USA Rice Foundation Chairman Marvin Hare announced the selection of the 2009 Rice Leadership Development class during the recent USA Rice Outlook Conference. The class is comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals selected by a committee of agribusiness leaders.

Candidates must be 25 to 45 years old at the time of application and derive their primary livelihood from some aspect of the rice industry.

The new class includes producer Kirk Satterfield of Benoit, Miss.; producer Brandon Bauman of Stuttgart, Ark.; California producers Josh Sheppard and Tom Butler of Biggs and Robbins respectively; and producer John Earles of Bunkie, La. Industry-related members are Chad Duckworth of Jonesboro, Ark., and Kyle Stovesand of Stuttgart, Ark.

“We are excited about this new class of future industry leaders, and I look forward to their future contributions to the rice industry,” Hare said.

The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communications training. During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen their leadership skills.

Rice Leadership alumni are currently serving in key positions on various industry boards and committees.

John Deere Company and Syngenta sponsor the Rice Leadership Development Program through a grant to the Rice Foundation. The USA Rice Federation administers the program.