JONESBORO — Riceland Foods celebrated the farmer-owned cooperative’s 100th anniversary, reported sales of nearly $1 billion and announced a pledge of $100,000 to the Arkansas Future Farmer of America Foundation during the annual meeting held at the Embassy Suites Hotel Thursday.

Rex Nelson delivered the keynote address highlighting the rich history of Riceland Foods from its humble beginnings in 1921 to the world-renowned company it is today.

Chairman of the Board of Directors Roger Pohlner spoke about the cooperative’s greatest assets, its members and employees, during his remarks.

“As Riceland enters its second century of operation, I fully believe its brightest days lie ahead and the best is yet to come,” Pohlner said.

Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dallas gave the financial review from the 2020-2021 marketing year, reporting sales of $995 million and distribution to members of $600 million. Dallas reported the long grain seasonal pool paid $6.28 per bushel when adjusted for freight, storage, and interest. This was a $0.61 premium to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) season average price. For soybeans, the seasonal pool paid out $11.09 per bushel, a $0.29 premium to USDA average price.

“Overall, we had a strong year with good returns to our members,” Dallas said. “Higher commodity prices and strong demand drove revenue to nearly $1 billion and distributions to our members of $600 million.”

Ben Noble, executive vice president and chief operating officer, recognized 20 Riceland members as part of the Harvest 100 program.

“These members represent the foundation of our cooperative,” Noble said. “They have delivered commodities to their local driers for decades, and they are also dedicated, loyal champions of Riceland Foods. They have passed down family farming traditions across generations, and we are thankful to celebrate our 100th harvest with them.”

Ashten Adamson Denman, director of marketing, celebrated 13 employees selected as finalists for Riceland’s Grow Good Award. Team members were nominated by their peers to represent 13 key areas of the company. They have an outstanding work ethic, always strive to take time for others, maintain a positive attitude, represent Riceland well inside and outside the workplace and just add good to everything they do.

“Each of these individuals are winners. They represent the best of Riceland, and they go above and beyond for our cooperative,” Denman said.

The winner of the 2021 Grow Good Award is Johnnie Brown from Dumas, Ark. He is the drier operator at Riceland’s Dumas Grain Drier, and he has been with the cooperative for 44 years.

“Johnnie is the epitome of what the Grow Good Award represents, and I am honored to present this award of recognition to him as our first Grow Good Award recipient,” she said.

Riceland board member and farmer Jennifer James announced the cooperative’s pledge of $100,000 to the Arkansas Future Farmer of America Foundation to assist with upgrades to Camp Couchdale.

“As farmers, we focus our time and resources on preserving the land,” James said. “This pledge confirms our commitment to the future generation, one of our most precious resources. These young people will farm the land we leave behind. Preparing them for a future in agriculture is the greatest investment we can make.”

Riceland Foods and its family farmers have provided the world with wholesome, nutritious rice since 1921. Grown in the United States, the rice is known for its high quality and versatility, and that’s why Riceland has become a trusted brand around the globe. Riceland is a cooperative, which means we are owned by our 5,500 family farmer members who are also stockholders and growers. For more information visit: www.riceland.com.

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