In a recent press release, the USA Rice Federation is encouraging high school seniors throughout rice country to invest some of their vacation time in planning an innovative promotion activity for September Rice Month. The rice promotion not only promotes awareness of U.S. rice in your community but also may mean that you will win some significant scholarship money to help pay for your college education.
The scholarship contest offers prizes totaling $8,500. the grand prize is a $4,000 scholarship and a trip to the 2011 USA Rice Outlook Conference in Austin, Texas, for the scholarship presentation. The second-place winner will receive $3,000 and third-place $1,500. The Conference will be held Dec. 8-10 at the Hilton Austin Hotel.
According to the USA Rice Federation, high school seniors from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas can qualify to enter by conducting a promotion activity in their local communities during September with U.S.-grown rice as the central theme.
Last year’s grand prize winner was Taylor Granger from Jennings, La., for his “Rice Rocks” entry.
Granger says he learned a lot through researching rice and talking with community members about the significance of the tiny grain. This included an increased awareness of the role rice plays in the local economy. “Rice is bigger than anything else around this area,” Granger says.
As the president of his high school FFA organization, Granger encouraged his fellow FFA members and classmates to get involved. Together they participated in the local 5K Rice Run/Walk, which Jennings, La., has hosted for the past 20 years to promote rice and healthy living.
Granger also reached out to young children and other local organizations to spread the word about the health benefits of rice. Granger created cookbooks, appeared on local television stations and spoke to elementary students to spread his passion for and knowledge of the rice industry.
Part of Granger’s mission was to make students his age aware that “rice is more than just grass” and that it affects everyone in the community. Granger demonstrated that not only does rice affect the farmers’ income, but it also affects the job market for local youth. Many kids work for rice farmers, driving tractors or working in the fields.
“The rice industry gives kids the opportunity to learn how to work,” Granger says. “You learn that you can achieve something with your own two hands.”
Haley Gregory, from Brinkley, Ark., who won a $3,000 scholarship for her second-place entry “Using Rice to Stretch Your Budget and Promote Healthier Eating Habits;” and Hannah Miller, from Crowley, La., who earned a $1,500 scholarship for her “Have You Had Your Rice Today?” submission.
Monies for the scholarships are provided by Dow AgroSciences. Applicants can get more information at http://www.usarice.com.