Jackson county residents are bringing in the rice

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-September is National Rice Month and the Jackson County Farm Bureau Women's Committee celebrated that fact on Wednesday.

They held a "Rice Tasting" event at the Iron Mountain Depot in Newport.

The public was invited to come out and enjoy a variety of home made rice dishes.

Volunteer for the Jackson County Farm Bureau Women's Committee, Louise Runyan, says

"Since we in Jackson County grow lots of rice," Runyan said. "And Arkansas is number one in rice production we decided to have a rice tasting. It's many different types of rice to show that rice does not always have to be rice for breakfast or rice pudding. It can be prepared in many different ways."

Runyan says anywhere from forty to forty-five people brought their own special rice dish to share with the public.

She says they hold these types of events to educate the public on how significant rice production is in Jackson County.

"We have approximately 25 rice farmers and over 35,000 people employed in the rice industry," Runyan said. "Which brings in over 4 billion dollars to Arkansas. We're hoping people will go home and eat rice because it is so important to the rice economy."

Peggy Grey from Swifton attended the Rice Tasting and says she thinks it's a great idea.

"I think it's wonderful," Grey said. "It promotes rice and our farming community here and we get to meet a lot of nice people."

Runyan says they hold events like this to open people's eyes to the significance of rice in the Region 8 area.

"This is why we have National Rice Month," Runyan said. "So, people can realize how important it is to the economy of Jackson County and also to Arkansas. And to the whole United States. Like I said, we are the leading rice producer in the United States and that's something to be proud of."

Eloise Hite of Newport attended the rice tasting and said she got a lot out of the event.

"I love it," Hite said. "I love to come and sample new foods and we need to be using a lot of rice anyway. So, this is a way to get recipes and everybody can join in."

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