Rice varieties for the processed, specialty, and organic rice industry
Some 3 million acres of rice are planted annually in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Missouri. The U.S. is a major world supplier of rice, with half of the nation’s crop being exported. Dr. Anna McClung of the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Rice Research Unit in Beaumont, Texas, has worked closely with industry and university partners, including Texas A&M University, to develop rice cultivars with improved disease resistance, yield, and processing characteristics in alignment with the ARS mission to help sustain and improve the competitiveness of the U.S. rice industry. These formal and informal collaborations have resulted in the development of eight new rice varieties which, over the last five years have been grown in Texas, Mississippi and South Carolina, and are being commercialized by international food companies Mars Foods, Inc.; Riviana Foods, Inc.; and Campbell Soup Company. Texas-based food companies such as Doguet’s Rice Mill, Arrowhead Mills, and Texas Organic have also benefited from the new rice varieties. Over one million pounds of seed rice of these cultivars have been sold for planting by farmers in the south. As a result, a new quickcooking rice food product has been commercialized, a domestically produced aromatic rice is in the marketplace to compete with imports, new rice cultivars suited for production on organic farms are being grown, a higher yielding cultivar suited for canned rice products is in production, and rice utilization has expanded from the whole grain market to use as a flour by the ingredients industry.