Louisiana rice producers have approved five-year renewals of checkoff fees on their crops to fund research and promotion.
Both measures passed with 85 percent voting in favor of the referendum and 15 percent opposed, the same margin of approval when the checkoff referendum was approved in the 2002 election, according to Steve Linscombe, director in the LSU AgCenter’s Southwest Region. Voting by hand ballot was conducted in major rice-producing parishes across the state on Jan. 30. Mail-in ballots were used in parishes with fewer than 30 growers.
The result means that 5 cents on each 100 pounds of rice sold will be used to fund research for the Louisiana rice industry. In addition, producers will pay 3 cents on every hundredweight of rice to promote their product.
Rice farmer Jackie Loewer of Branch, acting chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, said the vote is recognition by producers of the need for research.
“They understand that we have to invest in the future of our industry,” Loewer said. “Without continuing research, rice farming in Louisiana would fade away.”
(This article was published in the winter 2007 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)