The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication skills. During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions designed to strengthen leadership skills and encompass studies of all aspects of the rice industry.

Each class is composed of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals. Class appointments are made by a committee of rice industry and agribusiness leaders based on candidate applications, letters of recommendation and personal interviews with selected finalists.

Candidates must be between the ages of 25 and 45 at the time of application and must derive their primary livelihood as rice producers or be employed in a rice industry-related occupation.

Individuals selected for the program will be announced in December at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans, La.

The Rice Leadership Development Program is sponsored by the John Deere Company and Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., through a grant to The Rice Foundation and is managed by the USA Rice Federation.

Additional information on the program as well as application forms may be obtained online from the USA Rice Web site at

www.usarice.com. Click on “Industry Affairs” then select “The Rice Foundation” from the menu on the left, and click on “Rice Leadership Info.” Scroll down to apply online. Applications also can be obtained by calling 870-673-7541.

Applications must be received by Oct. 2.