We grew up eating a lot of recipes with rice in South America but I didn’t expect rice to be an important Missouri crop.
According to Missouri’s 2016 Agriculture Economic Impact Report, rice is the 6th largest Missouri grown agricultural crop, almost as much of an accident as how rice came to North America.
it began in 1885, when a storm-battered ship, sailing from Madagascar, limped into the Charles Towne, South Carolina harbor. Town citizens helped to repair the ship. To repay their kindness, the ship’s captain made a gift of a small quantity of “Golden Seed Rice.”
That’s the story Missouri’s Rice Council likes to tell. The council is a lobbying group for Missouri rice farmers and a charter member of the U S Rice Producers Association, an association representing rice farmers in Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, California and Louisiana.
Long grain rice has been grown in Missouri for almost a hundred years. The first rice field in was located west of Dexter. In 2015, 212,000 acres of rice was grown in the southeast Missouri counties. This part of Missouri provides more than 780 million pounds of rice valued at $160 million dollars. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri is ranked 4th in rice acres harvested among the top ten states.
Missouri’s Crop Resource Guide notes rice yields have increased over 62 pounds per acre per year. At the same time, the pounds of fertilizer used to produce that rice has decreased.
“This double efficiency of increasing yields and decreasing input simultaneously sustains profits and environmental quality.”
I still think the Missouri Rice Council's slogan is very funny. Don't you?