Close up view of rice plants.


The U.S. Rice Story

The U.S. rice industry’s commitment to sustainability dates back generations, long before the word “sustainability” became a popular term.  And today, the rice community continues to make strides towards a more sustainable future.

All segments of the U.S. rice industry are invested in sustainable production and processing practices because it's personal – providing for their families, serving their communities, protecting wildlife habitats, and creating jobs.  Their stewardship is deliberate, ensuring a healthy, safe food supply, while improving the environment, and contributing to the local economy.


A History of Resource Stewardship

Over a 36-year period, improved sustainability practices led to increased production and crop yields while also yielding some of the greatest environmental benefits.  For more information, view the industry’s Sustainability Report and 2030 Sustainability Goals which show how the rice community continues to make strides towards a more sustainable future.

Water use decreased 52 percent
Energy use decreased 34 percent
Greenhouse gas emissions decreased 41percent
Soil loss decreased 28 percent.
Land use efficiency increased 39 percent

U.S. Rice Fields Provide Essential Wildlife Habitat

Many wildlife species rely on the wetland habitat created by American rice farmers. Working rice lands across all rice producing states provide millions of acres of life-sustaining resources for migrating waterbirds along with countless other animals that call the fields their home.  This makes rice a unique working-lands crop.

Winter-flooded rice fields improve and enhance vital wildlife habitats by providing food and foraging for migratory and wintering fowl.  These fowl return the favor by helping to increase soil nutrients, straw decomposition, reducing weed and insect pressure, and providing other important agronomic advantages. 

In the regions where rice is grown in the U.S., rice agriculture provides 35 percent of the food resources available to migrating and wintering waterfowl. The cost of replacing existing rice habitat with managed natural wetlands is more than $3.5 billion.

More than 50 percent of North America's ducks winter in regions that overlap with all rice lands.
"Rice farmers and millers must comply with thousands of pages of federal and state regulations that are strictly enforced. This, paired with the industry’s commitment to conservation, makes U.S.-grown rice the most sustainably produced in the world."

Betsy Ward, President and CEO, USA Rice

Image of rice field and blue sky.