Mississippi ranks sixth in the country for rice production, harvesting a total of 101,000 acres in 2021/22.
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Mississippi ranks sixth in the country for rice production, harvesting a total of 101,000 acres in 2021/22. This was the state’s smallest total harvest since 1973/74, according to the USDA. However, rice production in Mississippi is relatively new compared to other rice-growing states:
“Rice has been a major part of Mississippi agriculture only since the 1940s. It was first grown in Mississippi in the early nineteenth century and first grown in the Delta region around 1909. Planters discontinued production in the Delta, possibly because of the difficulty of working with animal power in the sticky clay soil. Modern rice production in Mississippi began in 1948 when Rex Kimbrell, Malcolm James, and Frank Unkel formed a partnership and planted about 300 acres near Greenville, in Washington County. The state’s harvested acreage increased to 5,000 the next year and to 77,000 five years later. The US Department of Agriculture instituted acreage controls following the 1954 crop, and reducing the state’s total harvested acres to 52,000 in 1955. Because Mississippi had no long-term history of rice production, federal acreage controls restricted the state’s production for the next two decades. Following the elimination of controls in 1973, the amount of harvested acreage increased to 108,000 in 1974 and peaked at 335,000 acres in 1981.” Source
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