By Deborah Willenborg, USA Rice
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Rice Leadership Development Program's Class of 2016-18 graduated from the prestigious program during a special ceremony at the USA Rice Federation's 2018 Government Affairs Conference yesterday. Rice Foundation Chairman Charley Mathews and USA Rice Chairman Brian King presided over the ceremony, congratulating the graduates and thanking program sponsors, John Deere, RiceTec, Inc., and American Commodity Company.
The class is made up of five rice producers: Michael Bosworth, Olivehurst, CA; Imran Khan, Chico, CA; Allen McLain, Abbeville, LA; Sidney Robnett, Stuttgart, AR; and Brandon Truax, Gillett, AR; and two industry-related members: Sunny Bottoms with Horizon Ag, and Kristopher Riggs with Anheuser-Busch.
Sidney Robnett served as class spokesperson. He expressed his appreciation to the many people the class met and the staggering amount of information the class was exposed to "by some of the greatest minds within the U.S. rice industry."
Robnett concluded his commencement speech with encouraging words for his fellow classmates. "I believe this class has prepared each one of us to take up the role of future leaders; to help in whatever role necessary to ensure that USA Rice has a bright and prosperous future. A future that we can be proud of for our kids and grandkids."
The class was immediately put to work representing the rice industry during the conference, participating in multiple meetings with Members of Congress, staff from key Congressional Committees, and agency representatives.
They also met with officials at CropLife America to discuss the responsible use of environmentally sound crop protection products, and got a lesson in the intricacies of the pesticide registration process at the Environmental Protection Agency.
While in Washington, the group is also scheduled to meet Ambassador Camilo Reyes of the Colombian Embassy to discuss the remarkable success of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement that allowed Colombia to become one of the top fifteen U.S. export markets, as well as attend the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee meetings.
The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication training. During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen their leadership skills.
If you have interest in applying for the 2019 Rice Leadership Development Program, contact Steve Linscombe at firstname.lastname@example.org.