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Rice Production in Mississippi

Mississippi’s modern commercial rice production began in 1948 when Rex Kimbrell produced about 300 acres just south of Greenville in Washington County. By 1954, about 77,000 acres were harvested. After the 1954 crop, the U.S. government instituted acreage controls, and only 52,000 acres were harvested in 1955. Rice culture in the Mississippi Delta was limited by this government program, not producer interest. After the acreage control program was eliminated in 1973, the harvested acreage increased to 108,000 acres in 1974. In the following years, rice production increased rapidly, reaching a high of 335,000 harvested acres and 14.4 million hundredweight (cwt) in 1981.

Rice production in Mississippi has been almost totally limited to the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, with very little production outside this area. Historically, the central-Delta counties of Bolivar, Sunflower and Washington have been the leading rice-producing counties. In recent years, Tunica County has increased rice acreage and annually ranks in the top three counties for rice production in Mississippi.

The table below shows United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency certified rice acres planted by county in Mississippi, 2009-2014.

County 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Adams 240 0 0 192 0 0
Attala 0 0 10 0 0 0
Bolivar 72,333 80,255 50,813 34,956 33,734 47,702
Carroll 205 0 10 0 0 0
Coahoma 14,761 25,032 11,370 8,797 8,109 14,453
DeSoto 859 1,156 335 553 1,190 2,316
Grenada 171 321 328 282 282 0
Holmes 1,485 1,448 234 141 121 203
Humphreys 3,656 8,241 1,996 1,955 1,475 3,426
Issaquena 783 2,702 880 890 1,115 483
Jackson 55 35 0 0 0 0
Lee 10 11 8 10 3 3
Leflore 17,107 20,144 6,754 5,328 3,905 6,000
Panola 4,777 6,446 5,383 5,901 5,523 10,188
Quitman 11,031 20,170 6,360 8,440 8,766 15,565
Sharkey 1,951 5,390 855 306 433 857
Suflower 38,227 45,676 19,351 14,253 13,635 25,241
Tallahatchie 14,081 19,314 6,267 6,460 6,964 12,859
Tate 905 944 869 828 934 1,082
Tunica 23,913 27,041 23,167 21,696 24,603 28,608
Washington 29,507 35,736 18,854 14,687 11,480 15,690
Yazoo 1,841 1,907 2,273 765 0 867
Total 237,898 302,019 156,107 126,440 122,272 185,543