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

New Bill Focuses Attention on Organic Food

Feb 08, 2018
Rep. John Faso (R-NY)
 Official portrait of Rep John Faso (R-NY)
WASHINGTON, DC – Representative John Faso (R-NY) has introduced a bill that addresses fraudulent organic agricultural imports and proposes to increase funding to the National Organic Program (NOP) for oversight and technology upgrades.  USA Rice has continually raised the issue of fraudulent organic rice imports with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because they are harmful to domestic organic rice producers.

The bill would require the NOP to provide yearly reports to Congress on the progress of the initiative, and is intended to protect the integrity of the USDA organic label, increase consumer trust, and protect the interests of U.S. organic farmers who follow regulations.

“Representative Faso’s bill is a big step forward in addressing fraudulent labeling of non-organic products,” said Frank Leach, USA Rice manager of government affairs.  “Additional resources and technology for inspectors will boost consumer trust and program integrity, and protect our farmers.”

Sales of organic food reached a record $43 billion in 2017, and the industry is growing at a rate of almost 10 percent per year, according to Faso.  As demand for organic products in the U.S. increases, so have attempts to pass fake organics off as the real thing.  In 2017 alone, the USDA eliminated 42 fraudulent certificates from the organic supply chain that originated in countries including Viet Nam, Denmark, and Turkey.

The consequences to U.S. organic farmers, who must comply with additional certification to have their products authenticated as organic by the USDA, can be serious.  Fraudulent organic imports create unfair competition in the U.S. marketplace and undermine consumer confidence in organic brands, which ultimately hurts U.S. organic farmers.

The NOP, which is largely responsible for regulating organic certificates, has not kept pace with these issues.  Regulation and oversight have lagged behind in comparison to how rapidly the organic industry has grown, and Faso’s bill, also known as The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act of 2017, aims to remedy that disparity.   

The bill seeks to modernize the NOP’s record-keeping and tracking tools in order to improve their ability to regulate, oversee, and trace organic imports from their origins all the way to the U.S. market, giving the agency authority over any certifying agent operating in a foreign country.  

“Imports of organic rice products have surged in recent years and we are convinced that many of these are fraudulent and do not comply with NOP standards,” said John Hasbrook, USA Rice Foodservice Subcommittee Chairman.  “It is impacting our profitability and the integrity of our organic rice production.  We support Representative’s Faso’s bill and all steps to combat these illegal imports.”