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

Cruz Lifts Hold; Senate Confirms Northey at USDA

Feb 27, 2018
Bill Northey
 Bill Northey, headshot
WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate confirmed Bill Northey as USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation today after an extended stalemate surrounding his confirmation.

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted unanimously last October to advance Northey, currently Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, but Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) held up the nominee for months in an effort to alter the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

President Trump met this morning with Cruz at the White House, along with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to discuss Cruz's issues with the RFS. Cruz then released his hold on Northey’s confirmation, ending a drawn-out standoff leaving several positions unfilled at the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA).

“Undersecretary Northey's confirmation is long overdue and we’re glad to see it finally go through,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs.  “With this leadership role filled, we hope to soon see the administrator-level positions filled so they can get to work on the many issues facing rice farmers.”

While this morning’s meeting at the White House lifted the hold on Northey, a compromise on the RFS was not reached.

Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the RFS mandates that gasoline contain a certain percentage of biofuels, mostly ethanol from corn.  The senators from Iowa, the country’s largest producer of biofuels, have pushed back on Cruz’s criticism of the RFS.  Cruz says the RFS hurts energy jobs, a particular concern for Pennsylvania refineries.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has long supported Northey’s nomination, calling him “a quality candidate” and “an authentic farmer” who is trusted in Iowa.  “We’re anxious to get him up on the job,” Perdue has said.