In late December 2022, Congress passed the Omnibus Bill, a comprehensive $1.7 trillion federal spending package that included provisions negotiated by Arkansas Senator Boozman on behalf of rice farmers. One of these provisions was a one-time payment of $250 million to producers who planted crops in 2022. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Senator Boozman will play a key role in the upcoming farm bill negotiations, which are important for midsouth producers.
Rice farmers in 2022 faced steep increases in input prices, similar to those experienced by farmers of other crops. However, rice prices did not increase as much, leaving farmers with little relief from the higher production costs. According to an Agricultural and Food Policy Center Report, the biggest contributor to the cost increase for rice farmers was a rise in fertilizer prices, which added $62 per acre in expenses. A study by Texas A&M University found that the rice industry would be more affected by rising fertilizer costs than any other commodity, and another report from the university indicated that the increasing input costs would make roughly two-thirds of rice farmers unprofitable in 2022.
According to the USDA's September 2022 survey, a total of 2,223,000 acres of rice were planted in the United States. It is understood that the one-time payment to rice farmers, which is expected to be made in 2023, will be based on 2022 planted acres. Based on this information, the payment would be approximately $112 per acre ($250M/2.2M acres). It's worth noting that the actual payment most likely will be lower than this estimate. Both producers and landowners who have crop share arrangements will qualify for this payment.