Growing up, I was always one of those people with a fully detailed five-year plan written down and set to the side. I found one of those plans recently and couldn’t help but laugh. Out loud. A lot. Let’s just say I am able to (and dare I say sometimes thrive when I go through both short and long-term seasons of unexpected change much more than I would have a decade ago. Over the past several years, I’ve learned to look ahead to what I can plan for and leave some room for flexibility at the same time because — as we all know — not much goes along perfectly with our plans in life.
This month’s issue of Rice Farming is full of examples for planning ahead as we can.
Extension specialists from U.S. rice-producing states relay their thoughts on the 2023 season in pages eight through 10. Hunter Bowman, Mississippi State University Extension rice specialist, said “Another positive toward the end of the year was many growers began needing more storage than originally planned for the rice crop.“ This was obviously a good surprise and one to keep in mind and plan for moving forward.
Pages 11 through 18 detail the winners of the 2023 Rice Awards: Rice Farmer of the Year, Mr. Jeremy Jones of Arkansas; Rice Industry Award, Dr. Ronnie Levy of Louisiana; and Rice Lifetime Achievement Award, Mrs. Betsy Ward of USA Rice. Each one of these three individuals is well-versed in the industry and the unique challenges that come with it. Overcoming obstacles and changes in plans were both parts of the puzzle that led them to where they are today. Help me wish all of them congratulations!
The 2024 Rice Seed Guide is listed from pages 22 through 24. Dyna-Gro, Horizon Ag, and RiceTec have sent in their variety listings for the next year, which are going to be great pieces of information to gather when preparing for the 2024 crop. Though you can’t plan for everything, you can do the best you can with the information given to find what best applies to your operation.
Whether it be the uncertain weather, the lack of finality of the Farm Bill, or the ever-changing landscape of water regulations, there are many aspects to the rice industry that may shift at a moment’s notice. Plan for what you can, leave some room for change, and start the next year off right.
I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!