Starting Rice Farming Education Early in Louisiana
By Kane Webb
KAPLAN, LOUISIANA – Last week, Julie and Christian Richard opened their farm and shop to host the first-grade class from the St. Michael School of Crowley, Louisiana. Class and family member Saul Richard served as host and guide once mom and dad set everything up.
The students traded in their school uniforms for “on the farm attire,” and although the rain prevented the students from witnessing some rice harvest firsthand, they did learn a lot about what sustainable rice farming is all about. The tour included multiple stops around the shop and bins in between rain showers, to give the students a chance to ask questions about anything and everything that takes place on the farm. The class was also treated to samples of home cooked rice and rice snacks, including Rice Krispy treats, and their own “Rice” license plate to take home and put on their parents’ cars!
“Any time we are able to demonstrate and visit with people, old and young alike, on how rice farming and the rice industry works, we do so,” said Christian Richard on the opportunity to host his son’s class to their farm. “Many of these kids live near agriculture here in the Acadian area, but don’t get the opportunity to learn where their food comes from, or the care and responsibility growers put into producing their crops”.
Julie Richard added, “While this seems like a simple thing to do, a short trip to a local farm, the lasting impression it can leave on young people goes a long way to having an understanding of how farming works. More than half of these kids have parents and grandparents who are farmers, yet they still ask a ton of questions. Sometimes we get so caught up in educating the general public and those in urban areas we forget that our own kids need that same understanding of what we do. They are our future and if this group of kids is any indication of what is too come, we are in great shape.”