Two Louisiana rice industry leaders honored for years of service

randy jemison USA rice

Randy Jemison, second from right, was honored recently with a distinguished service award from the Louisiana Rice Council and Louisiana Rice Growers Association. Jemison retired last year as the Louisiana field representative for USA Rice. Also pictured are, from left, Jemison’s daughter Megan Blanchard, son-in-law Todd Blanchard, wife, Mary Jemison; and son David Ross Jemison. Photo by Bruce Schultz, LSU AgCenter

Randy Jemison, retired Louisiana field representative for USA Rice, was honored recently by the Louisiana Rice Council and the Louisiana Rice Growers Association with a distinguished service award.

The award was presented at the annual joint meeting of the two organizations Feb. 21 by rice grower Kevin Berken of Lake Arthur, according to a news release.

He says Jemison, from Kinder, Louisiana, became a vital part of the rice industry with his keen organizational skills and his knowledge of farm policy after he retired from rice farming.

“He knew what we were thinking before we asked the questions,” Berken says. “He was simply very good at his job.”

Jemison, who was surprised by the award, says he enjoyed his work because of the people.

Kevin Berken Louisiana rice farmer

Kevin Berken, center, was recognized for his work as chairman of the Louisiana Rice Political Action Committee. Pictured with Berken are his wife, Shirley, and Jeffrey Sylvester, current LARPAC chairman. Photo by Bruce Schultz, LSU AgCenter

“The greatest people to work for in the world are the people in the rice industry of Louisiana,” he says.

Jemison retired last year after working for USA Rice since 2001. He was replaced by Cane Webb of Lake Charles.

Berken also received an award for his work as chairman of the Louisiana Rice Political Action Committee. It was presented by the current chair, farmer Jeffrey Sylvester of Whiteville.