March 27, 2007
Act 513 of the Eighty-sixth Arkansas General Assembly, introduced by Representative Bruce Maloch of Magnolia (Columbia County), was approved. Act 513 designated rice as the official grain of the state of Arkansas. Rice, a staple of human consumption for thousands of years, entered North America when it was first planted in South Carolina in the early 1690s. While rice was cultivated in small amounts in Arkansas as early as 1840, it did not become a major crop in the state until the earliest years of the twentieth century. Today, rice is grown in forty Arkansas counties. In 2005, more than 1.6 million acres in the state were dedicated to rice production, making Arkansas the top rice-producing state in the country.