The USA Rice Federation is looking for the industry's next leaders through its Rice Leadership Development Program.

Rice producers and others in industry-related occupations are encouraged to apply for the next Rice Leadership Development Program class. The deadline for applications is Oct. 4, 2003.

Comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals, the Rice Leadership Development Program provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry. During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen leadership skills, improve personal development and communication skills, and provide information about all aspects of the rice industry.

A committee of rice industry and agribusiness leaders evaluates candidate applications and letters of recommendation and conducts personal interviews to select the class. 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 Biloxi, Miss.

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

For additional information or an application form, visit www.usarice.com or call 870-673-7541.