Seven selected for the 2018-2020 Rice Leadership Program

2018-2020 rice leadership class

From left to right, Adam Famoso, Matthew Sligar, Brian McKenzie, Zach Urrutia, Zach Worrell and Brian Doyle. Not pictured is Scott Savage.

The Rice Foundation selected five producers and two industry representatives for the 2018-2020 Rice Leadership Development Program. The new class was announced at the recent USA Rice Outlook Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The two-year class, which features four one-week sessions, is designed to provide participants with an overview of the rice industry as well as different production areas. In addition, it is intended to give them the skills they need to take on additional industry leadership positions.

After applications are submitted in the fall, a committee of growers, industry representatives and leadership program graduates, reviews them and whittles them down to eight producers and four industry candidates. Those are then invited to individual panel interviews during the Rice Outlook Conference.

“It was probably the biggest number of applications this year, which makes it extra difficult for us interviewers,” says Charley Matthews, a Northern California rice producer, chairman of The Rice Foundation and leadership graduate.

The five producers selected were: Brad Doyle, Weiner, Arkansas; Brian McKenzie, Plumas Lake, California; Scott Savage, Bay City, Texas; Matthew Sligar, Gridley, California; and Zach Worrell, Homersville, Missouri.

Named to the two industry positions are Dr. Adam Famoso, a Louisiana State University AgCenter rice breeder in Crowley, and Zach Urrutia with California Family Foods in Williams, California.

The program is sponsored by the John Deere Co., RiceTec Inc. and American Commodity Co. through a grant to The Rice Foundation.