Recent interpretations of the archaeology of domesticated rice evolution and the development of agriculture in the Lower Yangzi Valley are being informed by new genetic, palaeoenvironmental, archaeological and archaeobotanical data. This paper explores current views on early rice production in the region and attempts to expand the discourse to provoke exploration of new and modified questions. Rice-specific botanical through large-scale ecological issues and causality are examined. This paper argues that understanding rice domestication and production, although important, should not be the exclusive goal of research on early agriculture in the Yangzi Valley. Despite the preliminary nature of the investigations at Kuahuqiao (c. 8000–7000 cal. BP), evidence of resource management, and potential domesticated resources or their ancestors that includes pig (Sus scrofa), peach (Prunus persica), apricot (P. armeniaca), Japanese apricot (P. mume), foxnut (Euryale ferox) and water chestnut (Trapa spp.) underscore the need to broaden the scope of inquiry on early food/resource production. The complexities of the archaeological and environmental record in the Yangzi valley indicate that nuanced, complex explanations for rice domestication and agricultural origins rather than deterministic, single cause explanations are necessary in order to move forward.