The Oct. 1 deadline is rapidly approaching for the Rice Foundation's 2012 Rice Leadership Development Program. Rice producers or industry-related professionals ages 25-45 are eligible to apply.

The Rice Leadership Development Program provides a comprehensive understanding of the 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 through studies of all aspects of the rice industry.

The class is composed of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals chosen by a committee of agribusiness leaders. The committee evaluates the applications of all candidates, reviews letters of recommendation and conducts personal interviews with the finalists.

The program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc. and American Commodity Company through a grant to the Rice Foundation and managed by the USA Rice Federation.