Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce | 1/17/2014 9:07:10 PM
From my end of the levee
There are several ways to determine value. One way that we use almost unconsciously is in the marketplace -- buying and selling of things.
Anytime we buy something, we determine the product is worth more than the money we use to pay for it. We may think it is too expensive, but need, time, place, quality, quantity and availability all come into play. At the end of the transaction, if completed, the product is worth the money spent.
That is not unlike our rice research needs. We would rather have them paid for by someone else, but it is the rice industry that needs them, and it is the rice industry that must pay for them.
There is also another way to determine value – usually regarding beliefs, causes, regulations, laws or agreements. Our American system of government is based on this way, and that is democracy. If the majority of people wants it and thinks it has value, or adds value, then that is the law or rule or agreement of the land.
Our nation is the pride of the world not only because our nation has made great decisions based on democracy, but those within the democracy that are in the minority demonstrate a sense of acceptance and move on. When a candidate in a political race loses, he or she doesn’t gather an army to defeat the victorious opponent. That candidate accepts the will of the people and lives to stress his or her views another day in a democratic fashion.
The rice industry values rice research. Year after year, time after time, rice producers have demonstrated this in a democratic process, placing value in assessing themselves an amount of money dedicated to rice research. Some think differently, but in America, the majority rules.
With the narrow interpretation of state law by the Louisiana Supreme Court, we no longer enjoy the right of self-determination. Until state legislation can be put in place, there is another way we can show value for rice research. We can voluntarily prescribe that our funds be deducted from the sale of our rice and have that dedicated to rice research. The funds would continue to be collected by Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and distributed for research.
We can make it happen, but like planting a field of rice, we have to actually go out and do it. John Adams once wrote, "There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide." Let’s not prove him right on our watch!
–Jackie Loewer, Chairman
This article was published in the 2014 Louisiana Rice Research Board Annual Report.