LSU AgCenter Rice Breeder Garners Top National Award

Steven Linscombe, Eskew, Charles E., Schultz, Bruce  |  12/19/2007 4:28:06 AM

Dr. Steve Linscombe receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the USA Rice Outlook Conference. (Photo by Bruce Schultz)

News Release Distributed 12/07/07

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder and director of the Rice Research Station, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual USA Rice Outlook Conference recently (Dec. 2-4).

More than 600 people from across the U.S. attended the three-day event.

During his 20-year tenure at the Rice Research Station in Crowley, Linscombe has been involved in the development of 16 rice varieties that have been released by the LSU AgCenter. During the past 10 years, these varieties have been grown on more than 60 percent of the U.S. rice acreage.

Linscombe, who earned a doctorate degree in agronomy and plant breeding from Mississippi State University in 1982, was also recognized for helping expand the Puerto Rico rice breeding nursery.

“I have been fortunate to have received several awards during my career, but this honor is by far the most meaningful,” he told Rice Farming magazine.

Dr. Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter chancellor, said selection of Linscombe was a natural choice.

“He couldn’t be more deserving,” Richardson said. “He’s had as much impact on the rice industry as anyone I’m aware of.”

Farmer Jackie Loewer of Branch, chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, said Linscombe is highly deserving of the award for his forward-thinking approach.

“He communicates a plan in a way that everybody can understand and then cooperates with its implementation,” Loewer said. “It’s a pleasure to work with him.”

In addition, Clarence Berken of Jefferson Davis Parish was chosen as Rice Farmer of the Year.

The awards are sponsored by Syngenta, Rice Farming Magazine and the USA Rice Federation.

“The men chosen for these awards are proven leaders,” USA Rice Federation President and CEO Betsy Ward said.

Ward said that Berken has emerged as a key rice-industry leader. “He has taken the reins of the USA Rice Council, and his work on the USA Rice Import Rice Task Force has garnered widespread industry attention,” she said.

Berken was chosen because of his progressive approach to farming. He grows 2,150 acres of rice, 1,100 acres of soybeans and 300 acres of winter wheat, according to the December issue of Rice Farming magazine. He is a member of the Louisiana Rice Research Board.

Dr. Joe Street, head of the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss., was honored with the Rice Industry Award.

The tone of the conference was more positive than in previous years because of expectations that the price of rice will increase, said Eddie Eskew, LSU AgCenter agent in Jefferson Davis Parish. A report from Mississippi State University raised the possibility that rice could increase to as high as $24 a barrel in 2008.

“I came away with an optimistic outlook,” Eskew said.

Projections of record-low carryover stocks have boosted hopes that prices will continue to increase, he said.

“It looks to be kind of an upbeat look for the next few years,” Eskew said. “I think things are starting to fall into place.”

Eskew said he also was encouraged to learn that urea fertilizer prices are not tied to the price of natural gas to the extent previously thought.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) said import tariffs on urea may be lifted soon.

The congresswoman also told the gathering that the new farm bill has fallen victim to partisan politics, and the best-case scenario is passage of a farm bill with President Bush’s signature by late January.

Political writer Jim Wiesemeyer said the president would veto either the current House or Senate version of the farm bill.

“It’s been unlike any farm bill process I’ve ever seen in 30 years,” Wiesemeyer said.

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Contacts: Steve Linscombe at (337) 788-7531 or

Eddie Eskew at (337) 824-1773 or

Writer: Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821 or

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