California farmers are growing about 545,000 acres of rice this year, about 100,000 acres more than each of the last two years.
Jim Morris with the California Rice Commission says this year is an average planting, but it’s welcome news to rice farmers who have had to idle fields during the drought.
“Rice was one of the most impacted crops in all of California from the drought and that impact not only affects the farmers directly it affects our economy," says Morris. "It also hurts the wildlife habitat that the rice fields provide.”
Harvest gets underway in September. California is the nation’s second largest rice producing state. Almost all of the sushi rice in the nation is grown in the Sacramento Valley.
Morris says California rice contributes $5 billion to the state’s economy and flooded fields help provide habitat for migrating birds.