Rice acreage decreased significantly from 3.04 million acres in 2020 to 2.54 million acres in 2021. This decrease can be attributed to higher corn and soybean prices, as well as to the typical crop rotation seen in rice production. The majority of U.S. rice acres are in long-grain rice with the USDA projecting 2.08 million planted acres for 2021.
Long-grain rice production for 2021 is projected to be 144.2 million hundredweight, down 15.6% from 170.9 million hundredweight in 2020 (Figure 1). Despite the decrease in production, exports in 2021 are expected to remain steady at 65 million hundredweight. An average of 47% of U.S. rice production has been exported since 2008. Accounting for over 50 percent of exports, Japan, Mexico, Haiti, and Canada are by far the largest importers of U.S. rice.
The price of long-grain rice for the 2021 crop is projected to be up to $13.00/cwt (Figure 2). Rice prices in general have been trending upwards since 2016. Prices are still well below the $15.40/cwt received by producers in 2013 and are also below the $14.00/cwt Effective Reference Price used to calculate payments for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) farm program. However, U.S. prices are still relatively high compared to Asian markets which makes it difficult for U.S. rice to remain competitive in those areas. This has contributed to exports remaining flat since 2017.
Figure 1. Long-grain rice production, beginning stocks, ending stocks, and exports from USDA WASDE Report 2008-2021. * Projected
Figure 2. Long-grain rice marketing year average price from USDA WASDE Report and PLC Effective Reference Price. *Projected marketing year average price