USA Rice Merchants' Association

Representing Rough and Seed Rice Merchandisers and Associates

Founded in 2005, the USA Rice Merchants’ Association is the first organization to bring rice merchandisers and related businesses together in a representative, recognized body.  Merchants are an important component of the U.S. rice industry, providing a market outlet for thousands of farmers in all six rice-producing states.
USA Rice Merchants' Logo


There are currently 27 merchant members and 7 associate members. 

Board of Directors

•  Board members are elected from amongst the merchant members of the association.
•  Board meetings are held in conjunction with USA Rice Federation annual meetings.

Meet the Chairman


Dick Ottis
El Campo, TX

Dick Ottis was born and raised in Wadsworth, Texas, where his family started growing rice around 1915.  After college, Ottis moved to Ganado, Texas, and began his career with Rice Belt Warehouse, Inc. where he has served as president and CEO since 2005.  His involvement with USA Rice includes being chairman of the USA Rice Merchants’ Association as well as a board member of the USA Rice Board of Directors.  “U.S agriculture is constantly changing,” says Ottis.  “I am pleased that my work with USA Rice helps the U.S. rice industry stay on top of its game whether it’s legislation, regulatory issues, or marketing opportunities.”

Recent News

Japan, Mexico, UK, China, Jordan Priorities for USA Rice 2018 International Promotion Areas

Jan 11, 2018
Click here to view video report on promotions meeting
 Cooking demonstration in Mexico, chefs, hot plates, skillets and lots of rice
TORONTO, CANADA – Leadership from the USA Rice International Promotion Committee and the USA Rice Council met here this week to examine the current export picture for U.S.-grown rice and discuss future marketing and trade policy programs.  While U.S. rice faces tariff and non-tariff barriers in many markets, the group endorsed USA Rice’s proposed strategy for the coming year with some adjustments to ensure maximum impact.

Mexico and Japan, two of our most important markets, remained at the top of the priority list.  Programs will be expanded in the UK and Jordan, and the group will continue to dedicate resources to China in preparation for the successful conclusion of the phytosanitary negotiations.

“We will also build on our successes in other key markets such as Colombia, Haiti, South Korea, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia, and also in the realm of food aid,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president of international.  “U.S. rice is highly accepted and sought after in these markets and we will continue to expand our reach.”

USA Rice resources devoted to Cuba, once the top destination for U.S.-grown rice, and a market that the U.S. rice industry continues to urge the U.S. government to reopen, were scaled back for now, at least until the diplomatic situation between the U.S. and Cuba improves.  

But flexibility in programming is also important to the group and resources could be shifted back there at any point.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities and they continue to come at different times and for different reasons.  We are confident we have the ability to react quickly when there are opportunities to get U.S rice into new markets,” said Terry Harris, chairman of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee.

Attending this year’s planning session were growers from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and merchants and millers from Arkansas and California.

The group heard presentations and updates from Lita Echiverri, an international trade specialist at USDA/FAS, and Evan Mangino, the Agricultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, who also has the advantage of being previously stationed in Japan where he worked on rice issues.

“This meeting was very productive,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice president and CEO.  “It’s valuable for us to hear our members’ insights into key export markets and we greatly appreciate them devoting their time to an in-depth planning session to hear reports about what we are doing in the market, what we can do more of, and where we can direct resources.”