The Sacramento Valley could face a rice shortage this year due to heavy rains in the area that caused farmers to delay their planting.
Many farmers have only just started to plant – two to three weeks behind schedule – and now they’re rushing to make up for lost time.
“It’s a later year because of the wet winter and then the spring rains that occurred,” California Rice Commission spokesman Jim Morris told ABC10. “The rice needs to be in the ground by June 1 to get the maximum production, and we’re running a few weeks behind that.”
“Lately the weather has been improving – including north winds which help dry the fields out,” he added, “So hopefully for the vast majority of the people growing rice in California they’ll be able to get the crop in in time.”
Nearly every rice field in the Sacramento Valley is believed to have been affected at least to some degree by the rains. The most significantly impacted area is the 30,000 acres near the Yolo Bypass, where Morris said it’s doubtful any rice will be able to be planted.
Even if farmers don’t meet their June 1 deadline, the California Rice Commission believes it’s unlikely consumers will see the price of rice go up.
California produces more than 4 billion pounds of rice each year, meaning that even with a shortage, they say there should still be plenty of rice to go around.
“I think from a consumer perspective it’s likely to be negligible,” Morris said. “Rice is very affordable and will continue to be so.”