Explore the details of rice farming in Louisiana.

Rice is a major crop in the U.S., and Louisiana has a long history of growing this staple crop. Rice requires irrigation to grow, making the lowlands of Louisiana prime grounds for rice farming. Explore the ins and outs of the Louisiana rice industry below.

Rice Farming in Louisiana

Rice farms in Louisiana are most common along the southern lowlands of the state, helped along by the Mississippi river delta and the numerous additional waterways in the region. Similarly, there are also concentrations of rice farms following the river north along the eastern and northeastern regions of the state.

Rice farming was started in Louisiana around the 1860s, and the state has remained a top producer of the crop. According to the USDA’s NASS publication for Louisiana, the state was third in rice production in the nation in 2012 with over 400,000 acres in rice production worth nearly $300 million.

Rice is an important crop in Louisiana, a state where agriculture ranks in the top three most important industries. According to the numbers from USDA’s NASS, rice is one of the top five ag commodities in Louisiana, based on sales. Along with sugar cane, soybeans, and corn, rice is one of the leading crops that put Louisiana ag on the map.

A Commitment to Innovation

Rice farming may have deep historical roots in Louisiana, but the state’s rice farmers have a commitment to making rice farming as sustainable and as environmentally-conscious as possible. Louisiana’s rice fields are home to many aquatic animals and offer food and shelter to the state’s wide array of migrating birds.

For instance, according to a rice farmer spotlight on ThinkRice.com—the marketing arm of the USA Rice Federation—one Louisiana rice farmer is growing a new jasmine-type aromatic variety, called Jazzman rice, and marketing it to consumers and chefs looking for a new spin on rice and to meet the nation’s demand for exotic flavors and ethnic cuisine.

Furthermore, a New York Times article looks at how Louisiana rice farmers have used their rice fields to harvest another important crop in the Bayou State: crayfish. In fact, many rice farmers have utilized crawfish farming, as it’s called, to stay afloat through hard times in the rice industry. The two “crops” end up in the same pot to create many of the Cajun cuisine dishes that Louisiana is famous for, showing just how important agriculture is in the state.

AgAmerica Lending offers Louisiana land loans for traditional rice farmers and innovative crayfish farms alike. If you’d like to see what our custom loans could do for your ag operation, contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable team member.