USA Rice Leadership Class tours Rice Research Station

CROWLEY – Members of the 2008 USA Rice Leadership Development class toured the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station April 3.

Dr. Steve Linscombe, station director and LSU AgCenter regional director, gave a history of the facility and a summary of its mission.

The class toured both the research laboratories and the field research plots.

Linscombe, a member of the 1997 USA Rice leadership class, said this is an outstanding program and he gained a great deal of knowledge about the rice industry by participating.

“We appreciate the opportunity to showcase LSU AgCenter rice research and extension programs to the classes each year,” Linscombe said.

The 2008 visit was part of the class’ swing through Texas and Louisiana to see the rice infrastructure along the Gulf Coast. The class next went to the rice-growing region of Arkansas.

One class member, rice farmer Sean Doherty of College City, Calif., said he had the opportunity to see the few similarities and many differences between growing rice in Louisiana and California.

“We both use water and we both grow rice, and that’s about it,” he said.

Doherty said the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station was an eye-opener.

“I was really impressed with the facility,” he said. “There are a lot of things done here we could do in California. It was really enlightening.”

He said he was impressed with the LSU AgCenter’s DNA selection work to help develop new rice varieties. “We’re just now starting to get into it” in California, he said.

Kirk Meins of Stuttgart, Ark., said he has been to the Rice Research Station when he was an extension agent in Arkansas. He now grows rice.

Meins said the LSU AgCenter facility is an asset to Louisiana farmers. “I wish we had that in Arkansas,” he said.

Chuck Wilson, the USA Rice Foundation director in charge of the leadership development classes, said this part of the program allowed class members to see the sharp decline of the rice industry in Texas and the viability of the Louisiana rice industry.

“All that just jumps out at you,” Wilson said. “Everyone knows the importance of the LSU AgCenter to the rice industry.”

Other class members are Michael Fruge of Pearland, Texas; Dr. Carrie Castille of the LSU AgCenter; Blake Gerard of Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Dan Hosman of Jonesboro, Ark.; and Buddy Allen of Tunica, Miss.

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