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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

News & Events

The Rice Research Unit in Beaumont, TX has had several opportunities this summer to demonstrate to young students and educators about the research that is conducted at the Rice Quality Laboratory.  On May 20, 2009 a group from Dr. Randall Yoder’s Arts, Science, and Biology class from Lamar University visited the laboratory.  A group of over 50 middle school students, participating in the 2009 Exxon-Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp visited the station on June 11, 2009. The Rice Quality Laboratory was one of five locations that were visited by a Summer Environmental workshop composed of 30 students and 10 adults during June 24-25, 2009.  The Lower Sabine Neches SWD, Hamshire-Fannett FFA, Nederland FFA, Silsbee FFA, West Hardin FFA, Orangefield FFA, Vidor FFA, Hardin-Jefferson FFA Anahuac FFA, and Texas AgriLife were the sponsors of this 16 hour in-service credit. In July, a group of eight boy scouts and two adults also visited the laboratory.


Facts were shared with each group regarding the history and purpose of the Rice Quality Laboratory which has been serving the US rice industry for over 50 years. The visitors were given demonstrations about the process of milling paddy rice into white rice. In addition, information on the nutritional properties, processing, and canning quality of rice was presented. Each visitor was given a sample of milled Sierra rice, an aromatic cultivar developed by ARS, freshly acquired from milling demonstration during their visit.  Milled and brown rice were also cooked so that the visitors could experience differences in sensory quality through a taste test.


The students observe the process of milling rice.


Ms. Naomi Gipson, Biological Science Technician with the Rice Quality Lab, demonstrates the process of milling rice to students participating in the 2009 Exxon-Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.


Students observe long grain rice after it has been milled and separated to produce whole grains.


Students observe long grain rice after it has been milled and separated to produce whole grains.


On June 18, 2008, Dr. Shannon Pinson and Ms. Naomi Gipson from the Rice Research Unit in Beaumont, TX participated in the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science camp for 48 area middle school students. The Science Camp was hosted by Lamar University in Beaumont. The students were introduced to the world of rice research using a puzzle that gave them exposure to the Scientific Method for problem solving. They were presented with the concepts of identifying a researchable problem, developing a hypothesis, designing experiments, and reaching a conclusion. The students were presented with rice grain samples from different stages of the milling process. They learned about how rice cultivars vary in cooking and sensory quality. Students were given different types of rice (long grain, aromatics, and waxy rice) to taste and compare, and then were asked to describe differences in flavor, texture and appearance. Each student was provided a list of a wide variety of foods, beverages, and other items that are made using rice. A packet containing a rice panicle and a description of the rice plant’s growth and developmental stages were given to each student along with instructions for growing rice.

Ms. Gipson and Dr. Pinson explain growth stages of the rice plant.

Student inspecting appearance differences in two rice cultivars.

Students experience taste differences in rice.



Recent Accomplishments

Rice Breeding and Pathology

Rice Quality

Genetic Characterization of Rice Traits and Mapping Populations

Development of Molecular Markers for Cultivar Improvement


Ongoing Research Updates

Most recent newsletter - May 2009



 Science Projects for Students

  Rice Tidbits


Last Modified: 8/28/2009
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