RICHALND PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) — (07/15/20) 2020 looks to be the year for rice in Louisiana as the crop continues to head down the road to a bumper crop. Northeast Louisiana is playing a huge part in making this happen.
“The market was significantly better in relation to the other crops we grow, I think that’s why a lot of rice got planted. But, long term, the new technologies and new growing systems in rice really gives the farmer a much bigger playbook” Scott Franklin, President of the Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association said.
This includes Furrow Irrigation, or Row Rice, as well as Alternate Wetting and Drying, which makes the growing process more environmentally and economically beneficial. This left the state with 450,000 acres of rice this year, as opposed to the average 400,000 acres.
“And almost all of that increase is attributed to the Northeast portion of the state.” Franklin said.
This method has been in practice the area for a while, but hasn’t been insured until this year after Congressman Ralph Abraham made the insurance possible.
“Technically it was not insurable under federal crop insurance guidelines. That gave a lot of farmers the chance to become rice growers” Franklin said.
Farmers also did not have to worry about flooded fields this year, as they had enough time in between rain and dry spells.
“The timely rains have been very beneficial to the rice crop.” Franklin said.
Local rice farmers are saying that the combination of these factors could lead to a record farming year for rice in Louisiana, which is great for NELA’s and the state’s economy.
“I think it’s one of the best rice crops we’ve ever had in the state of Louisiana. It’s dried here, it’s milled here so those dollars turn over, about seven and a half times the actual dollar value of the rice.” Franklin said.
Farmers are hoping excessive rainfall can hold off until harvest time, which for Northeast Louisiana is around the middle of August. Until then, they won’t know if the crop officially broke any yield records.