Different rice types in burlap sacks, overhead shot
Michael Klein

Michael Klein

Michael took an unusual route to the rice industry. Starting in independent film in New York and at MTV in the late 80s and early 90s, he segued to public relations and then politics. He worked on campaigns at the state, federal, and national level, worked as a Congressional staffer, joined a governor’s administration, and then put everything he learned to use for a trade association for the forest and paper industry. In 2013 he joined USA Rice and is having the time of his life.
True to his roots in entertainment, Michael loves reading, movies, and theater and will pepper his conversation with quotes from favorite films and shows. In his opinion (which is correct) one of the best films ever is “My Favorite Year.” The best show ever is “The Band’s Visit.” His favorite recently read book is “Station Eleven,” and he enjoys writing about himself in the third person.

"There's out, and there's OUT."

~ Alan Swann

Fun Facts About Michael

Most Proud Of​

My kids - wait, don't roll your eyes - they're cool because one is a scientist studying astrophysics and the other is an artist studying musical composition. Come on, that's cool.

People Most Influenced By

My parents and The Marx Brothers

Favorite Books​

"Station Eleven," "Rules of Civility," "The Oracle of Stamboul," "Crime and Punishment"

Can't Resist

Some movies - no matter at what point you catch them, you watch all the way through. Example: Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Napoleon Dynamite, The Fifth Element.

What Most People Don't Know About Me​

I've been to Big Bird's actual house many times. My parents were friends with his wife and every summer when I was growing up we'd go to his estate in the Berkshires for a long weekend of parties, fireworks, and music.

Lesley Dixon

Lesley is from central Texas but has lived in California, Colorado, Chicago, Australia, and Singapore, and currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband and cat, who is beautiful and perfect and beyond reproach (the husband is okay too). She misses Texas a lot, especially the tacos, but is happy to have near unlimited access to jumbo-lump Chesapeake crab cakes. She has degrees in English, history, and writing, all lucrative fields that were not at all difficult to find jobs in. The best part of her job is getting to talk to people about the history, science, cuisine, and culture around rice; regaling friends, family, and strangers on the bus with fun rice facts; and, of course, eating rice.

“Ain’t I a stinker?”

~ Bugs Bunny
Lesley on tractor
Lesley Dixon

Fun Facts About Lesley

Countries Traveled

Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, England, Scotland, Wales

People Most Influenced By

David Bowie; Robert Stack from Unsolved Mysteries

Favorite Accessory

A pair of dangly gold skeleton earrings that I bought during Halloween season and are now part of my regular rotation

The Most Unusual Thing In Your Office

The Ricky Rice mascot costume slumped in the corner

Favorite Books​

Anything by D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, and an unsettling mix of true crime novels and nerdy fantasy series (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc)

How to get him/her on a date

My lawyer has advised me not to answer this question

What Most People Don't Know About Me​

I was a wannabe punk as a kid and shaved my head when I was 14. My mother has never forgiven me.

Best Childhood Memory

A snowy Colorado night when I hit a neighbor boy dead on in the face with a snowball from ten yards away and then watched A Muppet Christmas Carol and drank hot cocoa with my best friend and her little sister wrapped up in blankets

Weirdest Thing I've Ever Eaten

a witchetty grub

Carribean Shrimp and Rice Side
Lydia Holmes

Lydia Holmes

Lydia grew up on her family’s farm in eastern Arkansas in a small town surrounded by agriculture. After high school, she thought she was done with rural life and went to college in Memphis, TN and then grad school in Washington, D.C. to study political science and policy. But no matter how many miles away from the heart of agriculture she was, every project, job, internship, and focus area she chose centered around agriculture and environment issues.
Lydia worked on environmental regulatory policy early in her career but found that her passion was really in sustainable agriculture. Making the connections between farmers, food companies, and consumers to find solutions for how we keep producing a great product in the most sustainable way is a challenge that brings her back to her roots and is one way she tries to give back to the industry that shaped her childhood.

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet”

~ Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Fun Facts About Lydia

Most Proud Of​

My houseplant collection. I can’t say I’m a farmer, but maybe I can qualify as an urban gardener.

Favorite Rice Dish

At the moment my favorite is brown rice risotto, because I figured out this year that you can use brown U.S. medium grain to make risotto. I’m hooked!

Best Childhood Memory

When I was little, I got to ride on the combine with my dad during harvest sometimes. I loved watching the hopper fill up with rice (or soybeans, or wheat) and getting to hang out with my dad during one his busiest time of year.

The Most Unusual Thing In Your Office

A pocket door…because my office is actually a closet. And a portrait of my dog Cooper that my mom had painted for me for my birthday last year.