Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce
The Louisiana Rice Research Board decides how farmers’ check-off funds will be spent on research aimed at helping rice farmers. Board members are, left to right, bottom row, Brian Wild, Chairman Jackie Loewer, Vice Chairman Clarence Berken, Secretary-Treasurer Richard Fontenot, Jason Waller, Damian Bollich, Jude Doise; top row, left to right, Phillip Lamartiniere, Benjamin Rayburn for Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, Ronald Sonnier, Fred Zaunbrecher, Sammy Noel, Donald Berken, Michael Fruge and Dane Hebert.
Even though it has been several weeks since the presidential election, we are still trying to wrap our heads around what it means to have such a change in leadership at the top. We are a divided nation when we look at our differences, but when we look at our similarities, we don’t look that different.
When we look at rice research, we find we have much more in common among us than we have in conflict. The whole rice industry is interested in the same destination: the profitable production of rice. Every year we discover new roads to that destination, and we don’t go down the old roads anymore. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” The same is true of the rice industry.
Your Louisiana Rice Research Board concentrates by state statute on research to achieve maximum yield and quality at minimum cost per unit. In board discussions, we have asked ourselves to define “research,” place that definition in our minutes, and have it available to ensure that we use wisely the funds entrusted to us.
Here is that definition: “The term ‘research’ means any type of test, study, project, program or analysis designed to advance the production, use, agronomic traits, marketability or quality of rice, including, but not limited to, any investment or expenditure designed to expand and enhance such research efforts and resources needed in conducting research relating to yield, nutritional value, cost of production, new product development, health research and marketing of rice.”
In arriving at the destination of the profitable production of rice, we find that there are two fundamental issues that determine that outcome – supply and demand. Without adequate supply, we decimate our infrastructure, increase our cost per hundredweight and chase our customers to other sources. Without demand, we have nowhere to go with our product, rapidly lowering of farm gate prices and, again, decimating our infrastructure.
We can use research to discover ways to maximize supply and demand. You can be assured that your Rice Research Board is on the road to doing that with the resources you have invested.
Jackie Loewer, Chairman
Louisiana Rice Research Board