Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Commitment to stewardship
Louisiana Farmer Garners National Recognition for Conservation and Stewardship   
KAPLAN, LA -- Coinciding with September National Rice Month, Louisiana rice farmer Christian Richard is being recognized by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as their Farmer Spotlight Honoree for his commitment to conservation and stewardship.  He was nominated for the honor for his leadership and advocacy for sustainability in rice production.
Richard is a sixth-generation rice farmer with a desire to leave the land better than it was before.  As he says, "U.S. farmers should not be afraid to tell their story of how we are being productive while conserving natural resources and maintaining the safest food supply in the world."
Through his involvement in the Louisiana Master Farmer Program, Richard developed a resource management system plan.  Though he has been working to address resource concerns on his farm for many years, he didn't have a way to quantify those environmental outcomes and realized that documenting his sustainability improvements could facilitate greater trust with the supply chain and provide consumers with more specific information about environmental performance.
"Use of tools, such as the Field to Market Fieldprint® Platform, to document the field-level metric performance is necessary to meet consumer demands," Richard said.  "Farmers can be more pro-active in providing feedback to our customers and stakeholders."
Field to Market's Fieldprint® Platform is an online tool that helps farmers better understand and communicate how management decisions affect overall sustainability performance and operational efficiency.
Richard is a participant in the Rice Stewardship Partnership Fieldprint® Project sponsored by USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited with a goal of conserving three of the nation's important natural resources: water, wetland wildlife, and working ricelands.  The effort combines public and private resources to enhance riceland across the country to improve crop production while providing valuable habitat for waterfowl.
Through his participation in multiple USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, Richard has integrated beneficial conservation practices throughout his farm, including precision leveling and no-till planting.  
"We're so proud of Christian as he truly exemplifies the ongoing commitment today's U.S. rice farmers have to not only preserve the environment but to enhance and protect it," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.


2017 Rice Cook-off Contest in Lake Charles

LAKE CHARLES – Seventeen 4-H Club students from Calcasieu, Cameron and Beauregard parishes competed in the 20th annual Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Rice Cook-off on Wednesday (Sept. 20).

When the judges made their choices, Briley Kent of Johnson Bayou High School won first place with her shrimp rice salad.

First-place winner Briley Kent with Adam Habetz, president of the Cal-Cam Rice Growers Association.

Second place winner Lilly Jones

Second place went to Lilly Jones of Moss Bluff Middle School with Louisiana Risotto, and Claire Leonards of Bell City High School was awarded third place with her dish, cabbage casserole.

Third-place winner Claire Leonards

                                                                               Tonika Phillips of DeQuincy High School won the Heart Healthy Dish with Caribbean Shrimp and Saffron Rice Street Tacos.

Heart Healthy winner Tonika Phillips

The Port of Lake Charles joined the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association to sponsor the event organized by the LSU AgCenter.  Winners received rice cookers from the Farmer Rice Milling Co.

Other students in the competition were Anna Dupont of South Cameron High, Dusty Morales of Hackberry High, Shad Butler of Sulphur High School, Halie Brewer of Vinton High, Valentin Meurice of Westlake High, Kristen Bertie of Washington Marion High, Myra Collier of Starks High, Jordyn Kelley of Sam Houston High, Cade Nieves of Grand Lake High, Brylie Rozas of Iowa Middle, Donald Reed of Iowa High, Amelia Bellow of S.J. Welsh Middle and Sadie Seilhand of Sulphur High.

Other contestants in the Rice Cook-off Contest

All the students were selected by family consumer science teachers at their schools before entering the regional cook-off.

Judges were Kane Webb, USA Rice Louisiana field director; Yolanda Jones of the LSU AgCenter, and Ricky Self and Cynthia Beglis of the Port of Lake Charles.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Kane Webb - USA Rice field representative in Louisiana 

Jemison, Unkel, and Webb (from left)
MS-Louisiana's Jemison Handing the Reins to Webb-170721
The work of Randy Jemison, former Louisiana field representative for USA Rice will be continued by Kane Webb.“Randy was a tireless advocate for Louisiana’s rice farmers and the whole industry; we thank him for his years of service and we’re going to miss his work ethic, vision, and humor,” said Eric Unkel, a Kinder, LA rice farmer, president of the Louisiana Rice Council, and a USA Rice Board member.  “Kane’s work is cut out for him on a lot of fronts, but Randy is turning things over in good shape and we are excited to have Kane as our new representative.”Kane was raised on a rice and cattle farm south of Iowa, LA, and he is a graduate of McNeese State University with a bachelor's degree in agronomy,  and he was in the LSU Agricultural Leadership Development Program, Class VII.Kane knows rice, having begun his professional career scouting rice fields in south Louisiana for disease and rendering treatment recommendations, and then going to work for Helena Chemical out of Crowley, assisting rice farmers in Acadia and Vermillion parishes, as well as other areas of southwest Louisiana.

A Rice Promotion Champion Retires

By John Owen
 Chairman of the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board


I want to pay tribute to a man who is a fierce and dedicated advocate of our industry.   A man who once farmed rice, but has dedicated the last 16 years of his life to improving the rice industry here in Louisiana one grower, one meeting at a time.  A man who truly has the best interests of the Louisiana rice industry always in the forefront of his mind.  And a man who, sadly for us, is retiring this summer.

For 16 years Randy Jemison has criss-crossed the state meeting with growers and millers, lawmakers and regulators, citizen groups, school children, and the media to talk with them about the industry he loves:  the Louisiana rice industry.

                                                                    Randy Jemison

As director of Louisiana Field Services for USA Rice, not only did Randy represent us at public events like the annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show where he enthralls thousands of visitors with his informative and entertaining rice facts; not only does he attend grower events throughout Louisiana, but he also traveled to field days and other events in Texas.  And most years he accompanied the Louisiana rice industry delegation to Washington for the annual USA Rice Government Affairs Conference where we meet with Members of Congress and their staff, and federal agency representatives to explain Louisiana rice industry priorities to them.

The value Randy brought to our industry cannot be overstated.  We all know about rice.  We know what it takes to get a crop in, care for it, leave a good amount up to the Lord, and get that crop out again.  Randy knows too, having farmed thirteen years in Allen and Jeff Davis parishes.   But Randy also knows that most people, like our representatives in Baton Rouge and in Washington, really dont know what it takes.  And they dont know how decisions they make or dont make will impact us.  And importantly, Randy knows how to fill in the dots.

He can talk as a farmer,and he can talk as a policy maker.”  And thats quite a valuable skill.  One we will miss.