Rice Sector: Background
Rice, the primary staple for more than half the world's
population, is produced worldwide. The United States is a major
exporter, and the global market accounts for nearly half the annual
sales volume of U.S.-produced rice. Four U.S. regions produce
almost all of the country's rice crop - three in the South and one
in California. The South and California produce different types of
rice for specific markets, with rice from California typically
selling at a premium to southern rice.
From 2009/10 to 2011/12, the value of the U.S. crop averaged
$3.0 billion a year. Six States - Arkansas, California, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas - account for nearly all U.S. rice
production, with Arkansas producing almost half the U.S. crop.
California and Louisiana rank second and third, with the remaining
three producing much smaller crops. Organic rice accounts for 1-2
percent of the U.S. crop, and its share has been rising.
Americans consume about 26 pounds of rice each year, not
counting rice used in pet food. This number has been nearly stable
for the past 5 years, after rising sharply over the previous
quarter century. The United States imports about 15 percent of the
rice it consumes, with Thailand supplying about 70 percent of these
shipments and India and Pakistan supplying most of the remainder.
The United States purchases specific premium aromatic varieties
from these three Asian exporters that are not currently grown in
the United States. The import share of the U.S. market has nearly
leveled off after growing rapidly since the early 1980s.
The Western Hemisphere is the largest export market for U.S.
rice, taking more than half of U.S. shipments, with Mexico and
Central America the biggest buyers. Northeast Asia - Japan, South
Korea, and Taiwan - and the Middle East, are the next largest
markets, with Northeast Asia the highest valued market. The
remaining markets for U.S. rice are much smaller and include, from
largest to smallest, Sub-Saharan Africa, the European Union, and
Oceania. Food aid accounts for a large share of U.S. shipments to
Sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. rice is not competitive in the substantial
South and Southeast Asian rice markets.
|U.S. rice supply and use
|Total U.S. rice
|Total domestic use 2/
|Average farm price 3/
|* One cwt (or 1 hundredweight) equals 100
1/ August-July market year; rough-rice equivalent of milled and
2/ Includes residual (i.e., unreported uses, processing losses,
and any estimating errors).
3/ Market-year weighted average price in nominal
Source: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, WAOB,
For Further Information:
World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates,
USDA: Monthly forecasts of supply and demand for major
Agricultural Prices, USDA's National
Agricultural Statistics Service: Monthly farm prices for principal
of Labor Statistics: Retail price data for food products
Information and Data: Further resources on ERS website
Rice Chart Gallery: ERS data