USA Rice opens annual rice scholarship video contest

• By Deborah Willenborg •

2020 usa rice scholarship winning video
A video made by Molly Ellis of McKinney Boyd High School, McKinney, Texas, took top honors in the USA Rice rice scholarship video contest.

If you’re thinking about how to pay for college next year — Think Rice — because the National Rice Month Scholarship video contest is here. And it’s easy to participate.

The contest is open to graduating high school students from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. It tasks students with creating a three-minute-or-less video that shines a light on rice.

“Educate, entertain and tell us why you think rice is special — to you, to your state, or to the world,” says the contest website,

Three guaranteed scholarship prizes, sponsored by the American Commodity Co. totaling $10,000 will be awarded. The grand-prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and a trip with a chaperone to the annual USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans.

Second-place receives a $3,000 scholarship, and third place receives $2,000.

“The video scholarship contest is an excellent program and we’re happy to support it through The Rice Foundation,” said ACC President & CEO Chris Crutchfield. “It not only helps students pursue their higher education goals, but it also helps spread the word about the impact of the U.S. rice industry. These young filmmakers research our industry and end up sharing all the great things we’re doing. We’re looking forward to another wave of creative videos in 2021.”

Last year’s winner

Last year’s grand prize winner, Molly Ellis, graduated from McKinney Boyd High School in McKinney, Texas, and is headed to the University of Texas in Arlington this fall. Her video on the history of Katy, Texas, was told in documentary style. She wove a narrative of the town from its origins as a rural rice farming community to a growing city that still features rice dryers, street signs named after rice farmers and an annual rice festival that celebrates the town’s heritage.

“I love making and editing videos, and when I began seeking out scholarship competitions, I came across the National Rice Month Scholarship,” Ellis said. “I checked out the contest website and got lots of information and tips on how to make a great video. I was able to apply experience I got working in my school’s audio/visual program to first craft the story, then shoot the video, and finally edit it all together for my three-minute entry.”

Ellis appeared as a guest on Episode 12 of the USA Rice podcast, The Rice Stuff, where she talked about how she found the scholarship online and tapped some family history to make the rice connection that became the inspiration for her video.

Entries are judged on creativity, quality and effectiveness in telling a story about U.S.-grown rice. The deadline to submit them is Oct. 31.

For more information, visit

This article originally appeared in USA Rice’s “The Daily.”

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