Session three of the Rice Leadership Development Program recently concluded, providing participants with an overview of rice marketing and production practices, crop diversity, conservation and environmental issues and a close-up look at the state’s rice harvest.

Class members met with key officials at Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, the California Rice Commission and Louie Brown with Kahn, Soares & Conway. Participants also learned about rice marketing activities, water management, social media tools, and conservation practices.

At the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, participants observed a fish screen project that protects young Chinook juvenile salmon and provides water for rice growers. They also viewed the Oroville Dam, Lake Shasta, and the Salinas Valley water systems.

Nicole Van Vleck, Co-Chair, USA Rice Federation Marketability and Competitiveness Task Force spoke about conservation practices at Montna Farms and USA Rice Federation Asia, Turkey Promotion Subcommittee Chairman Chris Crutchfield discussed marketing California medium-grain rice around the world and Michael Rue, chairman, Asia Trade Policy Committee discussed trade issues around the world.

Class members observed rice harvesting on the ranches of Leo LaGrande and Montna Farms before traveling to Lundberg Family Farms to observe their operation. At Sun Valley Rice Company the class observed the processing of brown spouted rice. And in Biggs, CA, Dr. Kent McKenzie, director of the California Rice Research gave an update on the state’s research efforts.

Rice producer members of the class are Marc Breckenridge of Durham, CA; Galen Franz of Victoria, TX; Mark Pousson of Welsh, LA, Paul Zaunbrecher of Rayne, LA and Scott Gairhan of Trumann, AR. Industry-related members are Park Eldridge with Lehman Elevator of Gillett, AR and Brendan O’Donnell with Sun Valley Rice Company of Sacramento, CA.

John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc. and American Commodity Company sponsor the Rice Leadership Development Program through a grant to the Rice Foundation, and the USA Rice Federation administers it.