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Abstract

Historically, only humans—not livestock—consumed rice. Consequently, rice is considered a food grain and not a feed grain. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that in 2013 more than 33 million metric tons (mt) of rice were devoted to feed, with the amount growing by 0.5 million mt per year since 2003, an average annual growth rate of 1.7 percent. In several Asian countries, policies incentivized overplanting and boosted stocks, eventually leading governments to release rice from their stocks for feed use at a small fraction of the procurement cost. Thus far, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand have diverted rice into feed grain markets to reduce government stocks. China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of rice, has near-record rice stock levels, and policymakers there could follow a similar path. This report discusses policies and consumption changes that have led to the increased use of rice for feed. It also uses the USDA, Economic Research Service baseline model to simulate the effect on corn and rice markets if China were to divert rice into its feed market.

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