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

Arkansas Ag Task Force to Issue Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines

Jan 19, 2018
Stubborn stubble
 Field crop refuse burn with flames in foreground and smoke in background
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Rice Farmers board recently created a task force to develop crop management guidelines to address community concerns about smoke created when farmers burn row crop field refuse each fall.  The task force had their second and final meeting earlier this week where they finalized the Voluntary Smoke Management Guidelines for Agricultural Burning.  

Stakeholders representing the Arkansas Rice Federation, Arkansas Soybean Association, Ag Council of Arkansas, and the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation are on the task force with representatives from the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Arkansas Forestry Commission, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality serving in an advisory capacity.

After approval by their respective boards, the guidelines will become official and made available to the public.

“This is an issue the ag industry as a whole has acknowledged and is working to address collectively,” said Jeff Rutledge, chairman of the Arkansas Rice Federation.  “Field burning is part of a complete crop management strategy and our growers want to ensure the continued quality of the airshed their families and neighbors breathe.”

Stakeholders will spend this coming year educating agriculture burners of the advised steps to take before they begin burning at the end of the next growing season.  Before burning, farmers are encouraged to call (800) 830-8015 to report their crop burn, and to check that conditions are favorable for burning at that time.

Dr. Warren A. Skaug, a pediatrician in Jonesboro, who had noticed an increase in children with respiratory ailments in the fall, worked with the task force to help establish the new guidelines.  “I think the citizens of Northeast Arkansas will be pleased at the work this task force has started,” said Dr. Skaug.  “Their efforts are a step in the right direction and I look forward to watching this initiative progress.”