Robert E. "Bob" Herkert, 42, manager of environmental affairs for the California Commission, died in his home in Colusa, Calif., Dec.19. For more than a decade, Herkert worked as a rice industry ambassador, building relationships and understanding of the rice industry around the state, both inside the rice industry and with the larger environmental community.

More recently, Herkert worked to build consensus to develop and pass legislation to assist the rice industry in finding alternative uses for rice straw. Herkert was instrumental in the passage of AB 2514 - The Rice Straw Alternatives Act of 2000 which gave growers $2 million to begin to find ways to use rice straw.

"Bob's legacy is partnership - he was an intense champion of the rice industry, but he knew the value of building partnerships to get the job done," said Bill Huffman, vice president, communications, Farmers' Rice Cooperative. "He will be missed."

Herkert is survived by his wife, Audra, son, Hans, and daughter, Hanna. Memorial gifts can be made to the Bob Herkert Memorial Fund at the Wells Fargo Bank located at 501 Market Street in Colusa.