From Audubon Magazine:
I’ve come to California to search for the link between sushi and the long-billed curlew. On this February day the rice paddy before me is filled with a few inches of water and the crumpled, mud-sopped straw that last summer was three-foot-high grassy stalks top-heavy with rice panicles. Not just any rice. Virtually all of the rice harvested here in the Sacramento Valley, at the northern end of the vast Central Valley, is short and medium grain—premium varieties that find their way into nearly every sushi roll sold in the United States.
The Central Valley, with its Mediterranean climate of mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers, has more than 81,000 farms and ranches on 14.5 million acres of agricultural land that produces fully one-fourth of the varieties of food items we place on our tables. More than 300 crops are grown here, from lemons, asparagus, and bell peppers to olives, almonds, and spinach.
For more, see: Grains of Change