTON, VA – USA Rice’s award-winning newspaper, Whole Grain, has just released special advertising rates for the remaining 2017 issues.  Advertisers who purchase a half page or larger ad for the Summer Issue, will receive 50 percent off to place the ad in the Fall Issue.

    “Our readership has grown to more than 25,000 people who are all either in the business of rice, or the business of making policies, regulations, and laws that directly affect the rice industry,” said Whole Grain editor Michael Klein.  “We limit the number of pages we assign for advertising, so if companies want to reach the rice industry, now’s the time.”

    The Whole Grain is published three times annually in the U.S. and Klein said future issues will contain stories about the new regulatory climate the Trump Administration is unveiling, winning rice-centric social media campaigns, the outlook for the next Farm Bill, challenges and opportunities in top rice markets, and much more.

    Recent advertisers include Anheuser-Busch, BASF, Buhler, Doguet’s Rice Milling Company, HorizonAg, and Riviana Foods.  To see recent issues of Whole Grain, click here.  To download the advertising rate card, click here, or email the author.

  • 2017 Rice Awards Application Open

    by Deborah Willenborg | Apr 18, 2017
    Last year's winners (from left): Steve Linscombe,
    Gary Sebree, and Richard Fontenot
    2016 Rice-Award-Winners
    ARLINGTON, VA -- USA Rice, in conjunction with Horizon Ag and Rice Farming magazine, is seeking nominations for the 2017 Rice Awards to recognize rice leaders who exemplify dedication, determination, and innovation to the industry.

    The Rice Awards honor outstanding industry leaders from three distinct categories:  Rice Farmer of the Year, Rice Industry Award, and the Rice Lifetime Achievement Award.  To nominate a candidate for one of these prestigious awards, complete the application form by June 15 and follow the submission instructions listed there.

    The award recipients will be recognized at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in San Antonio, December 10-12, 2017, where an official presentation will be made at the annual awards luncheon.  They also will be featured in a special insert of the December issue of Rice Farming.

    The recipients of last year’s Rice Awards were Rice Farmer of the Year, Richard Fontenot, Ville Platte, Louisiana; Rice Industry Award, Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter, Crowley, Louisiana; and Rice Lifetime Achievement Award, Gary Sebree, Stuttgart, Arkansas.  

    Go here for a complete list of past winners.
  • An Intern Reports: Finding a Seat at the Table

    by Deborah Willenborg | Apr 10, 2017
    Try this for plowing through DC traffic
    Intern William-Mencer-Drives-a-Combine
    WASHINGTON, DC -- My fondest memories from days on the family farm in southeast Arkansas were sharing conversations with my father and grandfather over breakfast and lunch each day, discussing things such as weather, jobs that needed to be done on the farm that day, commodity prices, and current events.  From a young age, I can remember having a keen interest in how the farm operated but also how legislation, regulation, and world events affected my father and grandfather’s day-to-day decisions for the farm.

    I decided to pursue that interest in agriculture and policy by studying agriculture economics, law, and political science as a student at Mississippi State University.  My education made me aware of my obligation as a citizen of the United States, and as a farmer therein, to do something, to be involved, and make a contribution to the greater farming community.  

    I was fortunate in getting the opportunity to intern at USA Rice, an organization with a mission to promote and protect the interests of the U.S. rice industry.  Having grown up on a rice farm, I have seen the results of the work done at USA Rice first-hand and I felt it would be an appropriate way to give back to an industry that has provided my family with the life we share today.

    Working at USA Rice, I have gained invaluable policy experience attending farm bill conferences, accompanying staff as they met with legislators on Capitol Hill to talk about important issues specific to the rice industry, attending Congressional hearings, and getting to know the team at USA Rice.  

    Living on the farm, it is easy to sit back and assume that our livelihood and way of life will always be there.  However, this experience has taught me the importance of showing up and making your case.  As they say here in Washington, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you may find yourself on the menu.”

    I very much look forward to taking the lessons I’ve learned here back to my community and applying them to the next chapter in my life:  law school.  I know the insights I’ve gained into the federal process will be of great benefit no matter where this life takes me.  One thing I know for certain:  I’ll never forget where I came from, and that’s rice country.
  • Louisiana Farm Broadcaster Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 27, 2017
    Molino flanked by award presenters Miss Louisiana Justine Ker and Tim Brando of Fox Sports
    BATON ROUGE, LA -- Long-time Louisiana farm radio and television broadcaster Don Molino received the Radio Lifetime Achievement award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters (LAB) Tuesday.

    Molino has been a staple on radio stations across Louisiana for 35 years with the Louisiana Radio Network.  He also co-hosted the weekly television show "This Week in Louisiana Agriculture" for nearly 10 years.

    His voice is instantly recognizable and has been a trusted source of information for farmers across the state.

    "Don Molino is national quality, and he's been been part of the culture and the fabric of our state for almost four decades," said Jim Engster, owner and president of the Louisiana Radio Network.

    Engster is quick to point out that Molino's career started in the major market of Dallas - Ft. Worth, but he instead chose to settle down in Louisiana.

    "We hear him, we know him and we love him, but we don't often appreciate the fact that Don could have gone in any number of ways in his career," Engster said.  "He chose to go in our direction, and we have benefited immensely from the fact that he made that choice."

    Molino is also known to the rice industry beyond Louisiana for his work as one of the emcees at the annual USA Rice Outlook Conference, the largest rice specific conference in North America.

    “Don is not just a silky smooth voice to us,” said Michael Klein, USA Rice vice president of marketing & communications.  “His knowledge of the industry and deep understanding of what growers are facing makes him a valued part of the programming at our conference each year.”

    The award was presented during LAB's annual Prestige Awards ceremony at the L'Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge.
  • Latest Issue of Whole Grain Highlights Industry Record on Sustainability

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 24, 2017
    Winter Issue 2017
    ARLINGTON, VA – Check your mailbox for the Whole Grain, USA Rice’s newspaper, as the latest issue is off the presses and on its way to readers throughout the six rice producing states and Washington, DC.  

    “I’m thrilled this issue of the Whole Grain is dedicated to the conservation record of the U.S. rice industry and our overall sustainability,” says Jennifer James, an Arkansas rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee, who is interviewed for this issue’s cover story.  “We have plenty to be proud of, and on these pages you’ll read a lot about where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

    There are stories on two Regional Conservation Partnership Program projects that received $15 million funding, an overview of the conservation programs up for discussion in the next Farm Bill, a report on end-users and their footprint within the U.S. food supply, and the complete transcript of former NRCS Chief Jason Wellers’ farewell speech to the industry at the recent USA Rice Outlook Conference.

    It’s not all about sustainability as there’s also a report from the Rice Leadership International Class trip to Great Britain and Spain, all the news from this year’s Government Affairs Conference, a financial update from USA Rice CFO Linda Sieh, and more.

    If you do not receive the Whole Grain in your mailbox, or you’d like additional copies to distribute to friends, neighbors, and colleagues, or you would like to advertise in future issues, contact Deborah WillenborgDeborah Willenborg
  • Sebree and Wells Inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 07, 2017
    Phyllis and Gary Sebree
    LITTLE ROCK, AR – Last Friday, at the 29th annual luncheon sponsored by the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Gary Sebree and the late Dr. Bobby Wells were inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.  

    A third-generation rice farmer, Sebree farms approximately 2,000 acres of rice and soybeans near Stuttgart, Arkansas.  He was elected to the Producers Rice Mill board of directors in 1971 where he served for 43 years, the final 24 of those as chairman, from 1990 to 2014.  When Sebree assumed his leadership role at Producers, a farmer-owned cooperative, Arkansas rice acreage totaled 24 percent of the U.S. crop.  By the time he retired from the board in 2014, Arkansas was producing more than 50 percent of the entire U.S. crop, a distinction it still holds.

    Sebree was chairman of USA Rice from 2002-2004 and recently received the Rice Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference.

    Dr. Bobby Wells, former head of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Agronomy Department, was a world-renowned expert on rice production, with a special emphasis on rice nutrition and soil fertility.  He was principle developer of the nitrogen fertilizer application method known as the Arkansas three-way split application scheme, which has been found to be the most efficient method of fertilizing rice with nitrogen world-wide.  Wells was honored for his contributions of research, teaching, and service to the rice industry.
  • On the Front Line at USA Rice

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 06, 2017
    Lesley Dixon in Rome, Italy,
    not to be confused with Arlington VA
    ARLINGTON, VA – As USA Rice’s new Coordinator, Finance and Administration, Lesley Dixon is the first smiling face you see and mellifluous voice you hear when contacting the Arlington office.  She joined USA Rice in an “official” capacity after working as a temp here for several months.

    Dixon is a relative newcomer to Washington, DC, and lives in Columbia Heights with her husband, a political pollster.  She grew up in Austin, Texas, and went to school at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was active in local theater and comedy scenes, and taught music lessons at a local guitar shop.  She also lived in Chicago for several years, where she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, wrote content for a video game startup, and barely survived three Midwest winters.
  • USA Rice's New Intern a Natural Fit

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 03, 2017
    He won't have any trouble fitting in
    ARLINGTON, VA -- As farmers across America prepare for the growing season, USA Rice’s new intern, William Mencer is preparing for a new season of his own as he has recently teamed up with the USA Rice Government Affairs staff here.

    Mencer is from Lake Village, Arkansas, where he grew up on his family’s rice farm.  A recent graduate of Mississippi State University, he studied Agriculture and Environmental Economics as well as Political Science.  He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting for deer and duck along the banks of the Mississippi River.  His German shorthaired pointer, Sage, also made the trip to Washington.

    “I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with USA Rice,” Mencer said.  “Having grown up around the production side of the rice industry, I am excited to learn more about the other aspects of the industry and how they intertwine with one another.”

    Mencer will be with USA Rice through April and can be reached at wmencer@usarice.com or (703) 236-1468. 
  • In Memory: Dr. Joseph Musick

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 02, 2017
    Dr. Joseph Musick
    Dr. Joseph A. Musick, Jr., aged 80 of Monticello, Arkansas, passed away on Monday, February 27, 2017.  In 1985 he was named director of the Louisiana State University (LSU) Ag Center Rice Research Station and retired in 2003 as Professor and Resident Coordinator Emeritus.
    Dr. Steve Linscombe, current director of the Rice Research Station, said of Dr. Musick:  “He always was very supportive of the faculty and staff at the station, and was responsible for a number of major improvements here that will assure the success of the facility well into the future.  Dr. Musick was truly dedicated to the rice farmers of Louisiana and will certainly be missed by the entire U.S. rice industry.”

    Dr. Musick grew up on a farm in Mississippi County, Arkansas, and when he graduated from Shawnee High School held the highest Future Farmers of America (FFA) honor in the state.  He earned a degree at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, his Masters at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and completed his PhD at the University of Missouri.

    Dr. Musick was a recipient of the 2004 Horizon Ag, Rice Farming Magazine, and USA Rice Lifetime Achievement award.

    Visitation will be this evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home in Monticello.  The funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, March 3, at the First United Methodist Church in Monticello, with burial to follow in Oakland Cemetery.  Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 317 South Main, Monticello, AR 71655.

  • In Memory: Mark Rose

    by Deborah Willenborg | Feb 27, 2017
    Mark Rose
    NRCS Mark-Rose
    Last week, long-time USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employee and friend to USA Rice, Mark Rose, passed away unexpectedly.  Rose spent 31 years as a public servant, working first for his alma mater, The Ohio State University in research and agricultural leadership development before heading to NRCS.

    Rose began his career with NRCS as a soil conservationist and worked his way up the ranks in Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, and eventually to National Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he served as the director of conservation financial assistance programs.  He was instrumental in helping USA Rice and the Rice Stewardship Partnership secure funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and making rice-friendly revisions to the Conservation Stewardship Program.

    USA Rice staff and members met with Rose less than a week prior to his passing during the Government Affairs Conference in Washington, where he described the Rice Stewardship Partnership as “exemplary” for other commodities and wildlife organizations.

    Dave White, former NRCS chief and supervisor to Rose, said, “This is a hard one for me - Mark was truly one of the ‘good guys.’  He cared deeply about agriculture and worked tirelessly to make the conservation programs better.  Mark always had time to visit with producers and his kindness enriched our lives.”

    Rose is survived by his wife, father, three children, and two grandchildren.

  • USA Rice Joins Coalition Sharing Ag Priorities with President-Elect

    by Deborah Willenborg | Jan 06, 2017
    Click here to read the letter
    WASHINGTON, DC – USA Rice joined 15 other agricultural organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and American Soybean Association, to congratulate President-Elect Trump and Vice President-Elect Pence and remind them of the importance of U.S. agriculture to the economy.

    “The economic vitality of America’s heartland is inextricably linked to the continuing productivity of U.S. agriculture, which is an unparalleled American success story,” the letter reads.  “Agriculture and agriculture-related industries contributed $835 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2014.”

    The letter also points out that enforcing existing trade agreements and expanding market access is a priority for the sector.

    “Exports account for over 70 percent of U.S. production of tree nuts and cotton, over 60 percent of soybeans, and over 50 percent of rice and wheat,” reads the letter.  “Positive farm income throughout America would not be possible without access to foreign markets, trade promotion, and trade agreements.”

    “As the Trump Administration settles in, this is a good time to get in front of them with some reminders about who ag is, what ag does, and what ag brings to the table – literally,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice President & CEO, who represented rice on the coalition.  “Like everyone in the coalition, we look forward to working with the new Administration to identify opportunities that will benefit U.S. food and agriculture and American consumers.”
  • Return of the Rice Queen

    by Deborah Willenborg | Oct 31, 2016
    Day One and she's already buried in paperwork
    ARLINGTON, VA -- USA Rice is pleased to welcome Lydia Holmes back to USA Rice as the new Regulatory Affairs Manager.  Lydia originally worked for the Government Affairs team at USA Rice while studying for her master’s degree in Public Administration at George Washington University (GWU).

    After graduating from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2014, Lydia immediately headed to Washington, DC, to pursue a career navigating the alphabet soup of governmental regulatory affairs.  She followed her initial stint at USA Rice with jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the GWU Regulatory Studies Center where she compared the legislative regulatory burden on the agricultural sector of the EU to that of the U.S.  

    Lydia is the daughter of Brenda and Byron Holmes, and grew up on their rice farm in Forrest City, Arkansas.  She is a former Miss Arkansas Rice and we have the photo to prove it.
  • First Delegation of Cuban Farmers Visits Arkansas Rice Country

    by Deborah Willenborg | Oct 19, 2016
    Everyone speaks the same language at the Isbell Farm
    Cuban-Farmers-Visit-AR-Rice-Country, Isbell Farm
    HUMNOKE, AR -- A group of Cuban farmers hosted by Winrock International traveled to Arkansas rice country this week in the first official visit of Cuban farmers to the United States in more than 50 years.  

    The group’s first stop was Isbell Farms where in addition to touring the farm and watching post-harvest operations, the group discussed irrigation techniques, planting methods, and the important role of rice in the Cuban diet.  The common agricultural brotherhood and sisterhood between farmers from these two nearby countries was apparent in spite of language differences.

    “Farmers are farmers no matter where they are from,” said Jeremy Jones, a rice farmer from England, Arkansas, who joined in hosting the group.  “Whether you are from Cuba or the United States, farming is the common language we speak.”

    The five Cuban farmers who make up the delegation will be in the state for the rest of the week visiting other farms and agriculture related industries as important personal connections between our two countries continue to develop.
  • In Memory: Dora Lou Hoskyn

    by Deborah Willenborg | Oct 11, 2016
    Dora Lou Hoskyn
    Dora Lou Hoskyn, of Stuttgart, Arkansas, passed away on Saturday, October 8.  She was born in July 1943, in Brewer, Arkansas, and is survived by her husband, Thomas Charles (Tommy), children, Angie and Dusty, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
    "Dora Lou was a gracious lady with the most wonderful positive and caring spirit,” said Riceland COO Carl Brothers.  “When I shared her loss with David Van Oss at Trinidad Benham, he may have said it best: ‘I never met anyone nicer.’  She and her beautiful smile will be missed by so many."

    A memorial service was held today at Grand Avenue United Methodist Church in Stuttgart. 

    In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grand Avenue United Methodist Church, Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute (CARTI), or to a charity of your choice.

  • USA Rice Welcomes New Government Affairs/PAC Manager

    by Deborah Willenborg | Sep 26, 2016
    Welcome Bree!
    Bree Pettigo
    ARLINGTON, VA- USA Rice is pleased to welcome Bree Pettigo as the new Government Affairs/PAC Manager.

    Bree comes to USA Rice from the U.S. House of Representatives where she most recently served as the Executive Assistant to Congressman Henry Cuellar [TX-28].  In that role, Bree managed Rep. Cuellar's daily schedule and coordinated logistics for all meetings and events the Congressman attended in both Washington, D.C. and throughout his district.

    A native of Memphis, Tennessee, home to the upcoming 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference, Bree grew up in Southaven, Mississippi, and attended Mississippi State University where she obtained a B.S. in Psychology.
  • In Memory: Kristine LaGrande

    by Deborah Willenborg | Sep 19, 2016
    Kristine LaGrande
    After a long and well fought battle with ovarian cancer, Kristine Ann (Thomas) LaGrande passed away on Thursday, September 15 in Sacramento, California with her family at her side.  

    Kristine was born in September 1943, in Portland, Oregon, grew up in Tulelake, California, and graduated from Chico State University.  Kristine was the wife of Michael LaGrande and the mother of Michelle and Kenneth LaGrande, of the Sun Valley Rice Company.

    A brilliant practical joker, Kristine will be remembered for her signature sense of humor and sharp-as-a-tack wit.  She was the life of the party; her gifted storytelling and spot-on delivery could lift any spirit, and often did.
    “We all recognize the LaGrande name as synonymous with the success and scope of the California rice industry,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “In addition to that, Kristine was a cherished friend to many of us and will be sorely missed.”

    Funeral services will be private.  A celebration of Kristine's life is being planned for later in the fall, and her family hopes all those who enjoyed her friendship will attend.

    In lieu of flowers, and in accordance with her wishes, Kristine's family asks that those interested in remembering her do so in Kristine's name to a charitable organization or purpose of their choosing.
  • In Memory: Becky Goetz

    by Deborah Willenborg | Sep 16, 2016
    Becky Goetz
    USA Rice extends condolences to the family and friends of Rebecca “Becky” Goetz of Stuttgart, Arkansas, who passed away on September 14, at the age of 69.  

    Becky worked at Riceland Foods in the Rice Sales Division.

    "I worked with Becky throughout her 42 years with Riceland,” said Carl Brothers, the company’s COO.  “She was a true professional and more importantly a good friend to all of us.  Becky will truly be missed and difficult to replace."

    "Becky gave 42 years of her life in dedicated service to the farmer members of Riceland Foods,” said Terry Harris, Riceland’s Senior Vice President, Marketing & Risk Management.  “I personally began working with Becky in 1977 and had the pleasure of working with her everyday I was in this office since 1981.  I never asked her to do anything that did not get done and get done well.  She made so many daily contributions to the betterment of the cooperative that seemed like very small things, until she is not here to do them.  She will be missed by her many friends and especially her Riceland Family.”

    Becky will be remembered for her tremendous contributions to her community, including her work with the Boy Scouts of America, St. Albans Episcopal Church, and the Grand Prairie Arts Council.  She loved to travel, and was an accomplished artist and avid gardener.

    Visitation will be held today from 5-7 p.m. at the Turpin Funeral Home, 1107 West 22nd Street, Stuttgart, AR.  A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, September 17, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Albans Episcopal Church, 12th and Main, Stuttgart, AR, with internment immediately following at Lone Tree Cemetery.
  • #ThinkRice with USA Rice Photo Contest

    by Colleen Klem | Sep 14, 2016
    Rice farming= eternal optimism
    Rice & Rainbow-160914 

    ARLINGTON, VA -- It’s September National Rice Month!  And USA Rice is calling for members to post images from their rice farms on their social media channels, along with the hashtag #ThinkRice, as part of a strategic initiative to increase consumer engagement.

    “The goal of this social media contest is to tell the story of rice in a visual way so consumers can begin to think of their food more critically,” said Michael Klein, vice president of Marketing, Communications, and Domestic Promotion. “We want to bring awareness to the fact that rice is grown right here in the United States so when people see rice on the supermarket shelves, they will be more inclined to seek out that ‘Grown in the USA’ label in support of U.S. rice farmers.” 

    Even though harvest is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, contest entries are not limited to this phase of rice production.  Members can post any and all pictures that depict the various stages rice goes through before ending up on our plates.

    “The goal USA Rice will compile all of the submissions, post them on Facebook, and call on the public to vote for their favorite image.

    The person who submits the photo with the most “likes” will receive a free registration to the 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference held December 7-9 in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Members have until October 1 to submit their favorite rice images or send contest entries via email to cklem@usarice.com.  

  • New Edition of Whole Grain Showcases National Rice Month and More

    by Michael Klein | Sep 07, 2016
    All the rice news that fits
    COMM-New Edition of Whole Grain Showcases National Rice Month and More-160907

    ARLINGTON, VA – The latest issue of USA Rice’s groundbreaking publication, Whole Grain, is being distributed this week to more than 25,500 rice industry members around the country.  As always, the newspaper is loaded with important and exciting stories about National Rice Month, key international markets, and the 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference, and much more.

    Readers will learn about the wonderful RiceGiving program created by USA Rice and international upscale Asian restaurant chain, P.F. Chang’s; retail promotions driving consumer rice sales; and the updated National Rice Month Scholarship program.

    Writers also provided updates on Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey, as well as highlighting recent developments in the United Kingdom and with food aid programs.

    The LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station is profiled, as is California grower Sean Doherty, and the Rice Leadership Development Program.

    A program preview of the 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference this December in Memphis, Tennessee is also included with the announcement of the key note speaker, former NASA Astronaut and Columbia University Professor Dr. Michael Massimino – the first person to Tweet from space!

    “We’re thrilled with this issue of the
    Whole Grain,” said Michael Klein, vice president of marketing, communications, & domestic promotion and the editor of the paper.  “As always, a special thanks to our advertisers: Buhler, Wellmark International, Douget’s Rice Milling Company, and Horizon Ag.  Their support is crucial to us continuing to grow this newspaper and being able to provide the excellent reporting that we do.”

    If you do not receive the
    Whole Grain in your mailbox, or you’d like additional copies to distribute to friends, neighbors, and colleagues, or you would like to advertise in future issues, contact Colleen Klemczewski at cklem@usarice.com.