A new study conducted by Agriculture and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M for the USA Rice Federation highlights the U.S. rice industry’s economic contributions to the economies of the six-major rice-producing states of Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, as well as to the nation’s economy.

Economic Contributions of the U.S. Rice Industry to the U.S. Economy calculated the value of rice farming, milling and various end-user sectors in 2009 to complete the study. The report puts the total output effect of U.S. rice production for the nation’s economy at $34 billion in 2009, with the rice industry supporting more than 128,000 jobs nationwide. Additionally, the value added to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was nearly $18 billion.

Farm Output

Arkansas, the nation’s top rice producer, topped rice farm output value with $1.9 billion, followed by California ($1.8 billion); Louisiana ($640 million); Texas ($400 million); Mississippi ($350 million); and Missouri ($300 million). All combined at the farm level, rice production in these states supported more than 36,480 jobs nationally, and provided an additional $2.6 billion in value added to the nation’s economy.

USA Rice Chairman Jackie Loewer Jr., a rice farmer from Branch, La., said the research findings demonstrate the importance of rice production to America’s economy.

“The study results provide a good baseline for the impact of rice production in rice states and confirm the substantial economic activity generated by U.S. rice production throughout the nation,” Loewer said. “There’s great value in knowing the worth of the industry, particularly as we head into the development of the 2012 farm bill.”

Milling Sector

The total economic contributions of U.S. rice milling industry to America’s economy was estimated to be $6.3 billion in value, supporting more than 38,000 jobs and nearly $11 billion in increased output.

In Arkansas, rice milling contributes a total of $4.2 billion in economic activity, supports more than 13,000 jobs, and adds a total output of $2.6 billion to the state’s economy. California ranks second, with $3.6 billion in output, 12,000 jobs and $2 billion in total value.

Louisiana’s rice milling industry ranks third, providing $1.3 billion in total output, more than 5,300 jobs, with a total value added to the state’s economy of $746 million.

Mississippi’s rice milling industry produces a total output effect of $626 million, supports more than 2,600 jobs, and has a value added contribution of $357 million for the state.

Texas rice millers produce a total output effect of $619 million, support an estimated 2,400 jobs, and contribute $358 million in value added for the state.

Finally, Missouri rice millers produce a total output effect of $570.47 million, support an estimated 1,844 jobs, and contribute $336.9 million in value added for the state.


There are myriad end-users for rice, with the largest categories being exporters, processed food manufacturers, brewers, and pet food manufacturers. The total estimates for this sector were $18.1 billion of economic output, 53,651 direct jobs, and about $8.6 billion of value added to the U.S. economy.

The processed food sector in total supported 21,800 jobs that can be traced to its purchasing and processing of rice. Value added to the U.S. economy from food processors was $2.7 billion and the economic output was $6.85 billion.

The brewery industry contributed 3,888 jobs, a value added of $483 million and an economic impact of $1.19 billion that is attributable to its use of rice in 2009. Total U.S. economic output from rice use by pet food manufacturers is $1.2 billion, as well as the total value added contribution of $430 million, with the jobs attributable to the rice industry at 4,454.

Eighty-five percent of the rice consumed by Americans is grown here. This study provides the most recent estimate of the economic contributions of rice farmers, millers, and selected end users to rice-states and nation.

The complete report is on the USA Rice Web site, www.usarice.com.