April 9, 2015

History of rice in Mississippi

In United States, the first commercial planting occurred in South Carolina in about 1685.

The more technologically sophisticated method of rice cultivation, which became increasingly common after 1750, made use of the natural rise and fall of water near tidal estuaries.

Rex L. Kimbriel, a Mississippi delta cotton farmer, first experimented with a small crop of rice in 1947 and in 1948 with four neighboring farmer planted 400 acres of rice.

Pumping probes and an early frost ruined their crop, but the potential was clear.

In 1949, Kimbriel and other delta farmers planted 1800 acres in rice, built their own rice dryer. Rice growing had spread to over one and a half million acres in several states by 1950.

Mississippi had fallen behind neighboring states in developing it, but the use of new methods of drying, combine harvesting and chemical insect control seemed about to launch rice as a major Delta crop.

Rice research done at the Delta Branch Experiment Station led to the development of optimal varieties and cultural practices for Mississippi rice farming. Mississippi rice farming was expanding rapidly by the middle of 1970s.
History of rice in Mississippi
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