Mark Isbell of North Little Rock, Arkansas, was named 2016 Rice Farmer of the Year at the Cotton & Rice Conference in Memphis. Isbell is part of a multi-generation rice farm in central Arkansas focused on zero-grade farming and rice behind rice rotation. He earned both a BA and an MA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he teaches part time.
Isbell also is a graduate of the Rice Leadership Development program and gave the class commencement address at their graduation ceremony during the 2015 USA Rice Government Affairs Conference.
Isbell’s speech focused on his main take-away from the two-year program: “We have learned leadership is not about position; it is about affecting change and carrying your load wherever you are.”
“I’m not surprised to see Mark acknowledged as Farmer of the Year at this major ag conference,” said Chuck Wilson, executive director of The Rice Foundation and manager of the Rice Leadership Development program. “He is an exceptional individual, recognized for his commitment and leadership by both his peers and the industry. Program participants are chosen for their leadership potential and it’s obvious Mark has already begun making the most of his.”
The Rice Leadership Program is generously sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc. and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and managed by USA Rice.