Rice growers expected to have strong 2009 yields

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Rice growers are projected to have a 2009 yield nearly 3% greater than a year ago.

That's even though Arkansas, where about half the nation's rice is produced, had an unduly wet spring and a cool summer.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts the U.S. rice yield will be just more than 7,000 pounds per acre, versus just more than 6,800 pounds per acre in 2008.

About 3 million U.S. acres are planted with rice this year. That's also up slightly from last year's crop, which was worth $3.4 billion.

Arkansas has about 1.4 million acres planted. California is second with 517,000 acres planted and Louisiana is next with 464,000 acres. They're followed by Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

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