The rice market continues firm as a result of a 13% reduction in carryover stocks in the January WASDE report at 26.3 million cwts. Demand from paddy buyers in Mexico and Central America is expected to grow. There are always reasons for the market to go up and down. Buyers in Mexico, Central America and several South American markets cannot ignore the severe drought conditions in the Mercosur rice region. While the harvest is just getting underway in Paraguay and the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina it is obvious there will be a significant overall reduction in production. Will Brazil need to import U.S. rice again as they did in late 2020? Will the new administration in Washington D.C. enhance the effort for Iraq to buy U.S. rice? The high prices of soybeans and corn are the result of the Mercosur drought as well so will we see a shift downward in rice acres in the Mississippi River Delta? There is no rice in farmers' hands in South Louisiana and maybe 2.5 million cwts in Texas with bids expected to ease upwards. Farmers are working ground as they prepare to plant new crop rice in 30-40 days.