- Mississippi ranks 6th in the nation in rice production
- The average rice yield is about 155 bushels to the acre
- Rice was grown on 259 farms in 2015
- Rice brought in $105 million to the state’s economy in 2017
Mississippi is one of the major rice producing states, ranking behind Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and California. Modern commercial rice production in Mississippi had its start in 1948 when Mr. Rex Kimbrell produced approximately 300 acres just south of Greenville in Washington County. Harvested acres increased to 5000 the next year. Acreage increased rapidly for the next five years to about 77,000 acres in 1954.In recent years, rice acreage has been increasing and was more than 300,000 in 1999.
Rice production in Mississippi has been confined almost entirely to the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, with only very limited production outside this area. Bolivar, Washington, and Sunflower counties in the center of the Delta have been the leading counties in rice production. The clay soils, large flat fields, quality water availability, and favorable climate are excellent for rice growth.
Cultivated rice is generally considered a semiaquatic annual grass, although in the tropics it can survive as a perennial, producing new tillers from nodes after harvest (ratooning). At maturity the rice plant has a main stem and a number of tillers. Each productive tiller bears a terminal flowering head or panicle. Plant height varies by variety and environmental conditions, ranging from approximately 0.4 m to over 5 m in some floating rices. The morphology of rice is divided into the vegetative phases (including germination, seedling, and tillering stages) and the reproductive phases (including panicle initiation and heading stages).