Richard E. Bell will complete his service at Riceland Foods, Inc. at the end of the current fiscal year on July 31 after serving the cooperative more than 27 years, the last 23 as president and chief executive officer. Bell will continue to be available to Riceland in an advisory capacity on strategic issues, particularly those related to farm legislation, international trade and agricultural-related research.
He will be succeeded by K. Daniel Kennedy, now serving as Riceland's executive vice president and chief operating officer. Kennedy joined Riceland in August 2000, after 16 years with Monsanto Company where he served in positions of domestic and international marketing and strategic planning.
He is a Louisiana native and holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University and a master of business administration degree from Northwestern University outside Chicago.
Bell came to Riceland in early 1977 from Washington, D.C., where he had been serving as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs. He also had served as president of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation and as Chairman of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.
His early career was a foreign service officer at the American embassies in Ottawa, Canada; Brussels, Belgium; and Dublin, Ireland. Bell is a native of Illinois and holds degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois.
During Bell's tenure at Riceland, the farmer-owned cooperative has emerged as the world's largest processor and marketer of rice. Arkansas, the cooperative's base of operation, has become the nation's largest rice-producing state, accounting for nearly one-half of U.S. rice production. Riceland also has continued in its role as a major marketer of soybeans, soybean products and other grains grown in the Mid-South.
Riceland expects its annual sales and revenues during the 2003-04 fiscal year ending July 31 will be a record $951.1 million, up 9% from the previous year. It also will set records for earnings and payments to its farmer-members. It will have record total assets and record member equity at year's end. Payments to farmer-members are expected to be up to 22%.
Bell will continue outside activities. He will continue to serve on the boards of Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Foundation Fund, the Stuttgart Regional Medical Center, Easter Seals Arkansas, Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie and as chairman of the Grand Prairie Early Childhood Development Council.