Industry News

Meredith Williams named Miss Arkansas Rice 2012-13

This past August, Meredith Williams, 18, daughter of Bill and Ruth Williams of White County, was named 2012-13 Miss Arkansas Rice. Bailey Dillinger of St. Francis County was first runner-up and second runner-up was Bailey Davis of Craighead County.

Representatives from seven counties participated in the state contest after winning their respective county contest. Other contestants were Stephanie Palmerin of Arkansas County, Brooklyn Devazier of Cross County, Elizabeth Pack of Lonoke County and Ashtyn Lowry of Monroe County.

Contestants were judged on their rice promotion activities, rice cooking skills and knowledge of the rice industry. Meredith’s recipe was Pineapple Rice Delight.

The Miss Arkansas Rice program encourages youth interest in rice and publicizes the importance of the Arkansas rice industry to the state’s economy. Prizes doubled for this year’s contest, with Miss Arkansas Rice receiving $1,000, first runner-up $500 and second runner-up $300. Each contestant that competed in the state contest received $100.

$1.3 million donated to fund UCCE specialist

Barbara Allen-Diaz, University of California vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, is pleased to announce that the California Rice Research Board has agreed to fund a UC Cooperative Extension specialist position for six years.

“I want to thank the California Rice Research Board for being the first. This innovative partnership between the agricultural community and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources recognizes the immediate importance of rice research and the need for this new funding model,” says Allen-Diaz.

The $800 million rice industry makes California the second largest rice producer in the nation. UC conducts research on weed control, pest management and variety testing for rice crops to keep California growers competitive in the world marketplace.

“The rice specialist was identified as a priority position for UC ANR in our position planning process, and the Rice Research Board has taken a bold step to enable us to launch this position sooner rather than later,” Allen-Diaz says. “This generous gift by the Rice Research Board will enable UC ANR to begin recruitment immediately, and the sixyear commitment gives the position stability. After six years, UC ANR will assume financial responsibility for the position.”

This specialist position, which will be based in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, will help UC ANR fulfill its mission as well as serve rice industry needs. “Hiring outstanding academics to do research and deliver new knowledge is critical to the sustainability of farmers and to the future of California,” says Allen-Diaz.

To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions, contact Cindy Barber at or (510) 987-9139.

LSU AgCenter helps improve Internet access in rural areas

For residents in 18 parishes where broadband Internet is underused or unavailable, LSU AgCenter personnel are providing information to show the value of high-speed Internet access.

The AgCenter’s broadband Internet education and awareness initiative, called Connect My Louisiana, shows the value of being connected to the Internet, said Dwight Landreneau, LSU AgCenter associate vice president. The program’s staff in the designated parishes provides classes to introduce residents and business owners to broadband Internet resources and to show them how they can be used to improve their lives.

One of the newest products available to those without broadband access is called fixed wireless. If a provider will come in, make the investment and put up the tower, then they can blast the signal all over the place. Residents and businesses get a small antenna to receive wireless Internet. The speed has been very good, and it is economical.

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