Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe will deliver a keynote titled “What’s right with Arkansas,” at the outside-in 2012 Arkansas Rice Expo.

The second annual expo opens at 8 a.m., winding up with a free catfish lunch cooked by the Yoder Ruritan beginning at 12:20 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to hosting the first-ever outside-in field day,” said Chuck Wilson, director of the Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center. “We will have our traditional field day plot tours, but the rest of the activities will be inside the Grand Prairie Center.”

Last year’s Rice Expo drew more than 1,000 people despite 100-degree temperatures. With the record heat so far this summer, “we figure the air conditioning will be a welcome change,” Wilson said.

This year’s agenda:

  • 8 a.m. -- Registration, exhibits open.
  • 9 a.m. – Field tours begin with shuttle buses.
  • 9:10 a.m. – Virtual field tours begin in Salons A&B, Grand Prairie Center.
  • 9:15 a.m. – Extension garden guru Janet Carson on “Gardening in Rice Country.”
  • 10 a.m. – Joint Agriculture and Energy Committee hearing, Phillips County Community College-University of Arkansas Campus.
  • 11:15 a.m. – Welcome by Chuck Wilson, director of the Rice Research and Extension Center.
  • 11:20 a.m. – Rice Research and Promotion Board update by Rich Hillman.
  • 11:30 a.m. – USDA-ARS update by David Gealy, plant physiologist, Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center.
  • 11:40 a.m. – University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture update by Clarence Watson, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • 11:50 a.m. – Gov. Mike Beebe.

This year’s Rice Expo also features the finals of the Arkansas Rice Expo Recipe contest and the new pedal tractor derby.

This year, the 63,000-square-foot Grand Prairie Center will serve as the hub of activities for the Rice Expo, offering something for everyone in air-conditioned comfort. Opened in April 2011, the center features two salons that hold 420 and 210 people each; a catering kitchen; an outdoor cooking pavilion; four classrooms; four meeting rooms that can seat up to 30 people; and a 750-seat auditorium that can expand to 1,500 seats. There is plenty of parking.

The Grand Prairie Center is located at 2709 Highway 165 South in Stuttgart.

For more information about the Arkansas Rice Expo, visit www.uaex.edu, or call the Rice Research and Extension Center at (870) 673-2661.