Rice farms increasing in size

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report says the number of rice farms in the nation dropped by 46 percent from 1992 to 2007. But the overall rice acreage fell only 12 percent. This means more large-scale farming operations are growing the rice in the U.S.

I read what other journalists write about crop reports more than I try to analyze data and impact myself. A saw a short analysis about the USDA rice report put together by Rick Fahr for ArkansasBusiness.com.

Rice farmers looking to stay competitive are just like other commodity grain farmers of today. "Farmers increasingly look to expand the scope of their operations by purchasing ground, entering into traditional rental agreements with landowners or forging managerial relationships, Fahr wrote.

On a nationwide basis, the average acres of rice per farm grew from 278 to 453, an increase of 63 percent. And the number of farms featuring at least 1,000 acres of rice more than doubled in that period, to 616 from 292. Smaller-size rice farms shrank significantly.

Input and operating costs to grow a rice crop are higher than other commodity grains, but the return on investment is the deciding factor when farmers look at what crop they will grow. And rice prices have been fairly good with average gross value of each rice acre's production being $846.33, noted Fahr.

Read the full ArkansasBusiness.com report by clicking here.