The US is the 3rd largest exporter of rice in the world (after Thailand and India), with 3.3 million tons sold to more than 100 countries in 2003-04. In 2004, US rice production rose to 10.5 million tons, the 5th most important agricultural crop in the United States in terms of value.
1 single rice grain can produce more than 3,000 grains of rice. Rice is a hardy, perennial plant, with a life span than can reach 20 years, producing thousands of grains of rice each year.
In 2004, 246,000 million tons of rice were exported from the US to the European Union. The US has some 30 major rice plantations, employing around 15,000 people.
US parboiled rice is the most popular rice type among food service/catering companies because of its good taste, uniformity in color and shape, and the fact that it does not stick. Contrary to popular belief, parboiling does not remove vitamins and minerals - but rather locks them into the rice grain, producing a more nutritious food.
Rice is a compex carbohydrate, contains no cholesterol or sodium, is very low in fat, easy to digest, is gluten-free and non-allergenic.
In 2004-05, worldwide consumption of rice reached 412,000 million tons (USDA Quarterly International Trade report, November 2004). Rice is the main cereal for 3.4 billion people in developing countries (FAO).