Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 10:49 PM
Farmers Rice Milling Co. Inc. will spend $13.4 million to expand and modernize its local rice mill, boosting processing speed and volume, company officials said Tuesday.
“This project ensures Farmers Rice Milling will continue to purchase rice from the farmers of Southwest Louisiana and grow its position as a leader in the world rice market,” company CEO James Warshaw said in a news release issued by the Louisiana Economic Development Department.
“Farmers Rice Milling Co. has been a key part of the agricultural economy in Louisiana for over 90 years, employing hundreds of workers and buying services from vendors and suppliers around the state.”
The project, which will reportedly help the company keep 87 jobs, will include adding 55,000 square feet of space to the mill’s clean rice packaging and distribution facility.
Farmers Rice Milling Co., a division of The Powell Group, runs the largest rice mill in Louisiana, employing more than 125 workers in the mill and related facilities and 25 at its headquarters in Baton Rouge, company officials said.
“We’ve made retaining and expanding Louisiana’s existing businesses our top economic development priority since taking office in 2008, and this expansion is another example of our commitment to make Louisiana the best place in the world to find a great job and pursue a rewarding career,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said in the news release.
“Farmers Rice Milling Co. could have chosen to invest in another state, but they picked Louisiana because of our strong business climate, outstanding farmers and our incomparable workforce.”
The company processes and mills rough rice at its Lake Charles facility, and then packages and distributes clean rice. The mill, which has been in business since 1917, buys from rice-growing regions throughout Louisiana and serves customers worldwide, company officials said.
The state reportedly began working with Farmers Rice Milling Co. on the modernization project in May 2011, offering the company an incentive package, including a $425,000 tax credit payable over five years and a property tax abatement.
“Whenever any of the companies upgrade their facility it is a good thing for the rice farmers and all of the rice industry in the area,” said Kevin Berken, chairman of the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board.