The Rice Foundation is accepting applications for the 2009 Rice Leadership Development Program. The program gives participants a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communications training.

During a two-year period, class members, comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals, attend four one-week sessions designed to strengthen leadership skills.

Class participants are selected by a committee of agribusiness leaders who evaluate the applications; review recommendation forms and conducts personal interviews with the finalists.

Participants must be 25-45 years of age at the time of application and derive their primary livelihood from some aspect of the rice industry. The application deadline is Oct. 4.

John Deere Company and Syngenta sponsor the program — managed by the USA Rice Federation — through a grant to The Rice Foundation.

For more information, application and recommendation forms visit the leadership development program.