Make Plans To Attend Summer Field Days

June 5, 2013

Summer has finally arrived, and many rice field days have been scheduled to showcase the latest information in all areas of rice production. Go to the Rice Farming home page and look under “Events” to see where and when they are being held this year. The men and women involved in the preparations to make sure everything runs smoothly have worked very hard to make these field days worth your while to attend. Kudos to all of them!!

Rice field days not only are opportunities to gather good information but also a time to take advantage of the camaraderie of others involved in the rice industry and enjoy a good meal at the end of the sessions. Many field days also feature interesting guest speakers. Obviously, you are busy, busy, busy during the summer months, but, if at all possible, try to take off a few hours to attend a rice field day in your area. It’s always worth it.

Make Plans To Attend Summer Field Days

June 5, 2013

Summer has finally arrived, and many rice field days have been scheduled to showcase the latest information in all areas of rice production. Go to the Rice Farming home page and look under “Events” to see where and when they are being held this year. The men and women involved in the preparations to make sure everything runs smoothly have worked very hard to make these fields worth your while to attend. Kudos to all of them!!

Rice field days not only are opportunities to gather good information but also a time to take advantage of the camaraderie of others involved in the rice industry and enjoy a good meal at the end of the sessions. Many field days also feature interesting guest speakers. Obviously, you are busy, busy, busy during the summer months, but, if at all possible, try to take off a few hours to attend a rice field day in your area. It’s always worth it!

It’s Showtime!

February 21, 2013

For more than 60 years, folks throughout the South have made the trip to Memphis, Tenn., to take part in the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. In less than a week, they will once again pack up the family and head this way to see the latest in agricultural equipment, products and services and hear commodity updates and other ag-related presentations.
This year’s Gin Show takes place on March 1-2 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis.
The Ag Updates begin at 8:30 a.m. both days. On Friday, speakers include Jimmy Dodson, NCC chairman; Carl Brothers, senior vice president, Riceland Foods and Joe Nicosia, cotton merchant. At 1:15 on Friday afternoon, Mid-South specialists will conduct a seminar on Irrigation Technology, and, at 2:30, Milo Hamilton with Firstgrain, Inc., will hold a Rice Marketing Seminar.
On Saturday morning, marketing expert, Richard Brock, will talk about the grain market outlook and marketing strategies for 2013. That afternoon at 1:30, special exhibitor seminars will be held.
The exhibits open at 9 a.m., so be sure to make the rounds and talk to the company representatives who are looking forward to visiting with you and answering any questions you might have.
Make your plans now to attend this informative, family friendly show. Cash prizes will be given away during both days, and, of course, the ever-popular puppy will be given away to some lucky person on Saturday at 3 p.m. You must be present to win.
For more information and to pre-register, go online at http://www.farmandginshow.com.
See you there!

Nominations Open for 2012 Rice Awards

May 23, 2012

Since 1992, Rice Farming magazine, the USA Rice Federation and an industry sponsor, which, today, is Horizon Ag, have honored rice producers and rice industry leaders for their innovation, leadership, management, marketing strategies and involvement in the U.S. rice industry. The Rice Award categories include Rice Farmer of the Year, Rice Industry award and Rice Lifetime Achievement award.

Nominations are now open for the 2012 Rice Awards. Please take a moment to nominate a deserving candidate that you feel should be the recipient of one of these awards. Since the panel of judges is made up of leaders in the U.S. rice industry from across the Rice Belt, it’s very helpful to include as much background information about the nominee as you can. I also urge you to have others in the rice industry who know this person to write letters of recommendation that can be included in the packet that the judges receive.

Having as much information as possible helps the panel of judges choose the most deserving recipients.

The nomination form can be downloaded from the Rice Farming Web site home page http://www.ricefarming.com This form, along with all supporting materials, should be sent to Carroll Smith, Editor of Rice Farming. Fax: 901-767-4026. Mail: 1010 June Road, Suite 102, Memphis, TN 38119. Scan/Email: csmith@onegrower.com.

I look forward to receiving your nominations!

Promote U.S. Rice & Go For The Gold

May 20, 2011

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Oil Spill: Bird Habitats In The Spotlight

July 14, 2010

The BP oil spill has been at the top of the news for months now as the company continues its efforts to stop the flow and clean up the oily mess that is drifting onto our Southern shores. I witnessed some of the damage myself last week during a trip to the Gulf Coast.

The massive oil spill has touched the lives of many people and threatened all types of wildlife. Let’s talk about birds, specifically, for a moment. An NRCS initiative and a Field Sampling For Waterfowl Food project aimed at migratory birds as well as birds native to the rice-growing areas have been launched and rice farmers, as well as other farmers, ranchers and landowners, are being invited to participate.

Following is information about the NRCS’s Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative and below that information is a letter from Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter about the study (Sampling of Fields for Waterfowl Food Sources) that Louisiana is collaborating on with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan–Gulf Coast Joint Venture and Mississippi State University (MSU).

Please take the time to read about both of these very important endeavors and help out in any way you can. Our beautiful North American birds are depending on you.

Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is adversely affecting the marshes and coastlands used by shorebirds, waterfowl, and other birds that will soon be traveling through the area on their annual migration south.
Under a new Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative, USDA will work with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to manage portions of their land to enhance habitat for migrating birds. 

The initiative includes portions of eight States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.

Summary of the Initiative
NRCS will improve habitat conditions and food sources for migratory birds likely to be impacted by the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. This initiative will be delivered through two components: one component will be available on private agricultural lands and the second on Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement lands. NRCS will be working in cooperation with private landowners and other partners to establish habitat and food sources as well as improve the overall habitat management on participating lands. Read the entire summary

Additional Information
Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program Map
Wetlands Reserve Program Map
Priority Birds Species Lists
Essential NRCS Conservation Practice Standards
Justification for Habitat Priority Areas

Contacts
NRCS State Contacts List
National and Partner Migratory Bird Experts List

Sampling of Fields for Waterfowl Food Sources

The LSU AgCenter is cooperating with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan–Gulf Coast Joint Venture and Mississippi State University (MSU) in a study to estimate abundance of waste rice and natural seeds in rice production and idled rice fields in the coastal prairie regions of Louisiana and Texas. Rice and other agricultural lands provide important foods and resting areas for waterfowl and other birds in these regions. Given declines in coastal wetlands and recent catastrophes from hurricanes and the oil spill, your agricultural lands are increasingly important as critical habitat for ducks, geese, and other birds.

The goal is to obtain soil core samples from harvested rice and idled rice fields in both states. A soil core is simply a plug of soil about 4 inches in both diameter and depth. The soil cores are used to determine the amount of rice and natural seeds left in fields following harvest. This information is used to estimate potential food abundance for waterfowl in rice fields, which will help identify and recommend waterfowl habitat management practices that are beneficial to both birds and agricultural producers.

The plan is to sample production and idled rice fields following first harvest (August) and again following completion of the second crop harvest (November – December). The sampling will cause no negative impacts to your property, farming operations, or equipment. Simply, two student researchers will manually extract 10 or so core samples from 1-2 of your fields. The time on your property should not exceed 2-3 hours per sampling trip.

Within the next couple of weeks, rice producers in coastal Louisiana and Texas will be contacted to request cooperation in this study. In the meantime, if you would like to volunteer your fields for inclusion in this study, or if you have questions about this study, please feel free to email or call Dr. Brian Davis bdavis@cfr.msstate.edu (662-325-4790). Your cooperation in this study would be greatly appreciated.

Louisiana Threatened With Surface Water Fee

May 7, 2010

(Scroll down to read abstract of Rep. Fannin’s proposed bill to counteract this threat).
If you have never contacted your state representatives and/or senators, now is definitely the time to do so, especially if you farm in Louisiana.
Joe Mapes, with the Louisiana Farm Bureau, recently sent out a disturbing announcement that was passed along to the rice community by Randy Jemison, USA Rice Federation’s director of Louisiana field services.
“Louisiana agriculture is facing its biggest threat in 50 years,” Mapes says. “Louisiana’s attorney general recently issued five opinions saying the state owns ALL running surface water such as lakes, rivers, streams and bayous and that the state cannot give the water away and must charge a fee for its use.
“Representative Jim Fannin (Democrat District 13) has filed a bill that protects and defends agriculture’s right to use water at no cost from the state to produce crops, livestock, poultry and timber. To view a copy of the bill, go to http://legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=699056.”
Mapes urges everyone involved in Louisiana agriculture to look over the bill, then call their state representatives at (225) 342-6945 and state senators at (225) 342-2040 to let them know how you want them to vote on HB 1449 that will be heard in the House Civil Law committee. It also helps to talk to your representatives and senators when they come home from the sessions on weekends, and email them as well. To find the links for email addresses, go to http://www.thelobby.net and click on the Resources tab on the left.
“Do not hesitate,” Mapes says. “If agriculture has to start paying the state to use surface water, it will jeopardize agriculture’s profitability and put more strain on ground water in the aquifers. Then, we might be paying the state to use ground and surface water.”
To view the abstract for the legislation, go to http://www.ricefarming.com and click on the Editor’s Blog “Call to Action.”
As east-central crop consultant Roger Carter, who is an avid proponent of farmers being proactive in “political agriculture,” would say, “Call and check in with your representation to let them know that you are thinking of them…regularly.” To take on the attitude of “I don’t have the time. Let someone else do it” is not going to get it done. What that could get you, though, is a big, fat state fee if you depend on Louisiana’s surface water to help produce your crop.
Instead, be persistent in seeking support for the bill that “protects and defends agriculture’s right to use water at no cost from the state.” Please take this Call to Action seriously. You may not get another chance.

Following is an abstract for the proposed legislation filed by representative Jim Fannin:

Abstract: Provides for the right of riparian owners to assign their rights to access the running waters of the state to others, transfer for agricultural and aquacultural use by
public entities, and to prohibit any fees charged by the state.
Proposed law allows a riparian owner to assign access rights for surface water adjacent to his riparian land for any agricultural or aquacultural purpose by the non-riparian owner provided such withdrawal of running surface water is environmentally and ecologically sound, would not adversely impact the sustainability of the water body, or have undue impacts on navigation, public drinking water supplies, stream flow energy, sediment load and distribution, and certain other circumstances.
Proposed law provides for the definition of “agricultural or aquacultural purpose”. Proposed law prohibits any state fee from being charged for usage except where the state contracts or assigns rights for withdrawal.
Effective upon signature of governor or lapse of time for gubernatorial action.
(Adds R.S. 9:1103)

‘Next Year’ Is Here. It’s Time To Roll

March 19, 2010

It’s mid-March, and we are finally getting some warm pretty days after months of rain and clouds. You can tell it’s almost time to plant when you can actually smell the damp earth, whether it’s out in your field, in a backyard garden or even in a flower bed.

It smells of hope and a fresh beginning. After an awful weather-related harvest last fall, many folks were heard to say, “Just wait till next year.” Well, next year is here, and it’s time to roll. Crank up the planters, and let’s see if Mother Nature will be a little more cooperative this year.

As for myself, I’ll be planting flowers pretty soon. It’s a spring ritual for me that I used to share with my elderly neighbor. He used to work in the ag industry for many years. Although his body was feeble, his mind was sharp. He always set our “planting date,” then sat in his chair and gave me advice on just how to mix the right amount of dirt and potting soil, how much fertilizer to add and how far apart to space the plants.

I suppose you could say he was my “consultant!” But he obviously knew what he was doing because the flowers and plants flourished all summer long.

I’m sorry to say that he won’t be with me this year to guide me through the spring ritual, but I do remember everything he told me to do in previous years and will follow his legacy to the letter. He would expect no less.
I imagine multi-generational farmers feel much this same way. Each generation passes down knowledge based on experience to the next generation and so it goes. Listen to the wisdom of those who have “been there, done that,” but don’t be afraid to try some new things, too. There’s a lot of new technology to work with out there to complement the tried and true.

It’s spring. So get out there, plant and nurture your crops and hopefully enjoy a bountiful harvest this fall. After I plant my flowers and prune my plants, I look forward to heading out to the rice field. See you there…

Disaster $$$ Approved by Senate

March 11, 2010

Good news for farmers who suffered crop losses from weather-related disasters came March 10 when the U.S. Senate passed Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-AR) agriculture disaster aid package. Following are the details that appeared in a press release from the Senator’s office. Although the press release is tailored to Lincoln’s Arkansas constituents, remember that “the legislation would provide an estimated $1.1 billion in supplemental payments to producers [not just in Arkansas] who suffered crop losses in counties declared ‘primary’ disaster areas by USDA.”

Lincoln Agriculture Disaster Aid Passed by Senate

Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today said Arkansas farmers affected by weather-related disasters are one step closer to receiving relief. The U.S. Senate today approved Lincoln’s $1.5 billion disaster package as part of the Tax Extenders Act of 2009.
“Our farmers provide the safest, most affordable, most abundant food supply in the world. We cannot afford to see them forced out of business because of weather conditions out of their control. This will provide the relief producers need to stay in business, saving jobs right here in Arkansas,” Lincoln said.
“The disaster assistance bill will provide significant help to those Arkansas producers who suffered devastating weather and disastrous crop harvests in 2009. Direct crop losses for cotton, cottonseed, corn, rice, soybeans, sorghum and grass hay in Arkansas were estimated by UA Division of Agriculture economists to have been $400 million. This direct loss reverberated through the Arkansas economy with a reduction of employment of 3,700 and lost wages of $102 million. Value-added activities, such as reductions in crop processing and reduced household spending, were reduced by an additional $202 million,” said Dr. Eric Wailes, L.C. Carter Endowed Chair Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
In Arkansas, agriculture provides more than 270,000 jobs and contributes more than $9 billion each year to the state’s economy.
“Farmers need certainty to make planning decisions for the planting season. While previous efforts to pass disaster assistance have taken nearly 3 years, this package is based on bipartisan legislation I introduced just over 3 months ago. As the legislative process continues, I will work closely with my colleagues in Congress to ensure producers will receive this relief in a timely manner,” Lincoln said.
The legislation would provide an estimated $1.1 billion in supplemental payments to producers who suffered crop losses in counties declared “primary” disaster areas by USDA.
Also included is $300 million to assist specialty crop producers, $75 million in emergency loans to poultry producers, $50 million in assistance for livestock producers, $25 million in aquaculture assistance and $42 million to aid first handlers of cottonseed.

Pre-Season Warm-Up

February 17, 2010

It’s almost time to kick-off the 2010 rice-growing season, but before we do, there are several important meetings and events that you may want to attend to gather more knowledge to help make 2010 a profitable year.

First is the Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Rice Council to be held Thursday, February 18 at the Bolivar county Extension Auditorium in Cleveland, Miss. Registration will begin at 9:15 a.m. and the meeting program will start at 10:00 a.m.

The theme of the meeting is “Where Are Rice Prices Going?” This obviously is an important topic for rice producers, so don’t miss out on this event.

This year’s meeting will provide valuable information for the Mississippi rice farmers and the affiliated industry as the program is highlighted by the participation of Mr. Dennis DeLaughter, President of Progressive Farm Management, Inc. A licensed floor trader on the Chicago Board of Trade and a member of the Mid-American Commodity Exchange in Chicago, Mr. DeLaughter manages over 5,000 acres of rice and grain farmland in South Texas.

Other presentations at this year’s annual meeting of Mississippi rice farmers will include an update on agriculture policies from Capitol Hill by Hunt Shipman of Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., a review of the rice research program from Tim Walker and Nathan Buehring of the Delta Research & Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi and an update from Dwight Roberts of the US Rice Producers Association. Donald Gant, Chairman of the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, and Gibb Steele, Chairman of the US Rice Producers Political Action Committee, will also give comments at the meeting. Lunch will be catered by Eddie Harris.

For more information call the office of the US Rice Producers Association at 1-713-974-7423.

Next, it’s show time! The Mid-South Farm & Gin Show will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center on Feb. 26-27.

One of the main highlights will be Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). You’re invited to a special session featuring Senator Lincoln, D-AR, chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, scheduled for 1:30 PM, Saturday, February 27, 2010. The session will be held in the Steamboat Room, Mezzanine Level, Cook Convention Center, Memphis, Tennessee. Senator Lincoln is expected to provide an update on current policy issues facing American agriculture and upcoming Senate Ag Committee activities.

The Gin Show will kick off on Friday at 8:30 a.m. with the annual Ag Update. Slated to speak that morning are Carl Brothers of Riceland Foods, Joe Nicosia of Allenberg Cotton and Eddie Smith, newly elected chairman of the National Cotton Council.

Headlining the Ag Update on Saturday morning will be Richard Brock of Brock & Associates. He will give his grain update and marketing strategies report.

Also scheduled for Friday afternoon is a special Weed Resistance Seminar.

Lots of good information on tap, so make plans to pack your bags and head to Memphis!


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