Sustainability extends beyond environmental resource impacts. To ensure good environmental practices continue, farm operation must be economically sustainable. Rice, an economic powerhouse, improves on-farm profitability, supports and sustains local communities, and significantly contributes to the U.S. economy. In many cases, community life revolves around rice as the main economic resource, supporting entire towns.
The U.S. rice industry contributes in excess of $34 billion to the U.S. economy annually and provides jobs for more than 125,000 individuals in the U.S. On average, each rice farm contributes $1 million to their local economy.
The U.S. rice industry provides critical jobs in rural areas throughout the country. Across the U.S., 5,563 rice farmers directly support 14,642 jobs, generating $1.56 billion in direct labor income. U.S. rice mills supported an annual average employment of 4,819 people and provided over $245 million in wages.48 Average wages for employees on farms and in mills exceed minimum wage in all rice producing states.