"It's $9.50 over loan this year," said Yolo County rice grower Tim Miramontes, who also serves as president of the Yolo County Farm Bureau.
"I wish I had more acres to plant."
When a grower goes to their local USDA Farm Service Agency office, they receive a rice-production loan of roughly $6 per hundredweight.When the crop is harvested, the rice buyer pays the $6 per cwt. back to the USDA
and then pays an additional amount to the grower; thus, the additional amount that Miramontes
is receiving is $9.50 per cwt.
, who grows rice on the Conaway Ranch in Yolo County, said, "Landowners in the rice-growing region are selling water to water districts down south because they can make more money than they can renting farm ground." Miramontes
is going to plant only 150 acres of rice this year, down from 300 last year.He
plans to increase his
acreage of safflower and wheat, partly because "the price went up" for those crops and there will be less water available for growing rice.
Despite high rice prices, profitability remains one of the biggest challenges for growers due to rising input costs, including the minimum wage, which increased to $8 per hour this year, up from $7.50 last year.
"The price of fertilizers has basically doubled since last year and fuel has doubled," Miramontes
said."We have higher wages now and all the chemicals, herbicides and what-not have gone up.There are more options for making money out there, but it's getting eaten up by all the inputs."
Growers have various ways of coping with the rising input costs.
"I try to do more personally instead of hiring people to do it," Miramontes
, who will begin planting his
rice in May, intends to grow M-206."M-206 is becoming more popular, especially for people in the Woodland area, because it withstands the cooler weather better," he