U.S. Rice Production in the New Millennium: Changes in Structure, Practices, and Costs

Farms growing rice changed significantly over the past two decades in terms of operation size and the ways in which rice is produced. As the total number of farms growing rice declined (from 9,627 in 1997 to 5,591 in 2012), total U.S. planted rice acres also dropped at an annual average rate of about 0.75 percent between 1995 and 2017. U.S. farms growing rice expanded that acreage more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2013 to an average of 600 acres per farm. Farm size increased most in the South where larger farms were able to take advantage of size economies. The most significant change in rice production technologies from 2000 to 2013 was the introduction and adoption of new rice seed varieties. Southern rice producers increasingly planted hybrid and non-genetically modified herbicide-tolerant seed. Precision farming technologies also proliferated, especially the use of yield monitors and guidance systems for tractors and other self-propelled machines. The adoption of new technologies in rice farming pushed per-acre production costs higher, but rice yields also increased, offsetting much of the higher costs. U.S. rice production saw an estimated productivity gain of 29 percent from 2000 to 2013, about 2.2 percent annually. Structural and productivity changes on U.S. farms growing rice benefited U.S. domestic rice consumers by helping to keep prices low and enhanced the competitiveness of U.S. rice producers in global markets.

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 Record created 2018-12-20, last modified 2020-10-28

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