RICE AWARDS Horizon Ag, Rice Farming magazine and USA Rice are proud to bring you the recipients of the 2016 Rice Awards. The program highlights three honorees for their contributions to the success of the rice industry through the Rice Farmer of the Year, the Rice Industry Award and the Rice Lifetime Achievement Award.
Richard Fontenot RICE FARMER OF THE YEAR AWARD
PHOTOS BY VICKY BOYD
fi fth-generation farmer, Richard Fontenot and his additional funding above and beyond check-off monies to brother, Neal, operate R&N Farms in Evangeline support rice research efforts in Louisiana,” says Dr. Steve Parish. They annually grow about 1,500 acres each Linscombe, director and breeder at the Rice Research Staof rice and soybeans as well as some crawfish. The tion in Crowley. partnership also runs a precision leveling business. Retired Louisiana rice specialist Johnny Saichuk recalls “My ancestors started their operation as cotton share cropworking with Fontenot in the Rice Research Verification Propers, which later evolved into rice production in the midgram. “Each week I visited one of his fields and made all rec1900s,” Fontenot says. “My grandfather, Otis, was a rice ommendations regarding rice production on that field for that industry pioneer in our area through his production, consergrowing season,” he says. “Th rough this weekly process, we vation and industry advocacy efforts. Th rough the years, my got to know each other well, and I hope that the program asfather, Bryan, advanced those endeavors, laying the foundasisted him. It was difficult to measure success because Richard tion for my brother and me to begin our careers. was already a successful rice farmer and remains one.” “Each family member brings a different dynamic and perFontenot is also a dedicated advocate for all agriculture and spective to the operation. credits Louisiana Farm BuMy father and I operate our reau and USA Rice for aldrying facility, while my lowing him the privilege of brother and I own and opserving the Louisiana and erate R&N Farms, which U.S. rice industries. LFBF handles all production acPresident Ronald Andertivities. Without the supson says, “Richard knows port and counsel of my famthe importance of service ily, I would not have been to one’s community and inable to participate in rice dustry to ensure a bright fuindustry and agriculture adture for the next generation. vocacy activities. It is truly Th roughout his service, all of us who are receiving Richard has always encourthis award.” aged young producers to On the production side, become active in organiFontenot is a fi rm believer zations and get involved in in precision agriculture. The Louisiana rice producers Neal (left) and Richard Fontenot the issues that impact their brothers have developed a livelihoods.” zone management production strategy through precision land Fontenot especially enjoys volunteer work with youth orleveling, grid soil sampling, and variable-rate applications. ganizations, such as 4-H and FFA. “If we support and develRichard and Neal are both Louisiana Master Farmer certified op these programs, they will help preserve our heritage and and have a variety of ongoing conservation programs on their produce future advocates for agriculture,” he says. “It is also farm. R&N Farms typically produces a ratoon crop on about crucial that we share our message with anyone who will listen, 50 percent of the rice acres and believes stubble management especially those who are governing and regulating what we do is the key to improve the ratoon crop’s yield and quality. on a daily basis.” Fontenot cooperates closely with researchers, Extension As a child, one of Fontenot’s fondest memories was eating agents and seed, fertilizer and chemical dealers in conducting lunch with the men in the field out of the back of the car or research and demonstrating new technology. He credits the on the tailgate of the closest truck under an old pecan or oak intensive use and stewardship of Clearfield rice technology tree. And today, he wakes up every morning to a career, not over the past 10-plus years with allowing them to eliminate a job. “I am proud to be a rice farmer,” he says. “We work red rice in many fields. In fact, the Fontenots can now drillhard to produce our crop and protect our resources for the seed conventional varieties in some fields where this would next generation.” have been impossible previously. Congratulations to Richard Fontenot – outstanding pro“Th rough Richard’s dedication and perseverance, the ducer, industry advocate, dedicated family man and the 2016 Louisiana Rice Research Board recently was able to secure Rice Farmer of the Year.
Richard Fontenot Ville Platte, La.
• B.S. Agricultural Business, Louisiana State University • Member of Evangeline Parish Rice Growers Association, Louisiana Rice Growers Association, Louisiana Rice Council and USA Rice Conservation Committee • Currently serves as secretary-treasurer of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, past chairman of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Rice Advisory Committee and the American Farm Bureau Rice Advisory Committee, Evangeline Parish Soil and Water Conservation District • LFBF’s 3rd vice president, Evangeline Parish Farm Bureau past president • Serves on board of directors of USA Rice and USA Rice Farmers; American Farm Bureau Technology Committee chairman • Numerous awards and recognitions, including 2015 Distinguished Service Award – Louisiana Rice Council and Louisiana Rice Growers • Member of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Catholic Church, Ville Platte, La. • Married to wife, Rhonda. One son: Lance, 10
Dr. Steve Linscombe RICE INDUSTRY AWARD
PHOTOS BY BRUCE SCHULTZ
or more than 34 years, Dr. Steve Linscombe has largest and most productive specialty rice breeding effort in worked as a rice scientist with the LSU AgCenter. the United States. Recently, the program also began efforts to He initially served as the statewide rice agronomist develop rice hybrids. for the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. In Linscombe has fostered close working relationships with 1988, Linscombe began to pursue his major field of expertise many of the major U.S. rice mills and the large rice end-uswhen asked to lead LSU AgCenter’s rice varietal development ers. Currently, the only Southern U.S. rice varieties approved efforts. Today, he still enjoys pulling on his boots and walkby Kellogg’s for cereal manufacture have been developed and ing the plots at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in released by the LSU program. These include Jupiter, developed Crowley. by Dr. Sha, as well as Cypress, CL111, CL131, CL151, CL161, During Linscombe’s tenure, 32 new rice varieties have been Bengal and CL261. Linscombe also has expanded the producdeveloped and released from the LSU AgCenter’s rice breedtivity of the Puerto Rico winter nursery. ing program. Of these, he has been directly responsible for Louisiana rice farmer Jimmy Hoppe says, “When Dr. Linsthe development of 24. Th ree cooperating breeders who have combe became the LSU AgCenter rice variety breeder, I worked worked in the project over with him as an off-station the past 28 years – Drs. cooperator for variety Farman Jodari, Xueyan development. I’ve been Sha and Sterling Blanche privileged to continue – developed the remainthis cooperation for 20 ing eight. Several varieties years. During this time, I from this program are rechave seen the total dediognized as quality stancation he has for our indards, and in some cases, dustry, taking every step growers are paid a preminecessary to bring new um when they are sold. varieties and manageThe average rice yield ment systems forward for in Louisiana has increased the benefit of the entire to an estimated 7,200 Linscombe plants rice plots at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. rice industry.” pounds per acre in 2015 LSU AgCenter weed from 4,500 pounds per acre in 1988. A large portion of the scientist Eric Webster, says, “The dramatic increase in yields increase can be attributed to genetic improvement. In addition we’ve seen in rice varieties released from the LSU AgCenter to yield, rice quality traits have improved during this period breeding program has saved many producers’ farms, livelias well. hoods and, in some cases, families. It’s difficult to accurately Linscombe says playing a part in bringing the Clearfield measure the value Steve’s program has had on Louisiana, othtechnology to the industry is one of the most rewarding mileer rice-producing states and rice-producing countries around stones in his career. the world.” “It has had such a dramatic positive impact on the industry In looking to the future of U.S. rice production, Linscombe in allowing us not only to control red rice but also, especially says, “During my career and beyond, the rice industry has alin Louisiana, to alter our production practices in certain cases. ways shown great resilience and the ability to overcome hard For example, some farmers are now able to enjoy the environtimes. In the future, I am confident it will continue to do so. mental advantages inherent in dry-seeding rice. In the area of rice breeding, new technology will facilitate the “Releasing a new variety is always rewarding. And at the rice breeder’s ability to deliver improved varieties and hybrids Rice Research Station, it is totally a team effort. My fellow more quickly and efficiently. However, with everything new research scientists and the people who work with me on a daytechnology has to offer, tomorrow’s rice breeders will still adto-day basis in the breeding project are dedicated, hard workhere to the concept of ‘qualitative eyes on the plants’ evaluaing and deserve a huge amount of credit.” tion going forward.” Today, LSU AgCenter’s rice variety development proFor his years of commitment and dedication, it is a pleasure gram includes conventional long and medium grains, Clearto name Dr. Steve Linscombe as the 2016 recipient of the Rice field long and medium grains, Provisia long grains, and the Industry Award.
Dr. Steve Linscombe Crowley, La.
• B.S., Animal Science, Louisiana State University; M.S., Plant Breeding, LSU; Ph.D., Agronomy, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Mississippi State University • Director of the LSU AgCenter Southwest Region and H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station • Released 24 rice cultivars to date • Serves on numerous LSU AgCenter committees • Currently serves on USA Rice Rice Regulatory Affairs & Food Safety Committee, Rice Sustainability Task Force, Rice Competitiveness and Marketability Task Force, and the Rice Foundation Funding Task Force • Governor-appointed member of the White Lake Conservation Area Advisory Committee; served four years as chairman • Numerous awards and recognitions, including 2007 Rice Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016 Distinguished Rice Research Team Award – Rice Technical Working Group, and 2016 Hall of Fame – Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association • Married to wife, Judy. Two sons: Chas and Ryan. Daughter: Darian
Gary Sebree RICE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
PHOTOS BY CARROLL SMITH
s a 9-year-old, Gary Sebree began going to the personal computers into his operation. “I bought an IBM farm with his dad, Grady, and worked there computer that had 64K memory and one floppy disk,” he says. during his high school summers when he wasn’t “With this machine, some accounting software and a dot maplaying baseball. Knowing that the operation altrix printer, I kept my books and knew where I stood every ready supported three families, he decided to forego farming month. I realized if I was trying to sell a crop and pick a price, and attend Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., majoring in I had to know what my profit level was.” science and pre-med. Sebree fell ill during school and had to Although Sebree’s true passion is growing rice, he has alreturn home for a lengthy recuperation period. A year later, ways understood that the success of his farming operation is he returned to Hendrix, but no longer felt that he was on the linked to the strength of the overall rice industry. In 1971, right career path. at the age of 29, he was elected to the Board of Directors at “I didn’t tell anybody I was coming home,” Sebree says. “I Producers Rice Mill where he served for 43 consecutive years, just showed up and told my dad I wanted to farm. I worked including 24 years as chairman. During this time, he helped there as a ‘hired hand’ for two years, and then married Phyllis. grow annual member receipts from 6.2 million bushels to I began a partnership with my more than 60 million bushels cousin, Roger, who wanted to by 2011. All of this was acfarm, too. We farmed as partcomplished while returns to ners for 23 years.” members exceeded the nationSebree eventually bought out al average for prices received by Roger, and then bought out his farmers for 25 years straight. father and uncles over several Sebree also has worked at years to acquire the family opboth the state and national eration. His grandfather, Henlevels over the past 50 years, ry Dillard, started the farm in holding numerous leadership about 1915, and today Sebree positions. U.S. Rep. Marion farms about 1,500 acres of rice Berry, D-Ark., says, “From and soybeans under the name Farm Bill negotiations to Fish Lake. A third-generation trade initiatives, Gary has infarmer, he planted his fi rst solo fluenced policy decisions that rice crop in 1963 and his 53rd will affect generations to come. Arkansas rice farmer Gary Sebree and his wife, Phyllis consecutive rice crop in 2016. No matter what ‘title’ he wore, Like anyone engaged in the Gary woke up every day of his farming business, Sebree is the fi rst to admit that he has seen career trying to make the rice industry more successful.” his share of hard times. Most notably was the extreme drought In his quest to expand U.S. rice markets, Sebree led one of and heat wave in the summer of 1980 that almost put the family the fi rst delegations to Cuba more than 10 years ago, personalout of business. To put it in perspective, he only cut 400 bushly meeting with Fidel Castro and laying the early groundwork els of soybeans on a 100-acre field and hauled them all to the for future trade with that country. He always seeks to deepen mill in one bob-truck. Sebree then put together a plan to save relationships with anyone interested in consuming U.S. rice. the farm by cutting overhead, restructuring the operation and When asked what it means to him personally to have been increasing yield through intensive input management. chosen for this award, Sebree says he is humbled and honored. After diverting near disaster, the Arkansas farmer recog“I owe so much to my wife, Phyllis, who has stood beside me nized the critical nature of water availability on the Grand in good times and in bad. I also give credit for my success to Prairie in the early 1980s and the need for water conservation. everyone with whom I have worked both on the farm and at Sebree installed tailwater collection systems and underground Producers Rice Mill. I have always had good people around pipe and reservoirs to capture rain and runoff water. To enme and hope that I have provided the leadership needed to hance habitat and the hunting experience for him and his famhelp create a bright future for the U.S. rice industry.” ily, he has planted many trees and cover for wildlife. For his years as an innovative rice farmer and tireless serSebree is also an innovator in the realm of technology and vice to the industry, it is an honor to name Gary Sebree as the was one of the fi rst farmers in the country to incorporate recipient of the 2016 Rice Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gary Sebree Stuttgart, Ark.
• Farms about 1,500 acres of rice and soybeans • Served on the Producers Rice Mill Board of Directors for 43 consecutive years, 24 of those as chairman • Past chairman, USA Rice. As chairman, he led a delegation to Cuba that met with Fidel Castro to promote U.S. rice. • Past chairman, USA Rice Foundation and USA Rice Producers Group • Past chairman, Arkansas Rice Farmers and Arkansas Rice Federation • Key leader on the original Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board • Served as mayor of Almyra, Ark., and on the Arkansas County Bank Board of Directors and Dewitt School Board • 1998 Arkansas Rice Farmer of the Year • Member of First United Methodist Church, Stuttgart, Ark. • Married to wife, Phyllis. Two children: Shay (wife, Stacey) and Stacy (husband, Jim). Four grandchildren: Spencer, 18; Shields, 15; Hayden, 11; and Alex, 9
orizon Ag welcomes you to Memphis, Tenn. Our home office has been in Memphis since the company was formed, and we are excited about having the rice industry converge in our back yard. Th rough the years, the Rice Outlook Conference has provided a venue where members of the rice family can come together at year end and celebrate our successes and lament our misfortunes. In my almost 20 years of working in the rice industry, I don’t recall a year when the challenges were greater across the entire rice community. Thus, this year we may have more lamentations than celebrations, but with whom better do we have to endure our hardships than family and friends who know and support us, regardless. In spite of the difficulties we’ve encountered in our industry this year, optimism has brought us to close the book on 2016 and anticipate better days in 2017. In that spirit, we also celebrate the successes of three meritorious individuals who throughout their lives have dreamed big and put their proverbial hands to the plow through good times and bad times. They are honored today by their peers as having distinguished themselves by making the rice industry better. The Rice Industry Award honors the person who has proven to be innovative in his or her role in this industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the person who has dedicated his or her life to the viability of the U.S. rice industry. The Rice Farmer of the Year Award honors a producer who has shown determination, innovation and dedication to growing the crop. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means eff ort, pain, diffi culty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led diffi cult lives and led them well.” Our award winners have not enjoyed success by avoiding obstacles, rather they have diligently overcome the trials and setbacks in life many times over and hence have been successful. On behalf of Horizon Ag, we congratulate the 2016 Rice Farming Magazine Award Winners. Furthermore, we appreciate all of those who continue to allow Horizon Ag to be successful by trusting in our brand and offerings each year. We join everyone in our industry in hoping for brighter days to come. Tim Walker Horizon Ag General Manager
Horizon Ag would like to recognize past Rice Awards recipients. 1992 Dennis Leonards, Crowley, La.
1993 Jacko Garrett Jr., Danbury, Texas
1994 Nolen Canon, Tunica, Miss.
1995 Duane Gaither, Walnut Ridge, Ark.
1996 Leroy & Chris Isbell, England, Ark.
1997 Charles Berry, Tunica, Miss. John Denison, Iowa, La. Paul Haidusek, Devers, Texas Errol Lounsberry, Vermilion Parish, La. Charley Mathews Jr., Marysville, Calif. Patrick Mullen, Des Arc, Ark. Fred Tanner, Bernie, Mo.
1998 Tommy Andrus, Moorhead, Miss. Don Bransford, Colusa, Calif. Larry Devillier Jr., Winnie, Texas Dennis Robison, Poplar Bluff, Mo. Gary Sebree, Stuttgart, Ark. Linda Zaunbrecher, Gueydon, La.
1999 Ken Collins, Biggs, Calif. James “Jimmy” Hoppe, Fenton, La. Charles Parker Johnson, Neelyville, Mo. Abbott Myers, Dundee, Miss. Lowell George “L.G.” Raun Jr., El Campo, Texas Martin Walt Jr., Dumas, Ark.
2000 John B. Alter, DeWitt, Ark. R. Ernest Girouard Jr., Kaplan, La. Bill Griffith, Boyle, Miss. Ken Minton, Dexter, Mo. Michael Rue, Marysville, Calif. J.D. “Des” Woods, Katy, Texas
Rice Farmer of the Year: Larry and Candice Davis, Bolivar County, Miss. Rice Industry Award: Jack Williams, UC Cooperative Extension Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: David LaCour, Vermilion Parish, La.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Tommy Ray Oliver, Stuttgart, Ark. Rice Industry Award: Howard Cormier, LSU AgCenter, Abbeville, La. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Leland L. Carle, Stuttgart, Ark.
Rice Farmer of the Year: David Monroe Smith Jr., Jonesboro, Ark. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter, Crowley, La. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Lundberg Brothers, Richvale, Calif.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Dane Hebert, Maurice, La. Rice Industry Award: Dr. M.O. “Mo” Way, Texas A&M, Beaumont, Texas Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Joseph Musick, LSU AgCenter, Crowley, La.
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Rice Farmer of the Year: John Greer, Jonesboro, Ark.
Rice Industry Award: Charles “Eddie” Eskew, Jennings, La. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Donald Bransford, Colusa, Calif.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Gibb Steele, Hollandale, Miss. Rice Industry Award: Chuck Wilson, DeWitt, Ark. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: John Denison, Iowa, La.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Clarence Berken, Lake Arthur, La. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Joe Street, Stoneville, Miss. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Steve Linscombe, Crowley, La.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Milton LaMalfa, Richvale, Calif. Rice Industry Award: John Cummings, Fort Collins, Colo. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Martin Ahrent, Corning, Ark.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Curtis Berry, Robinsonville, Miss. Rice Industry Award: John E. Broussard Jr., Fairfax, Va. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Carl Wayne Brothers, Stuttgart, Ark.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Greg, C.J. and Jeff Durand, St. Martinville, La. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Richard J. Norman, Fayetteville, Ark. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Elaine T. Champagne, New Orleans, La.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Mark Wimpy, Jonesboro, Ark. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Rick Cartwright, Little Rock, Ark. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Jacko Garrett Jr., Danbury, Texas
Rice Farmer of the Year: Jim Whitaker, McGehee, Ark. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Donald Groth, Rayne, La. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim Erdman, Colusa, Calif.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Joe Aguzzi, Cleveland, Miss. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Eric Webster, Baton Rouge, La. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Elton Kennedy, Mer Rouge, La.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Fred Zaunbrecher, Duson, La. Rice Industry Award: Dr. Kent McKenzie, Biggs, Calif. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Marvin Baden, Stuttgart, Ark.
Rice Farmer of the Year: Jerry Hoskyn, Stuttgart, Ark. Rice Industry Award: Keith Fontenot, Ville Platte, La. Rice Lifetime Achievement Award: Jimmy Hoppe, Fenton, La.