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

NAFTA Talks Inch Forward, But More Work Needed

Jan 29, 2018
Making progress?
ITP-NAFTA Negotiators-180129

MONTREAL, CANADA – Trade ministers from Canada, Mexico, and the United States today ended the 6th round of negotiations to modernize the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) without issuing a joint statement, and signaling various levels of progress. 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, "We believe that some progress was made.  We finally began to discuss some of the core issues, so this round was a step forward — but we are progressing very slowly. We owe it to our citizens, who are operating in a state of uncertainty, to move much faster." 

Negotiators reportedly “closed” or finished the anti-corruption chapter of what is being dubbed NAFTA 2.0.  Negotiators will next reportedly meet in Mexico City in late February for the 7th round of talks.

“It’s clear that the parties made progress on several discrete topics during last week’s talks,” said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings who was in Montreal. “But the big make or break issues like improved U.S. dairy access in Canada, U.S. proposals on auto rules of origin, a hard sunset for NAFTA, and investor-state dispute settlement still need to be addressed and resolved at the political level for the negotiations to close.”

Cummings continued, “Our main messages to the administration are the critical importance of NAFTA to the economic health of U.S. rice farmers and exporters and therefore the importance of concluding these negotiations with NAFTA intact and stronger.  Last week offered the opportunity to keep delivering this message to U.S. negotiators, their Mexican and Canadian counterparts, and congressional staff as well as to participate in activities of pro-NAFTA groups like Farmers for Free Trade.”

As negotiators enter what is known as an “intersessional period,” follow-up discussions will take place among the negotiating groups to prepare for the next negotiating session. 

Two upcoming elections are widely seen as constraining and shaping the negotiating calendar – Mexico’s presidential election in July and the U.S. midterm elections in November. 

Cummings said USA Rice will continue to engage with U.S. negotiators and Members of Congress as an organization and within several pro-NAFTA coalitions to educate and advocate on behalf of this beneficial trade agreement.