Saturday, February 4, 2023

Learning as I go: My first exposure to rice in 2022

Cassidy Nemec,
Associate Editor

B

efore I began this job, someone told me that rice is a “whole different kind of cat” when it comes to crop production. I grew up in a land full of cotton, interlaced with some corn, milo, soybeans and wheat, and I don’t believe I fully comprehended what that might mean until this past year.

Rice is different. It takes a different kind of irrigation system, and timing is crucial. There are so many elements to the crop, but in my initial findings and proliferation of new terms and groups associated with it, I learned how close-knit the rice industry is. I had many describe it more along the lines of a big family, and I can’t say I’ve found anything that contradicts that.

Across the board, it seemed like everyone I spoke with knew of nearly every person in the industry, both young and “experienced.” I’ve learned USA Rice plays a massive role for the present and future of rice throughout the U.S. and world. While keeping up with all the latest conservation and sustainability efforts and methods, USA Rice also has so many industry resources on their website. They are huge advocates for rice and want to prepare everyone else in the industry to be advocates as well. 

The Rice Leadership Development program is one way they’re helping others gain insight into the country’s — and world’s — rice. There are numerous ways to get involved with this organization — if you already are, keep sharing with others! 

This month’s Rice Farming discusses row rice as a consideration for those who have it as a viable option for their area. This was another lesson for me. Three specialists from three different states shared their wealth of knowledge in regard to the topic, and I found their perspectives to be fascinating. 

I like to say a big aspect of growing is learning, and I can attest that I’ve grown through having such exposure to the rice industry these past several months. Whether it was a field day, a phone interview or a field visit, I took bits of information from each that I was unaware of beforehand. While I am so far from being an expert in these matters, or anywhere remotely close to those I’ve spoken to in terms of rice knowledge, I’m honored I can bring the vast intelligence of so many to readers and that I get the opportunity to continue to learn more every day.

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