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