Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Industry News: February 2024

USA Rice Welcomes New International Trade Policy Director

Karah Fissel

Karah Fissel has joined USA Rice as the new director for international trade policy. Karah will manage the International Trade Policy Committee and its subcommittees, and her first week will be spent traveling to Costa Rica for the International Promotion Planning Committee meetings.

Most recently, Karah served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) where, since 2020, she oversaw regional coverage of first, Central America and then, Mexico. She was instrumental in coordinating USDA strategy for the U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade relationship including liaising with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) during the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute settlement panel with Mexico regarding measures related to biotechnology. She also led USDA efforts to address trade barriers, including on rice, and enforce bilateral trade commitments amid increasingly protectionist policy actions in Central America.

Prior to joining FAS, Karah served at USTR in both the Offices of Agricultural Affairs and the General Counsel where she worked on various trade issues including the Generalized System of Preferences, disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and negotiations of the USMCA Chapter on Intellectual Property.

Karah graduated from James Madison University where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and advising young women leaders of the Alpha Sigma Tau national sorority.

“USA Rice staff have worked with Karah over the past six years through her roles at USDA and USTR,” said USA Rice president and CEO Peter Bachmann. “I believe she will make a great addition to our team at a time when we’re exploring the many opportunities for growing our exports in global markets.”

    — Deborah Willenborg, USA Rice

Famoso named director of LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station

LSU AgCenter rice breeder Adam Famoso speaks during a field day at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. Famoso was recently named director of the station.
LSU AgCenter file photo

The LSU AgCenter has named Adam Famoso resident director and research coordinator of its H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station near Crowley.

Famoso, a rice breeder who has been central to the station’s variety development efforts, assumed the role Jan. 1.

He now oversees an acclaimed research facility where scientists not only create new rice varieties but also study strategies for managing pests and overcoming agronomic challenges — work that is critical to keeping farmers profitable.

Rice has an annual economic impact of more than $550 million in Louisiana. And the benefits of the station’s research can be seen in countries around the world where rice is a staple crop.

“By becoming resident director and research coordinator while still directing the LSU AgCenter rice variety development program, Dr. Famoso will be able to maximize the efficient use of Rice Research Station resources going forward to continue to support and enhance the development of rice varieties, which are so critical to the economic viability of the Louisiana rice industry,” said Michael Salassi, executive associate vice president of the AgCenter and director of its research arm, the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station.

Kurt Guidry, an economist and the previous resident director, is now an assistant resident director providing support to Famoso and helping lead station operations.

Famoso came to the AgCenter in 2015. A native of New Jersey, he earned his doctorate in plant breeding and genetics from Cornell University in 2010. He previously worked for DuPont Pioneer (Corteva).

At the AgCenter, he has used his expertise in molecular genetics and incorporated new technologies to advance the rice breeding program.

“I am excited to work with our faculty, administration, producers, and the rice industry in this capacity,” Famoso said. “Our commitment remains steadfast in optimizing resources to deliver industry-focused and impactful research and Extension services.”

    — Olivia McClure, LSU AgCenter Communications

Mississippi Farm Bureau YF&R Scholarship Application Period Open

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee is excited to offer 11 competitive scholarships for college agriculture students for the 2024-2025 academic year.

This year, the scholarship deadline has been moved to May 1, 2024, and all scholarship applications MUST be submitted online via the following link: https://form.jotform.com/231346541948057

11 competitive scholarships will be awarded through the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Scholarship Foundation:

a. Six General Young Farmers & Ranchers Scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each for those attending any Mississippi university or community college.

b. Hugh Arant Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 for a student attending Mississippi State University.

c. Don Waller Honorarium Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 for a student attending any Mississippi university or community college.

d. David Waide YF&R Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 for a student attending any Mississippi university or community college.

e. Mississippi Farm Bureau Leaders in Agriculture Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 for a student attending Alcorn State University.

f. MFBF Region 8 Young Farmers & Ranchers Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 for a student who is a county Farm Bureau member in Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, or Stone counties attending any Mississippi university or community college.

    — Mississippi Farm Bureau

2024 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

The 72nd annual Mid-South Farm & Gin Show returns in March to the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Parking is available at the Renasant Convention Center parking garage and other nearby lots. For more information and to register for the show, please visit https://www.farmandginshow.com/.

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