The annual meeting of the Mississippi Rice Council is set for Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Bolivar County Extension Auditorium in Cleveland, Miss.

Registration will begin at 9:15 a.m. and the meeting program will start at 10 a.m.

This year’s meeting will provide valuable information for Mississippi rice farmers and the affiliated industry as the program is highlighted by the participation of Dennis DeLaughter, president of Progressive Farm Management, Inc. A licensed floor trader on the Chicago Board of Trade and a member of the Mid-American Commodity Exchange in Chicago, DeLaughter manages over 5,000 acres of rice and grain farmland in south Texas. DeLaughter also serves on the board of directors of several rice and agribusinesses in the area.

DeLaughter is a former chairman of the board of the US Rice Producers Association and currently serves on the organization’s market advisory committee. He is a past member of the USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee and has testified before Congress on several occasions with regards to issues of agricultural trade and domestic farm policies.

DeLaughter also conducts marketing seminars on futures as well as business plans for farmers.

Other presentations will include an update on agriculture policies from Capitol Hill by Hunt Shipman of Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, D.C.; a review of the rice research program from Tim Walker and Nathan Buehring of the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss.; and an update from Dwight Roberts of the US Rice Producers Association.

Donald Gant, chairman of the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, and Gibb Steele, chairman of the US Rice Producers Political Action Committee, will also give comments at the meeting.

Lunch will be catered by Eddie Harris.

Gary Fioranelli, president of the Mississippi Rice Council and a rice farmer from Bolivar County, encourages all Mississippi rice farmers, rice mills and rice industry affiliates to attend the meeting. “Our meeting this year will provide important information to our state’s rice industry and it is important to use the occasion to network and hear the concerns and opinions from within our statewide organizations,” said Fioranelli.

For more information call the US Rice Producers Association at (713) 974-7423.