SACRAMENTO, CA — Session three of the 2012-14 Rice Leadership Development Program just concluded, providing participants with an overview of California’s rice marketing and production practices, crop diversity, conservation and environmental issues, and a close-up look at the state’s rice harvest. Class members met with key officials at Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, the California Rice Commission and Louie Brown with Kahn, Soares & Conway. Participants also learned about rice marketing activities, water management, social media tools, and conservation practices. At the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, participants observed a fish screen project that protects young Chinook juvenile salmon and provides water for rice growers. They also viewed the Oroville Dam, Lake Shasta and the Salinas Valley water systems. Nicole Van Vleck, an alumnus from the 2011-13 Leadership program, spoke about conservation practices at Montna Farms. USA Rice Millers Association Chairman Chris Crutchfield discussed marketing California medium-grain rice around the world and Michael Rue, chairman of the USA Rice Asia Trade Policy Committee discussed global trade issues. Class members observed rice harvesting on the ranches of Mark and Sandy Ottenwalter and Montna Farms before traveling to Lundberg Family Farms to observe their operation. Dr. Kent McKenzie, director of the California Rice Research Station in Biggs, gave an update on the state’s research efforts. Rice producer members are Timothy Gertson of Lissie, TX; Brian Barrett of Arbuckle, CA; Noble Guedon of Natchez, MS; Rance Daniels of Hornersville, MO, and Clint Roth of Stuttgart, AR. Industry-related members are Dr. Natalie Hummel with Bayer CropScience in Raleigh, NC, and Brice Lauppe with Farmers’ Rice Cooperative in Sacramento, CA. The Rice Leadership Development Program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc. and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and is managed by the USA Rice Federation. The leadership class will meet for its fourth and final session in Washington, D.C., in February in conjunction with USA Rice’s annual Government Affairs Conference.