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Rice was designated the official grain of the State of Arkansas by Act 513 of the Eighty-sixth Arkansas General Assembly. Introduced
by Representative Bruce Maloch of Magnolia (Columbia County), the act was approved on March 27, 2007. Representative Bruce Maloch, who sponsored
the bill in the House, was lobbied by his 12-year old daughter to file the bill long before the session began in January.
Arkansas, like all the other states, has a state bird, state flower, and a state tree, but it did not have a state grain until March 19, when Gov. Mike Beebe signed legislation naming rice the official grain of Arkansas.
Maloch felt the measure would demonstrate the importance of rice to Arkansas, because it is the top US rice-growing state, producing over 1.3 million
acres per year at a value of $892 million dollars. Rice production has been an important part of US agriculture, since the late 17th century.
Rice, a staple of human consumption for thousands of years, entered North America when it was first planted in South Carolina in
the early 1690s. While rice was cultivated in small amounts in Arkansas as early as 1840, it did not become a major crop in the state until the earliest
years of the twentieth century. William Fuller of Carlisle (Lonoke County) is frequently credited with creating the interest in rice production through
an experimental farm in 1902. Following his example, rice production caught on in various counties on the Grand Prairie, as well as the Mississippi
River Delta region and the Arkansas River Valley.
Today, rice is grown in forty Arkansas counties. In 2005, over 1.6 million acres in the state were dedicated to rice production, making Arkansas the top rice-producing state in the country. Most of the rice raised in Arkansas is of the long-grain variety, while other states (such as California) produce more short-grain and medium-grain rice. About ninety percent of the rice consumed in the United States is grown in the United States, and the United States is also the fourth leading exporter of rice (exporting rice especially to Mexico, Canada, Haiti, and Japan). While more than half of the rice produced is served as rice, rice also is an ingredient in processed food, beer, and pet food.
The Arkansas rice crop of 2002 was raised on 3,573 farms totaling 1.5 million acres; the total production was 97.2 million hundredweight of rice. By 2008, production had dropped slightly to 92.9 million hundredweight raised on 1.4 million acres. The state quarter, designed in 2002 and distributed in 2003, includes rice in its design, the only grain depicted.
The law designating rice as the official Arkansas state grain is found in the Arkansas Code, Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 1-4-127.
Title 1 - General Provisions
Chapter 4 - State Symbols, Motto, Etc
§ 1-4-127 - State grain.
1-4-127. State grain.
(a) Rice is designated the official grain of the State of Arkansas.
(b)(1) This section does not require a state agency or office to
republish a publication or brochure in order to list or display the state
(2) A state agency or office may include the information concerning
the state grain in future publications or brochures or in a scheduled
update to a publication or brochure.
History. Acts 2007, No. 513, § 1; 2009, inserted (b) and redesignated the remain-
No. 249, § 2. ing text accordingly.
Amendments. The 2009 amendment