Rice Farming


Industry News

Leonard Joseph ‘Lenny’ Hensgens will be remembered
The rice industry lost a pioneering leader Jan. 27 with the passing of Leonard Joseph “Lenny” Hensgens of Crowley, La.

Hensgens was born Oct. 7, 1929, in rural Acadia Parish, La. He was the oldest of six children, and after his father’s retirement, Hensgens became a full-time farmer, his occupation for 60 years.

He was chosen as Rice Festival Farmer of the Year in 1968 and the Rice Festival honoree in 1994. Hensgens was active in numerous local, state and national ag organizations and served as chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, Acadia Parish Farm Bureau, Acadia Rice Growers Assn., Louisiana Rice Council, USA Rice Council and Louisiana Rice Growers Assn.

He was vice chairman of the Food Safety/Information Clearinghouse Committee, a member of the La. Rice Promotion Board, the National Ag Assn., the Ag Technical Advisory Committee, USDA Rice Advisory Committee, Na-tional Rice Growers Assn. and National Assn. of Farmer-Elected Committees.

He worked to achieve an increase in check-off funds for research, re-organization of the La. Rice Research Board in 1987, promotion/marketing with Japan and west African nations and establishment of rice futures trading in Chicago.

Hensgens served in the United States Army from 1954 until 1956 and played semi-professional baseball for the Crowley Millers in 1950. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sarah Smith Hensgens of Crowley; two daughters; five grandchildren; a sister and two brothers.

Memorial donations can be made to the La. Rice Political Action Committee, Inc. at P.O. Box 1691, Lake Charles, La., 70602.

Corporate checks cannot be accepted.

Company donates combines for UA field research

Indiana-based Stewart Seeds, Inc., donated two research plot combines to the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Fred Bourland, director of field research units at Keiser and Marianna said the donation will help preserve valuable research data.

The Northeast Research and Extension Center at Keiser and Lon Mann Cotton Research Station at Marianna each harvests about 20,000 research plots per year of soybeans, corn, rice, wheat and grain sorghum. Harvesting with small plot combines is a slow process because the grain must be carefully processed to record research data.

New combines of a similar design would cost over $250,000 each.

“These are used, but they are in excellent condition,” Bourland says.

The combines were donated in memory of Gilman C. Stewart and in honor of John A. Stewart, the two sons of Arthur Stewart, who started producing and selling seed corn in 1918 in Greensburg, Ind.

Onset Computer Corp. unveils wireless weather station
A state-of-the-art research-grade weather station from Onset now provides growers, researchers and others with instant access to data anywhere, anytime, via the Internet.

The new system, which is priced at a fraction of the cost of competitive solutions, combines research-grade weather station hardware with built-in GSM cellular communications and HOBOlink, a revolutionary new Web-enabled software platform. HOBOlink allows users to access current and historical data, set alarm notifications and relay activations, and manage and control HOBO Remote Monitoring Systems without having to go to the field.

The monitoring system’s powerful alarm capabilities enable users to set up alarm conditions for any connected sensors and receive automatic notification via e-mail or cell phone text messages when monitored conditions exceed user-defined limits.

The system also includes a relay that can be activated by alarm conditions for automatically turning equipment on and off, such as irrigation controllers.

The HOBO Remote Monitoring System is priced at $799. Sensors, service plans and accessories are priced separately. Visit http://www.onsetcomp.com/rmsb.

Arkansas Rice Council directors honored
Carl Morrison III of Earle, Ark., and Wayne Gairhan of Trumann, Ark., were honored recently for their years of service to the Arkansas rice industry during the Arkansas Rice Council/Arkansas Rice Producers’ Group annual meeting in Brinkley. USA Rice Federation’s Chuck Wilson, left, presents a plaque to Morrison.

Mr. Morrison served on the Arkansas Rice Council board of directors from 1989 through 2007, and Mr. Gairhan served from 1998 through 2007. Both gentlemen also represented Arkansas on the USA Rice Council board of directors.

‘BasisTrader’ computer game teaches grain merchandising

“Don’t try this at home,” warns Andrew McKenzie about the “BasisTrader” computer game he created to help teach grain merchandising to students at the University of Arkansas.

McKenzie, an associate professor of agricultural business, and research associates Steven Nichols and James Smart designed an online version of BasisTrader for use by grain merchandising students.

Inexperienced traders might experience unpleasant surprises if they apply the game to real-life markets, McKenzie says. But farmers who wonder why the prices at their local grain elevator are so different from those quoted by the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) might gain some insight from the introduction and game overview by perusing the Web site listed below.

McKenzie’s courses in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences are intended for agribusiness majors interested in careers related to buying and selling commodities.

Basis-trading concepts were developed by grain merchandising firms but are now also used for commodities, such as treasury bonds, oil and natural gas, McKenzie says, which opens many career opportunities for graduates with basis-trading skills.

In the BasisTrader game, “students play the role of a grain merchandiser and must market and hedge positions over a marketing year,” McKenzie explains.

Visit http://www.uark.edu/ua/btrader/.

Meacham takes Rice Month scholarship grand prize
The USA Rice Federation awarded the National Rice Month Scholarship grand prize to Kathaleene Meacham of Brinkley, Ark. Meacham took top honors with a campaign centered on “Rice – It’s Family Friendly!” Her promotional activities highlighted four themes: the importance of rice to family meal times, family nutrition, family jobs and family farms.

The Arkansas winner worked to promote rice during September National Rice Month by starting a letter-writing campaign to local businesses about the importance of rice, constructing store displays about National Rice Month and developing a multi-media presentation and Web site.

USA Rice president and CEO Betsy Ward, right, presents the $3,500 scholarship to Meacham at the USA Rice Outlook Conference.