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

Study Shows U.S. Outspent and Falling Behind on Ag Export Promotion

Feb 21, 2018
U.S. products on full display
at international trade show
 USA pavilion at international trade show, lots of red, white & blue banners and flags with people milling around information booths about US products
WASHINGTON, DC -- A study by Informa Economics, IEG on the competitiveness of U.S. export development programs in relation to other countries shows the European Union and others spent close to $1 billion on agricultural export promotion in 2016, outspending the United States 4 to 1.  Competitor spending increased 70 percent since 2011, while U.S. export promotion declined by about 12 percent over the same period.  
Though outspent in real dollars, the study found U.S programs may be more effective in promoting exports in some ways.  U.S. programs focus on long-term export goals, allow smaller industries to conduct marketing efforts that could not otherwise occur, include more sectors by seeking out a wider range of commodity involvement, and encourage greater industry participation and collaboration between the government and private sector.

Few cooperators demonstrate this more robustly than the U.S. rice industry that contributes $7 for every $1 received from the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) export promotion programs.

The effectiveness of the MAP and FMD export promotion programs, coupled with increasing foreign competition, and the effective reduction in program spending over the last several years has led USA Rice and other cooperators to request that funding for the programs be doubled.  
“This was one of our key messages last week during our annual fly-in when more than 100 USA Rice members visited with every Member of the House and Senate agricultural committees,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “We touted the successes of the MAP and FMD programs for not only our industry but for all of agriculture and their role in aiding a U.S. agricultural trade surplus of $21.3 billion in FY2017.  The fact that U.S. promotion efforts produce more with less is laudable but, in the end, not sustainable as we face fierce competition in the global marketplace.”