A History of the American Rice Industry, 1685-1985

Overview


Rice is a staple food for a majority of the world's people. Americans, however, traditionally have consumed corn and potatoes rather than rice. It thus may come as a surprise to some Americans that rice has been produced in America for more than three centuries and during that time has accounted for much of the world's trade. Most rice is consumed where it is produced, with little entering foreign markets. American rice has been primarily a product for the international export trade, but changing technology and ...
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Overview


Rice is a staple food for a majority of the world's people. Americans, however, traditionally have consumed corn and potatoes rather than rice. It thus may come as a surprise to some Americans that rice has been produced in America for more than three centuries and during that time has accounted for much of the world's trade. Most rice is consumed where it is produced, with little entering foreign markets. American rice has been primarily a product for the international export trade, but changing technology and political environments at home and abroad have made it a volatile commodity.

Henry C. Dethloff has researched many original manuscript documents to gather the history of this American agribusiness that got its start when a British sea captain brought seed from Madagascar to the Carolinas in 1685. Plantations developed, and planters with resources for the complicated, labor-intensive production of rice made it the number-two colonial export cash crop. Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, California, and Mississippi eventually became the primary rice-growing states, and new plant varieties, further mechanization of farming, and improved pumping and irrigation systems reinvigorated the industry at the turn of the century.

In the twentieth century, the rice industry is even more tied to the political vagaries of the world and its markets than before. Events in foreign countries, trade policies, and the federal government's foreign policy have more impact on the industry than the weather in the rice fields.

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Editorial Reviews

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The history of an American agribusiness that got its start when a British sea captain brought seed from Madagascar to the Carolinas in 1685. Plantations developed, and planters with resources for the complicated, labor-intensive production of rice made it the number-two colonial export cash crop. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585440092
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1988
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author


Henry C. Dethloff is professor of history at Texas A&M University and has written a number of books on American, southwestern, business, and economic history.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii
List of Tables ix
Preface xi
Introduction 3
1 Rice Comes to Carolina 6
2 Mill to Market 26
3 The Golden Age Ended, 1820-1870 46
4 A New Beginning 63
5 Expansion into Texas and Arkansas 81
6 Milling and Irrigation 95
7 Organizing the Industry 110
8 Depression 128
9 Marketing Initiatives at Home and Abroad, 1935-1945 145
10 A New Era 162
11 A New Infrastructure: Market Development, 1965-1985 181
Bibliography 195
Index 204
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