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Rice Alerts Delivered By Text

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A statewide rice extension advisory group met here at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station to discuss different ways the AgCenter’s rice extension work could be improved in the future. The advisory group was made up of rice producers, rice consultants, millers, land owners, rice industry leaders, extension agents of rice producing parishes, and rice researchers. The group had many great recommendations for improving the rice extension mission. One suggestion was to begin a Rice Group Text List that could be used to make important announcements and reminders.

The logic behind it was that although most producers now have smart phones and have the capability to read email and newsletters (like this one) online, many simply do not take the time. Quick text message reminders and updates are working well in the rice milling/marketing area and could be beneficial for important extension announcements. It was pointed out that it would be important that text messages go out from the AgCenter and that recipients would not have the capability to text back to the whole group because this could cause endless text messages going back and forth. Another key was that all personal information should be kept private.

During the rice educational meetings this year, I collected names and phone numbers of rice industry people who wanted to be included in the text group. I received more than 160 names and numbers for the group. Last week I put the numbers in a texting management program that I thought would work well for this purpose. Although, the program did keep personal information private, it did not keep individuals from texting back to the rest of the group. If you were a part of that first test group, I am sorry for the endless texts. Needless to say, I had to find another text management program to handle the Louisiana Rice Text Group.

I am now using a program called Remind to manage the group text messages. This program is often used by school teachers to text-message students and parents and does not allow texts to be sent back to the group. A Remind computer and smart phone application is also available if you would like to download it. The app allows you to receive the texts in the app in addition to the regular text message feature.  This is convenient especially if you do not have text message capabilities. In addition, if you opt in for the feature, you can instant message/chat with others in the group within the app. Again, all phone numbers and other information is kept confidential. Only your name is visible.

If you would like to join the Louisiana Rice Text Group, simply text @larice to 81010. To unsubscribe to the group, simply text back “unsubscribe@larice” to the group.

If you would like to get the text messages by email, send an email to larice@mail.remind.com. If you would like to unsubscribe to the email messages, simply email larice@mail.remind.com with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

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