Friday, September 8, 2017

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.

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