According to the annual USA Rice Federation U.S. Rice Domestic Usage Report, which tracks shipments and consumption of U.S. milled rice from August 2008 to July 2009, U.S. rice mills shipped 10.8 billion pounds of rice to domestic and export markets. American consumption of rice increased to 26 pounds per capita, a 1-pound increase compared to last year, with most of the growth coming from domestically grown rice.

Imports declined 19 percent from the record level reported in the 2007-2008 milling year. A significant reduction in imports from China accounted for 80 percent of the drop, reflecting a change in Chinese government rice exports policies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects imports will rebound in 2009-2010, increasing by as much as 9 percent.

Additional highlights from the report include:

Sixty percent of rice milled within the U.S. was distributed domestically; 40 percent was exported.

Shipments to domestic retail stores increased by 9 percent, the only major domestic market segment showing growth.

Eighty-five percent of rice consumed domestically was American grown; 15 percent was imported.

Six billion pounds of rice were shipped domestically: 58 percent went towards direct food use and 42 percent towards pet food, processed food, beer and sake.

The largest domestic market segments for rice shipments for direct food use included retail stores at 33 percent, ethnic distributors at 23 percent and foodservice at 17 percent.

A full copy of the report can be obtained at usarice.com/reports.