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.
Mississippi’s 259 rice-producing farms rank the state No. 5 nationally in rice production, a fact highlighted in September when Mississippians are urged to “Think Rice.”
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- The third week of March is usually the beginning of rice planting season in Mississippi, but fields were not dry enough to hold tractors until May in most locations.
Many growers were still scrambling to get rice in the ground by early June due to unusually high rain amounts in the first quarter of 2019. While more than 90 percent of the crop had been planted as of June 3, only 74 percent had emerged, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is well behind the five-year average of 92 percent emerged by this date.
The 2018 Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course will feature speakers from seven states covering topics ranging from nematode management in cotton and soybeans to the potential effects of new tariffs on the state's agricultural industry.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers will produce about 20 percent more rice this year, mostly thanks to additional acres planted over 2017’s total.
Larry Falconer, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said early forecasts predict national yields near last year’s 7,400 pounds per acre.
“National acreage is up about 20 percent. In Mississippi, the increase is slightly more at 23 percent,” Falconer said. “It helped that, at planting time, prices were slightly better than the previous year.”