As I write this column, you are no doubt busy in the field and maybe even done planting for the year. I trust you will have a good and safe growing season, and I look forward to visiting this summer during field days and other events. Then, following what we all hope will be a prosperous harvest, I very much hope to see you at our USA Rice Outlook Conference this December — it’s going to be an event like no other.
We will convene in beautiful Indian Wells, California, against the stunning backdrop of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, where we expect fantastic weather and a lineup of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities that promise to be informative, inspirational, and enjoyable.
Our keynote speakers are always one of the Outlook Conference’s highlights, and I’m pleased to announce that this year’s speaker is Eve Turow-Paul, a globally recognized author and expert on the intersection of food trends, the digital age, and well-being. As a Forbes contributor and the author of A Taste of Generation Yum: How the Millennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs, and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food, and most recently Hungry: Avocado Toast, Instagram Influencers, and Our Search for Connection and Meaning, Turow-Paul brings a unique perspective on food trends and culture, and how rice can seize opportunities as a new generation becomes the driving force of food spending.
We’ll also be offering educational breakout sessions that dive into topics important for farmers, millers, merchants, and food companies alike, from grain quality to data security. On the farm side, sessions will cover the (hopefully completed by then) Farm Bill, ag labor and the H2A/H2B process, farm succession planning, expanding your farm’s income stream, and developments in farm-to-restaurant direct marketing platforms — to name a few. Meanwhile, attendees down the value chain will benefit from sessions showcasing the latest consumer research, CRSPR technology, advances in packaging, grain enrichment, transportation, rice-based beverages, and more.
As always, U.S. politics, global rice stocks, and commodity markets will be put under a microscope, and we’ll hear research and outlook reports from seven rice states for 2024. Additionally, breeders and international customers from all over the world will convene at the Fourth Annual U.S. Rice Quality Symposium.
We’ll celebrate excellence in the rice industry as we do every year with the Rice Farming and USA Rice Awards luncheon where we’ll also have the opportunity to meet the new Leadership Development Class. We have a 17,000 square foot Exhibit Hall with more than a few surprises planned — and in an Outlook Conference first, we’ll take advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve ordered and the area’s famous golf courses to hold a golf tournament to benefit The Rice Foundation.
Of course, there will be plenty of networking and catching up with old friends, too. The 2023 USA Rice Outlook Conference is on track to be our best event yet — and the only way it can get better is if you join us — as an attendee, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, or all of the above! Go to www.usarice.com/outlook for more information or to register.
Have a wonderful summer, and see you in California!