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California farmer receives prestigious award at field day

During the General Session of the 2010 Annual Rice Field Day at the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs, Calif., George Tibbitts, a long-time family friend and rice grower that Jim Erdman has mentored in the business, presented Erdman with the California Rice Industry Award.

James R. Erdman received his B.S. from UC Davis in 1967, served in the California Army National Guard from 1967-74, joined the CCRRF Board of Directors and Rice Research Trust in 1969 and was re-elected and continuously served as a director until resigning in 2004.

In those 34 years, he was Board Chairman from 1985-87, provided leadership, addressed issues and budgets and saw staff hired and retired. Erdman has been actively involved in the growth and success of the Rice Experiment Station and facilitated the release of 37 new rice varieties that have delivered a cumulative yield increase valued at more than $1 billion.

Erdman’s additional board service in the California rice industry includes: Farmers Rice Cooperative director (14 years); Colusa Unified School Board of Education (12 years); Reclamation Dist. No.108 Board of Trustees (2003-present); President of Sacramento River Water Contractors Association (2007-present); and Colusa County Groundwater Commission.

Erdman began farming rice in Colusa County in 1968, and “... had the privilege of cooperating with every UCD Extension rice farm advisor, beginning with Marlin Brandon.” Erdman’s father, Fritz Erdman, was the 1976 California Rice Industry Award winner. Jim Erdman currently farms 2,500 acres of rice, wheat and row crops, and 400 acres of almonds.

He has traveled extensively and attended the first Hybrid Rice Symposium in Chengsha, China, in 1986 and has toured the Southern U.S. rice-producing area. He was born in Colusa and with Marilyn, his wife of 40 years, raised their three daughters in Colusa. Erdman has been a private pilot for 32 years and loves to fly.


‘Rice throw’ update

Last month, Rice Farming reached out to its readers for help in identifying the origin or the manufacturer of a beautiful rice throw that hangs in Stephen Bariola's office at Stratton Seed in Carlisle, Ark.

We received quite a few tips, which were followed up, but so far we still haven’t located a source for the rice throw. As editor of Rice Farming, I will continue the search and let everyone know if I am successful. My next plan of action is to walk through the entire Mid-South Farm and Gin Show at the end of February to see if someone may have a booth that features these throws.

If I do locate a source, then Rice Farming readership will be the first to know. You can check Twitter on our Web site – www.ricefarming.com – for the latest information on the “mystery of the rice throw.”


John Deere sweepstakes continues through February

The Green Fever Sweepstakes, which started in November and runs through Feb. 28, 2011, gives customers and prospects a chance to win a grand prize of either a new Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4 pickup and a new John Deere 1026R Sub-Compact Utility Tractor with loader or $50,000 cash.

To enter the Green Fever Sweepstakes, participants can stop by their local John Deere dealer to pick up a sweepstakes promo code card and check out the latest equipment for the farm and ranch, as well as for home and commercial lawn and landscape maintenance. With the promo code, customers can go online to complete and submit the sweepstakes registration.

Sweepstakes prizes were given away in the months of December and January, and another sweepstakes prize will be given away in February. The grand prize will be drawn on or about April 30, 2011.


Mississippi ag commodities post record values in 2010

Mississippi farmers are finding out not only what a difference a year makes, but also what a difference a decade makes.

Agricultural economists with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service predict a record $6.9 billion production value for the state’s farm enterprises. The figure represents a 19 percent increase, or $1.09 billion, from 2009’s disastrous bottom line. After adjusting for inflation of agricultural prices, it is 45 percent, or $1.55 billion better than in the year 2000. The previous record of $6.4 billion was set in 2005.

Extension agricultural economist John Michael Riley said all market values for Mississippi crops would have been even better if harvests had occurred at the market’s peak. For Mississippi rice, $224 million represents a percentage change from 2009 of up seven percent.


Mississippi-DREC releases conventional Rex rice cultivar

Last summer, researchers at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville released a new conventional variety named Rex.

“We test numerous rice lines in multiple environments each year,” says Tim Walker, a Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station agronomist.

“Rex has performed favorably for a few years,” he adds. “It was grown for seed purification in 2009, a necessary step before the line can be released.”

Rex is a long-grain, high-yielding semi-dwarf cultivar. The mature plant height of Rex averaged about 41 inches compared to 39 inches for Cocodrie. The variety has good tillering ability and excellent straw strength.

For more details about Rex, please visit msucares.com/crops/seed/news/rex.html.


Arkansas scholarship winners recognized

Randy Dempsey, center, and Bryan Elder, right, were awarded J.E. McAlister Scholarships during the annual Cache River Valley (CRV) field day in Cash, Ark., last summer. Pictured with the recipients is CRV’s Randy Woodard.

The J.E. McAlister Scholarship was started in 2004 when Randy and Cindy Woodard helped endow a scholarship in his honor. McAlister has devoted his life to agriculture – from farming to the seed industry. To qualify for the scholarship, a student must be an Arkansas State University ag major with at least a 3.0 grade point average.

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