Senate OKs Measure Focusing on Rice as Nutritional, Economic Asset in Mississippi & U.S.

September 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate has passed a resolution cosponsored by U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) that recognizes the importance of U.S. rice production as a valuable source of nutrition and as a profitable crop for regions like the Mississippi Delta.

S.Res.651, introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Cochran, also highlights the 20th anniversary of Congress designating September as National Rice Month.  The resolution was approved by unanimous consent late Monday.

“Rice production represents one of the staple crops underpinning agriculture as an economic force in Mississippi,” said Cochran, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “For the past two decades, the Senate has recognized the importance of rice production as one of its oldest agribusiness activities in our nation.  I am pleased we are again saluting this agricultural sector.”

“I am glad to join the many rice producers we have in Mississippi and across the country in celebrating the 20th anniversary of National Rice Month,” said Wicker.  “Rice producers remain an integral part of our nation’s food supply and a major contributor to our economy.”

The Senate resolution notes the history of rice production in the United States, as well as its role as a global agribusiness.  More than 22 billion pounds of rice was produced in 2009 with a farm gate value of $3.0 billion.  Production and subsequent sales involved an estimated 127,000 jobs and represented $17.9 billion in total value to the U.S. economy last year.

Mississippi is among the leading rice-producing states, along with Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and California.  In 2009, the state produced more than 15.8 million hundredweight of rice, primarily in the Delta counties of Bolivar, Sunflower, Quitman, Tunica, Washington, Coahoma, Tallahatchie and Leflore.