Louisiana Rice Research Board Administers Checkoff Funds to Maintain Industry

Steven Linscombe  |  11/19/2014 8:56:40 PM

LA Rice Research Board

    The Louisiana Rice Research Board met on November 4 to evaluate currently funded projects and decide on funding for 2015. The highly successful rice checkoff funding program had recently been placed in jeopardy by a successful challenge to the constitutionality of the original 1972 legislation that created the program. This was rectified during the 2014 Louisiana legislative session when new legislation was approved and signed by the governor that re-established the program. 

    The board is made up of 14 rice producer members, who are appointed by the governor based on nominations submitted by statewide rice producer organizations. Current board members include Clarence Berken, Donald Berken, Damian Bollich, Jude Doise, Richard Fontenot, Michael Fruge, Dane Hebert, Philip Lamartiniere, Jackie Loewer, Sammy Noel, Ronnie Sonnier, Jason Waller, Brian Wild and Fred Zaunbrecher. The Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture (Dr. Mike Strain or his designee) also serves on the board. 

    The board has a challenge in deciding which projects to fund and at what financial level of commitment each year. The board has established a number of what they categorize as continuing projects. These are projects that have received funding for several years and have produced beneficial results to the industry because of this long-term funding. In addition, each year the board considers any new projects that show good potential for providing benefits to the industry in the future. 

    Based on review of the previous work and potential for future success, the following continuing projects were chosen for funding in 2015:

  1. Development of Disease Control Practices in Rice – Dr. Don Groth
  2. Rice Management Strategies for Efficient Utilization of Agronomic Inputs and Natural Resources – Dr. Dustin Harrell
  3. Development of Hybrid Rice and Sheath Blight-Resistant Germplasm for Louisiana – Dr. Jim Oard
  4. Marker-Assisted Breeding and Development of Molecular Markers for Important Traits in Louisiana Rice Production – Dr. Herry Utomo
  5. Rice Grain Quality Enhancement: Characterization of Elite High Protein Lines and Development of Herbicide-Resistant Rice – Dr. Ida Wenefrida
  6. Louisiana Rice Verification Program – Dr. Johnny Saichuk and Dr. Dustin Harrell
  7. Development of Superior Rice Varieties for Louisiana; Puerto Winter Nursery; Enhancement of Rice Research and Extension Communications; and Rice Research Station Overall Support – Dr. Steve Linscombe
  8. Economic Analysis of Rice Production and Farm Management in Louisiana – Dr. Mike Salassi
  9. Integrated Management Strategies for Insect Pests of Rice in Louisiana – Dr. Mike Stout
  10. Characterization and Utilization of Genetic Traits for Resistance to Multiple Diseases of Rice – Dr. Jong Ham
  11. Breeding Rice Varieties with Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses – Dr. Prasanta Subudhi
  12. Weed Management in Herbicide-Resistant/Tolerant and Conventional Rice – Dr. Eric Webster

    In addition, the board decided to fund the following new projects for 2015:

  1. Development of Remote Sensing Systems for UAVs to Allow Quick and Easy Nutrient Map Generation – Dr. Randy Price
  2. Identifying Low-Arsenic Rice Varieties – Dr. Aaron Smith
  3. Development of Drought-Tolerant Rice for Louisiana with High Water Use Efficiency Under the Future Climate Change Scenario – Dr. Niranjan Baisakh

    The total funding for these projects was over $1.5 million. While agriculture research is typically a long-term endeavor, there is no doubt that most of these funded projects should provide additional technology and advances to increase the economic and environmental viability of the Louisiana rice industry. The rice checkoff program is an outstanding program that has paid excellent dividends for the 40 plus years of its existence and will continue to pay dividends well into the future. Members of the Louisiana Rice Research Board do a very good job making sure these limited funds are spent in the most judicious manner for the Louisiana rice industry.

Permission granted November 15, 2014 by B. Leonards (LA Farm & Ranch) to republish article on www.lsuagcenter.com.

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