Moving crops outside of their original centers of domestication was sometimes a challenging process. Because of its substantial heat requirements, moving rice agriculture outside of its homelands of domestication was not an easy process for farmers in the past. Using crop niche models, we examine the constraints faced by ancient farmers and foragers as they moved rice to its most northerly extent in Ancient China: Shandong province. Contrary to previous arguments, we find that during the climatic optimum rice could have been grown in the region. Climatic cooling following this date had a clear impact on the distribution of rice, one that may have placed adaptive pressure on rice to develop a temperate phenotype. Following the development of this temperate phenotype, rice agriculture could once again become implanted in select areas of north-eastern China.