The Rice Industry of the United States
DOI link for The Rice Industry of the United States
The Rice Industry of the United States book
To paraphrase Churchill’s famous quote regarding Russia, the U.S. rice industry is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The industry qua industry is over three hundred years old, but few Americans know much about it. The U.S. is a major rice producer and one of the leading exporters of rice, but per capita consumption is very low, and Americans get only about 3% of their calories from rice (as opposed to two-thirds or even three-fourths in parts of Asia).1 Although rice is generally associated with small-scale production and heavy labor requirements, the U.S. rice industry can be characterized as agribusiness par excellence: There are relatively few producers, most of whom are very large, and rice is the mostcapital-intensive crop grown in the United States. These large-scale producers, not surprisingly, have long had a good bit of political influence in the U.S., and the industry, which is concentrated in a handful of states, has long been heavily protected and/or subsidized. Riddles, mysteries, and enigmas abound, then, but how did the U.S. rice industry develop in this way.