Grower investments in research pay off Sometimes if you don't brag a little on yourself, nobody else will. We met with the Rice Promotion Board recently (which did brag on us) to update them on our applied research results from this past year. The Promotion Board funded somewhere around $2 million in research projects at the University of Arkansas in 2000.

When we take the figures we get out of the Rice Verification Program, county agent multiplier fields, and individual grower comments, growers are saving between $10 and $20 per acre in herbicide costs using Command. If you apply that to 750,000 acres of rice in the Section 18 program, it amounts to $7.5 million to $15 million statewide in cost savings alone.

I also know from a grass control standpoint, we had the cleanest crop since I have been here. I don't know how to quantify that, but it was likely worth more than the cost savings. However, on the cost savings alone, if our weed science group returned you $7.5 million to $15 million from this one project, then hopefully you feel your checkoff dollars are putting money back in your pockets.

I have said this before, but will say again that you would not have had Command the past two years if it had not been for the University of Arkansas and the checkoff dollars you are putting into the program. Obviously, the company had to make the product and support the Section 18s. In addition, final authority for all Section 18s in the state rest with the Arkansas State Plant Board. However, it was the University of Arkansas that built the database with your support, and it was the University of Arkansas that wrote the justification for the Section 18 and took the risk on a project a lot of people felt could backfire.

I am a weed guy, but I like new varieties. I have always said that while you need us to help you keep them clean, choice of variety is the most critical decision you make in the production of the crop. I hear nothing but good things about Wells. It came right out of your checkoff dollars. In addition, from what I can tell, there are several other outstanding looking varieties set to come out of the breeding program the next few years.

I don't write articles like this for the farmers that attend the grower meetings and field days. However, there are a lot of successful growers out there that do not. You still occasionally hear, "The University doesn't do anything for me." At the same time, the guy was growing a university variety and using Command on it.

Sometimes you also hear, "We can get everything we need through the private sector." I am 100 percent for the private sector being successful. However, there are still things those of us in the public sector can do that others can not. The examples I cited here are only two.

We cherish our grower support. Hopefully you realize "those government and university folks do hit a lick every now and then."