Rice is more labor-intensive and requires more farm equipment per acre than corn and soybeans, agricultural experts say.Well, they'll probably switch back if corn is selling for $3.50 a bushel and rice prices go up. I just hope all those non-farmers who think farmers work really hard don't find out how easy Midwestern grain farming is.
"It's just a lot more management in rice than it is in corn and beans, which takes me away from the house and my family more," says Mr. Waller, the Louisiana farmer. "To be able to grow rice, it has to be a good bit more profitable than the other crops."
The cutback in U.S. rice plantings already is crimping supplies in the South, and prompting rice companies to adapt. American Rice Inc., a rice miller with brands including Blue Ribbon and Comet, ordered rice from Vietnam last month for use at its mill in Freeport, Texas, because local supplies are tight after recent state droughts. "There simply isn't enough rice in Texas to run that plant," said Paul Galvani, vice president of marketing at American Rice's parent company, Riviana Foods Inc., declining to disclose the size of the rice purchase.
In Arkansas, Jason Smith said he has sharply cut back his rice plantings in the past few years in favor of corn. Corn, in addition to being more profitable lately than rice, is much easier to grow, Mr. Smith said. He has sold more than a dozen pieces of specialty equipment that he used to need for rice, and has needed fewer seasonal laborers since he began planting corn three years ago.
"Nobody that's farming rice is ever going to want to go back after farming corn," Mr. Smith said.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Rice Farmers Find An Easier Way
With prices where they are at, rice farmers find out how much less work they have growing corn and soybeans: