Dear Colleagues, 

On behalf of the Organizing Committee, we are pleased to invite you to Arkansas to participate in the 21st International Symposium on Rice Functional Genomics (ISRFG 2024) , to be held on 09 - 11 September, 2024.

Rice is the most important food crop in the world – feeding ½ the planet. As the world’s population approaches 10 billion by 2050, we must do all we can to develop new varieties that are more nutritious, climate resilient, and require fewer inputs (e.g., fertilizers, pesticides, water).

To help meet this future demand, rice scientists around the globe united in a $200M USD project to sequence the rice genome – the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project (IRGSP) – which was completed in November of 2004 – and was the first reference genome for any crop plant. Over the past 20-years this landmark accomplishment has led to thousands of novel discoveries and insights that have positively impacted the rice farmer’s ability to grow rice sustainably and bring a premium market price.

To celebrate this 20-year milestone and its impact on basic and applied agricultural research, we are pleased to announce the 2024 International Symposium on Rice Functional Genomics (2024 ISRFG) to be held in Little Rock/Stuttgart Arkansas from September 9-11, 2024. The ISRFG has been held annually since 2003, with two in the USA in 2004 and 2014. The 2024 meeting will host keynote speakers and workshops in relevant areas that are focused on this key question – “How can we feed our world without destroying our planet?”

Arkansas was selected for the 2024 ISRFG because it is the leading rice-growing state in the Union with more than ½ of its 75 counties producing rice, and the State’s commitment to supporting its rice farmers through research, education, training, and extension. This meeting will offer opportunities for the world to see how rice farming is done in the USA, and to discuss US farmers’ needs with leading rice scientists. 

The format of the meeting will be two days of lectures, workshops, and a poster session in Little Rock, followed by a final day visiting a farmer’s field, the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center/Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, a closing Keynote lecture and banquet (Arkansas style).

In closing, the 2024 ISRFG Arkansas meeting will be a great opportunity to showcase rice agricultural research in the state of Arkansas and the USA. This in turn will encourage more impactful research that will have direct impacts of rice farming in the USA, as well as make meaningful connections between US scientists/industry and farmers and the broader international community. 

We look forward to seeing you in Arkansas,                      

Rod A. Wing, Chair – ISRFG Intl. Org. Comm., University of Arizona & King Abdullah University of Science and Technology 

Vibha Srivastava, Co-Chair ISRFG Local Org. Comm., University of Arkansas

Yulin Jia, Co-Chair ISRFG Local Org. Comm., Dale Bumpers Natl. Rice Res. Ctr., Stuttgart, AR