Rice Planting Complete and Spotlight: My Friend Lindley

Planting is still in full force with our tractors scattered all over the farm.  Our heavy clay good rice soils dried out and we finished planting our rice today!  I am excited to be down to only soybeans left to plant.  So far the spring has had its ups and downs but we seem to be moving along at a good pace.  This week I was featured on the Kellogg’s blog for Mother’s Day.  This was such an honor for me!  I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many of the great people at Kellogg through my work in sustainability.  You can read the post here.

I believe women today are opening new doors and achieving goals our mothers never even dreamed possible.  Plus we may also be wives; (and farm wives at that) and mothers too.  I have a little trouble with the “pinterest effect” on women today too.  Our lives aren’t perfect; our meals are not gourmet; our decor is not all like a Joanna Gaines’ home; and we do have piles of dirty laundry!  Life is hard work no matter your job or gender or family composition!!  I have had people say to me “I don’t know how you do it all!” and my reply is I DON’T!!  I have help, including paid help, family support and a really good calendar!  In this light I want to lift up some of my peers and showcase all the different personalities, jobs, tips, and accomplishments of my friends in agriculture.  My hope is that by lifting these women it will help others to rise to see themselves in a job that is focused on agriculture.

LINDLEY GILLIAUM – Agriculture Grant Coordinator/Senior Instructor ASUN

Lindley Gilliaum with her daughter

I have known Lindley since forever!  We love the same hometown and the same industry.  I have watched her career for years as she progressed from field work to education.  She has found her stride in this newest job and I can tell she truly loves the challenge she has been given.  And may I say she is knocking it out of the park!

Lindley is a life long resident of Newport, Arkansas and graduated from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.  During her senior summer of college she interned for Lawhon Farm Services in McCrory, Arkansas as a field scout/consultant.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with what that job entails – it means to walk the fields and examine for weeds, diseases, growth stages of the crop, irrigation needs and other things depending on the crop and the time of year and report them to the farmer.  It is tough work and up until the time Lindley interned this was traditionally a job held by men.    After college she worked as an independent crop consultant, was employed by Greenway John Deere Equipment Company and then as a yield specialist for Dulaney Seed in Clarkdale, Mississippi.  All of these jobs led up to where she is now as the Agriculture Grant Coordinator and Senior Instructor for the all new Ag Technology Program at Arkansas State University – Newport.

ASUN Ag Technology Mobile Trailer

She started the program from the ground up beginning with approval, funding, curriculum and gaining the support of area farmers to be invested in what the end product would be – knowledgeable employees that could bring a great skill set to a farm, granary, spray company or ag retailer. This two year program will allow the students to gain extensive knowledge and skill sets in: agronomy, equipment operations, mechanics, chemicals, spraying, modern software technology.  The program is in its first year and Lindley hopes to be able to grow enrollment as well as class offerings and scholarship or sponsorship opportunities. It is the only program of its kind in Arkansas so check it out here.

 

Lindley is currently pursuing her Masters in Plant and Soil Science at ASU and should graduate in December.  She is doing very well in her studies as is evidenced by her 3.5 GPA!  Trust me – this course of study is not easy and especially with a full-time job and a feisty five-year old daughter to raise! This beautiful girl full of independence and a strong will (wonder where she gets that?) is her Mom’s biggest cheerleader.  Often encouraging her to “do her best” and to keep chasing her dreams.  Lindley’s favorite quote is one from her daughter.  One night while Lindley was stressed over graduate school homework she told her Mom “You never know if you never try.”  We can all learn more from children if we just listen.

Lindley with ASU Dean of Agriculture Dr. Tim Burcham

The fact Lindley is living the example for her daughter will only lift her to higher goals and dreams than her mother could ever imagine.  As we go about our everyday, it may seem routine or boring but our children are watching us every second.  Lindley is being the role model her daughter and other young girls and women need all the while reaching for her own dreams.  Slam dunk!  I look forward to sitting on the sidelines and watching this precious girl grow into a successful woman!

Lindley points to two people in her life that have been huge influencers and mentors.  Her first boss who gave her the opportunity to step into a man’s world as a crop consultant.  He is still an active supporter in her life and actually sits on the steering committee at ASUN that has helped develop the program she administers.  Another is a professor from her first college days and he is now an instructor for her in grad school and a peer in education.  She says she wished she could tell her younger self to never give up and to never doubt her own capabilities.  Lindley realizes now that she is capable of accomplishing whatever she sets her mind to do.  I believe she has proven that over and over in her life.

Checking seed placement

Lindley enjoys chatting with others to learn all she can from their own experiences.  These conversations have helped her to be more knowledgeable about farms and other businesses.  She loves the weekly publication the Delta Farm Press – a staple in any farm or ag business in the south.  Not only does it contain valuable information for agriculture but is based in Mississippi where she worked for many years.  This keeps her close to that area and caught up on all the news from her old stomping grounds!  She confidently says the Bible is her #1 personal development book!  She also recommends The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

When asked about what life hacks routines-or things she does to just stay sane in today’s crazy busy world she says she is just keeping her head above water.  Every morning may be different from the day before but a few minutes alone in her car before work can be the difference that makes the day calmer.  A little pep talk to herself gets her on track and ready to conquer what ever the day may have in store for her.  She also LOVES to run on a treadmill and listen to good music.  Some of her favorites in her playlist are Midnight Special – CCR; Glory Days – Bruce Springteen; Doc McStuffins – she does have a five-year old; and her favorite song to run to is the Eye of the Tiger from Rocky.

I will be asking a few of the same questions of all the women I feature.

Lindley and Jimbo her biggest fan

 

What app could you not live without?  Facebook – I post many pictures of my family, but it is after all, making memories that counts.  *I agree with that wholeheartedly!

  • White rice or Brown rice?  White
  • Daily newspaper?  No
  • iPhone or Android?  Android
  • Coffee?  YES

It is exciting to see this new program led by Lindley.  Be sure to watch the Ag Technology Program at ASUN to see where it goes from here.  We need trained people for farm and other ag related jobs so I am excited to see how this it will impact our workforce!

We will be working hard to get soybeans planted but I really think we need a good soaking rain to flush the rice, incorporate the nitrogen on the corn and probably germinate soybeans. The weather is our constant companion!

 

 

How I cook rice and answers to your questions

Hi y’all! Hope you are having a good week.  We have been super busy on the farm planting rice and soybeans, and building levees in our rice so we have the ability to hold the flooded water for the season.  Our corn is complete and it is coming up in the warm sunshine we have had.  Today I am writing about some simple rice cooking tips and tricks.  I sure don’t claim to be an expert but I cook ALOT OF RICE!!

When it comes to cooking rice the first thing you must ask yourself is what kind do you want?  There are so many different types of rice.  Here in Arkansas the predominate type we grow is long grain indica rice.  Indica is also the predominate type of rice grown in the world.  It is grown in hot climates and the kernels tend to break easier but the grains are not as sticky as the other types.  These include japonica which is grown in California and aromatic types of jasmine and basmati that are grown in Thailand and Pakistan/India respectively.  We also grow medium grain in Arkansas and it is primarily used in further processed items such as cereals and treats that are made with melted marshmallows. However, southern medium grain is delicious in rice pudding!

Long grain white rice in airtight container

I store my rice in an airtight container.  As you might imagine we eat a great deal of rice!!  I buy it 3-4 pounds at a time and have a container for each type of rice.  We mainly eat long grain white rice or long grain brown rice with some aromatic jasmine when we can find US grown. As a rice farmer I am adamant that we only eat US rice.  I most often embarrass my family or friends when we are at a restaurant and I ask if the rice on the menu is US grown.  If rice is not listed on the menu I usually as why not? It is always surprising that people do not know we grow rice in the US!  I feel it is my personal mission to make sure they do.  So now that YOU know make sure you are buying it.  You can check the package for this logo below and support US farmers.

I was always a stove top rice preparer.  Not sure why because my Mom usually baked it.  That’s just the way I have always cooked rice.  I would even argue it was the BEST way.  It is simple and as long as you measure your rice and water and DO NOT open the lid while it is cooking it does come out perfect every time!  If the steam escapes it can not be absorbed into the rice and may cause it to not be fully cooked.  In my opinion there is nothing worse than partially cooked rice.  For basic long grain white rice the rice to water is a 1:2 ratio.  1 cup uncooked rice to 2 cups water.  I usually add a dash of salt in the water and no oil or butter but you certainly could.  Bring the water to a rolling boil and immediately upon achieving a boil pour in the rice, give it a stir and put on the tight-fitting lid.  Turn your heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes, remove from heat for another 5 or until the rice is soft and the water is absorbed.  Simple as that!  When preparing long grain brown rice you use the same amounts but it takes longer.  Simmer for 35-45 minutes and remove from heat for 5 minutes.

NOW I have the most fantastic rice cooker!  We received this as a gift a few years ago and the rice – no matter the type or amount is PERFECT every time.  This is my go to wedding gift for new couples! Aren’t you surprised??  Mine is a Japanese brand (and no I am not getting paid to promote this cooker!) and I have actually seen it in a larger version on a buffet in Tokyo, Japan.  The Japanese people know how to cook and eat rice and they eat it every meal.  This cooker is made to cook the rice and hold it warm for hours without changing the consistency of the rice.  Therefore it is great when you are cooking for a crowd or trying to finish up cooking the rest of your meal.

For other ways to prepare rice such as in the microwave and information about other types of rice cooking go to http://www.riceland.com/pages/rice-cooking-instructions/

long grain white rice
Zojirushi Brand rice cooker

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS

Early in the week I asked on all my social platforms for your questions and how you cooked your rice.  I was amazed to read that many of you use your pressure cooker or newly named instant pot to cook rice.  I am so excited about this method and hope to buy one of these appliances in the near future.  Or maybe I will receive one for Mother’s Day.  You might send a hint out to a kid I know.  From what I understand you can cook the rice and the rest of your meal and /or meat at the same time.  This sounds so interesting  to me!  I love that so many of you are having rice at your family meals.  Did you know you are influencing your kids tastes and preferences for rice just by serving it?  Thank you! If you have any suggestions on the size appliance I should buy send me a comment.  Many of you told me to get the larger size InstaPot.  AND ALSO SEND THOSE RECIPES!!  I may try some of them out on the blog in the future.

Questions that you sent were do you rinse your rice or not before cooking it.  I actually wasn’t sure because my cooker says to rinse the rice.  One very knowledgeable lady commented that it will rinse off the nutrients.  I had always heard it makes the rice less sticky to rinse it.  So lets take a look at to rinse or not to rinse?  The Japanese brand rice cooker instructions say to rinse but I think it says to rinse because many Japanese families grow and mill their own rice.  In that instance the rice has not been fortified; a process by which white rice has nutrients added back to the kernel after milling.

US white rice is fortified after milling and if we rinse it, those minerals go down the drain.  If you want to keep the nutrients then do not rinse white rice or you can use brown rice.  However rinsing does make the rice less sticky.  Which leads me to my next question – How do you cook rice to be fluffy and not sticky?  The easiest way is to use parboiled rice.  Parboiled rice is rice that has been soaked, steamed and dried IN the husk and then it is milled.  When cooked the kernels do not stick together.  This is perfect for rice salads, rice that will be on a buffet or if you simply prefer non sticky rice.

What other questions do you have about cooking rice?  I would love to hear them.  I learned a few things myself in researching for this post.

Be sure to sign up to receive alerts about new blog posts!  See you next week.

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my first ever blog post!  This blog has been in my head for years.  I have just never had the push to pull the trigger on getting started.  It has been a progression and I have so many ideas to share with you!

Let’s start with an introduction:  I am Jennifer James from Arkansas.  I live in a small rural community with row crop agriculture at its core.  It is the lifeblood of our community and my family.  I am a 4th generation farmer and a female farmer at that!  I have a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from the University of Arkansas.  Go Hogs!  My husband and I have been married for 23 years and business partners for much of that time.  I am so lucky to still have a romance with him!  We have one child a 17-year-old young man who thrives and loves the farm.  So we are immersed in the farming life here in rural Arkansas.

However, getting away from here and experiencing the cultures, people, food and all that is available outside the rural areas are very important to us.  If our son decides to return to the farm it will be because he has experienced the world outside our gates!

Rice field just a few weeks after planting

The tag lines: Farming  I hope to give you a glimpse of what a true southern family row crop farm looks like.  The good days and the rough ones too.  I want you to learn about US agriculture with a focus on the rice industry.  Rice is the backbone of our farm with soybeans and corn thrown in for diversity and rotation.  Arkansas is the #1 rice-growing state with half of all US rice produced here.  The crop is very important to our state’s economy.  I also hope to feature women who are successful in the agriculture industry across the country.  I have made a list of these women and I know you will have more to add.  I hope to lift them up and show other women the great opportunities in agriculture that might never have crossed your mind!

My family after a high school football game.

Family and Food:  I am a Mom, Wife, Christian, amateur chef (ha!), avid health and wellness advocate, and true believer in growth and personal development along side my professional career.  I do all the things that you do everyday for myself and my family.  Here is where I want to tell you that you can do or be anything your heart desires and maybe I will have a few tips to help out along your journey.  Living in a rural area, we do not have access to a variety of take out and I cook dinner most nights a week.  Plus I love to share recipes that contain US grown rice!

Selfie after a little treadmill time!

Fitness:  I strongly believe that you must take care of yourself first and fitness encompasses many facets of health for me.  It is also a journey but I am getting better at it for myself and would love to have you join me.  I am working on developing meditation into my daily routine.  Why is it so hard y’all?

I invite you to join me as this blog evolves.  I would love your comments and direction along the way.  And lastly, Did you eat US grown rice today?

Jennifer