By Maddie Dunlap
To me the rice industry has always been defined by the view of emerald fields outside my bedroom window, an economic staple in my hometown and the source of a dozen mosquito bites on my legs. Growing up in Maxwell, Colusa County, even at a young age you are immersed in all things rice. The numerous fields surrounding my rural town became the backdrop for my childhood. Growing up in Maxwell around rice farms as well as my experience on the cattle ranch my family ran gave me a true passion for agriculture.
As I grow older and gain more experiences I see more facets of the agricultural industry and each commodity. Over the last three years at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo I have gained skills in both agricultural communications and agribusiness. Now in a new chapter of my life, I look to further deepen my understanding of the rice industry as the California Rice Commission’s first intern. Over the next eight weeks I will be shadowing different staff members from the CRC office. This summer, it is my goal to observe and internalize a deeper understanding of the uniqueness that is California rice.
Already in the first week, my eyes have been open to new features of the industry. From capturing the essence of the Sacramento Valley rice farmer to snapping the perfect shot of a White-faced Ibis, the task of public education and outreach never ends. This week my task has been to soak up the knowledge of one Mr. Jim Morris, Communications Manager at CRC.
This week has put me back in touch with the elements of the rice industry that capture the affection of all who come into contact with this farming segment. The vibrant colors of rice in the summer will immediately catch your attention. The quirkiness of the wildlife, birds and waterfowl that have claimed these fields as their habitat will hold your focus. The servant-like dedication of the tireless farmers will capture your admiration and steadfast support.
I look forward to the balance of my summer internship and the experiences that will strengthen and reshape my own personal definition of California rice. Furthermore, I look forward to sharing the experiences of a giddy college intern.
Maddie Dunlap is a senior agricultural communication student with a minor in agribusiness at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.
She is the eighth generation of Dunlaps born and raised in Colusa County agriculture.
When Maddie isn’t studying hard at Cal Poly, she enjoys traveling throughout California, Giants baseball and attending county fairs.