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

Head to the Rice Aisle at the 2018 North Louisiana Ag Expo

Jan 24, 2018
Passing the rice trivia test with flying colors
 Young girl at trade show booth holds one-lb bag of rice & coloring book
MONROE, LA -- This past weekend, the Louisiana Rice Council, along with USA Rice and the North East Louisiana Rice Growers Association (NELA) attended the 2018 North Louisiana Ag Expo here.  Held each year at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center, this event welcomes several thousand visitors to experience all things agriculture, including the Ag Alley Mini Farm, educational seminars, a junior livestock show, and a trade show.

Louisiana Rice Council President Eric Unkel, along with growers Jimmy Hoppe, Charles Precht, and Kent Brown, greeted visitors over the two-day event with USA Rice staff lending a hand to keep up with the crowds.

The “rice aisle” is one of the more popular spots in the trade show as many folks start at the NELA Rice Growers booth where they are treated to a cup of red beans and rice, and then proceed to the Rice Council booth to meet the “Rice Men and Lady” that includes USA Rice’s Mary Jemison.

Young and old alike spend a few minutes visiting, gathering the latest recipe brochures, registering for the hourly door prize drawing, and of course, getting a one-pound bag of Louisiana-grown rice after answering a quick trivia question about rice.  That one, simple question makes a lasting impression as many repeat visitors can tell you the question they had the year before.  

As they move on to the next booth, you hear the ”thank you’s,” and “we’ll see you next year,” as they place the rice in their tote bags.  And for the Rice Men and Lady, they know everyone walks away with THINK RICE on their mind!