Steven Linscombe, Saichuk, John K., Schultz, Bruce | 12/9/2006 4:35:00 AM
LAS VEGAS – A 4-H’er from South Louisiana and a leader in the state’s rice industry were among those honored at the USA Rice Federation’s 2006 Outlook Conference here.
Sarah Landry of Rayne, La., received a $5,000 scholarship from the USA Rice Federation, and John Denison of Iowa, La., received the 2006 Rice Lifetime Achievement Award during the conference.
More than 820 people attended the Rice Outlook Conference held at Caesar’s Palace Dec. 3-5.
Landry, 17, is a senior at Notre Dame High School in Crowley. She is the daughter of Dan and Alice Landry and said she plans to use the scholarship to attend LSU.
She received the scholarship for her promotional activities that highlighted rice’s importance to the economy of South Louisiana and the surrounding areas. The campaign also stressed the nutrition benefits of rice.
Landry worked with area business organizations and the media to promote rice during September. She set up educational displays at public libraries, local events, 4-H meetings and in school cafeterias to promote National Rice Month.
She also conducted rice sampling at a local grocery to highlight the versatility of rice, and her column "Rice is Life" appeared in Louisiana Farm and Ranch magazine and several area newspapers. She created a brochure to use at appearances and speaking engagements, which included a rice education booth at Rayne’s 34th Annual Frog Festival and at gatherings of recreational vehicle enthusiasts.
Denison, who started farming in 1957, was a founding member of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, and he served as its chairman from 1974-1982 and again from 1987 until 1998.
Dr. David Boethel, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research, said Denison has been at the forefront of the rice industry.
"He is the premier spokesman for rice within the Louisiana Farm Bureau and he has carried the message for the rice industry to the halls of Congress on numerous occasions," Boethel said.
Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter regional director for southwestern Louisiana and the director of its Rice Research Station, said Denison’s leadership steered the Rice Research Board’s programs to fund numerous research projects that have benefited farmers tremendously.
"He often reminds us of the valuable role that farmers provide with their checkoff dollars that fund research," Linscombe said.
The award was sponsored by Syngenta, Rice Farming Magazine and the USA Rice Federation.
In other honors to Louisianans, Denison’s son, John Fred Denison of Iowa, La., and Eric Unkel of Kinder were among seven candidates selected for the 2007 Rice Leadership Development Program, which is sponsored by the John Deere Co. and Syngenta.
Speakers at the conference included Jim Weisenmeyer, vice president of Informa Economics of Washington, D.C. He said agriculture producers stand to benefit from continuing high fuel prices.
"Agriculture is in the glory days for the next few years, and it’s called energy," Weisenmeyer said. He said $3-a-gallon gasoline is likely in 2007, and that will continue to be an incentive for farmers to grow crops for biofuel production.
"This will be the best rural development incentive in our lifetime," he said.
Rice farming, because of the large amount of rice straw it produces, can play a major role in the biofuels industry, he said, and forestry could also benefit.
Nathan Childs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Europe buys 10 percent of U.S. long-grain rice grown in the South, which amounts to roughly 250,000 tons.
Childs also said Louisiana’s 2006 rice acreage, which was less than 400,000 acres, was the smallest since 1914.
"Every state but Louisiana had a stronger yield this year," Childs said.
Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist, said the void created by the lack of the rice variety Cheniere probably will be filled by the Clearfield and hybrid rice varieties. He said the GMO situation was one of several problems that hurt Louisiana farmers, adding that others included disease, salt remaining from Hurricane Rita and high fuel costs.
Linscombe also reported several rice varieties are under development at the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station, including a new Clearfield variety that may be released for seed production in 2007.
The new possible Clearfield variety, CL151, has yield potential equal to Cheniere, he said.
Efforts are also under way to develop a Clearfield medium-grain rice, he said.