Rice marketing expert Milo Hamilton will be the featured speaker at the 2006 Field Day for the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station in Crowley, La., on June 29.

Hamilton, president and co-founder of Firstgrain Inc., has traveled and lectured widely in Asia, and he has published several articles on commodity trading and hedging.

Colleagues say Hamilton, who bought rice for Uncle Ben’s for 19 years, lives and breathes rice. That could be evidenced by the material printed on the back of his business card – a Chinese proverb that reads: "The precious things are not pearls and jade but the five grains, of which rice is first."

Branch rice farmer Jackie Loewer said Hamilton views the agricultural world through a wide-spectrum lens.

"He thinks somewhat differently from the rest of the industry," Loewer said. "He does his own homework and analyses, and he’s got contacts all over the world."

Hamilton indicates there is reason for optimism in the rice industry, and he said his talk is titled "The Future Will Be Bright." He also plans to discuss his thoughts that the U.S. rice market may be facing a shortfall, that world prices could increase and that U.S. farm programs face major cuts.

Other speakers for the June 29 field day at the research station at Crowley are expected to include Dr. Ernest Girouard, chairman of the Louisiana Rice Research Board, and Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter chancellor.

"The field day provides a unique opportunity for producers and others to have a firsthand look at what will be coming down the road for rice production in the future," said Steve Linscombe, director of the station and of the LSU AgCenter’s Southwest Region.

Linscombe said the turnout for the event frequently includes people who are not from Louisiana.

"Most years, we will have producers from other states and other countries," he said.

The day begins with field tours starting at 7:30 a.m. The last of those tours will leave no later than 9:15 a.m.

Brief talks on the tours will be given by a variety of LSU AgCenter researchers, including:

– Linscombe, Xueyan Sha and Brooks Blanche, who will discuss the LSU AgCenter’s rice breeding programs.

– David Lanclos and Boyd Padgett, who will give an update on soybean production.

– Don Groth and Chuck Rush, who will discuss rice disease control.

– Mike Stout and M.O. Way, who will talk about rice insect control.

– Richard Dunand and Eric Webster, who will cover rice physiology and weed control.

– Jason Bond and Tim Walker, researchers at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center, who will give an overview on rice agronomy.

Researchers also will be available to discuss their work at a poster session from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., and several agricultural equipment and supply vendors are expected to provide displays.

In addition, LSU AgCenter rice specialist Johnny Saichuk will be available to consult with individual farmers and provide answers to questions about their crops. Farmers who have questions related to diseases, insects or weeds should bring samples.

The field day will end with a lunch.

Email:flaws@farmpress.com