6th Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: Economics: What do rice farmers do to maintain the standard of quality in the rice they produce?


Since its beginnings in the 1600s, rice from the United States has been known the world around as the standard of quality. United States rice farmers continue to uphold this quality standard and they do it by practicing the most modern, efficient and environmentally safe farming methods in the world.


To prepare the fields for planting, heavy equipment is used to shift the soil and level the fields. The rice farmer uses computers and laser guidance systems to provide an even, gentle slope to the fields. This will insure that there will be uniform flooding in the rice fields during the growing season. Levees are used to hold the water in the rice fields. These are placed in exact locations so that the water can be conserved and controlled on the fields.

With the land properly prepared, acres of fields can be quickly seeded. Rice farmers use one of two methods to plant the rice. Grain drills can plant the seeds to an exact depth before the field is flooded or airplanes sprinkle the rice seed over the flooded fields.


The water for the rice fields is pumped from nearby rivers, canals or wells. It is kept on the fields throughout the growing season at a depth of two to three inches. Modern, state-of-the-art irrigation systems are often used to conserve water. The rice farmer of today can use up to two-thirds less water than they may have used thirty years ago.


Harvest begins when the rice grain has matured. The water is first drained from the fields. Large combines then cut the rice, separate the grain from the stalk and pump the grain into trucks. The rice grain is then transported to the drying and storage facilities. Here the rice is stored at precise moisture levels to keep the grain at peek quality until it is ready to mill.


Read about two other methods of farming, such as wheat farming and soy bean farming. Make a chart that shows the similarities and differences between the three methods of farming. Illustrate your chart.


Research the computer programs and the laser guidance systems that rice farmers use in producing high quality rice. Write at least three paragraphs that explain what you have learned. Illustrate your report.


  • standard
  • uniform
  • matured
  • facilities
  • precise
  • irrigation
  • guidance
  • conserve

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
The Milling Process for Rice:
Getting rice from the field to you takes
a few more steps. Click here to see a video & learn more about the rice milling process.
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