Work begins on state-of-the art rice milling facility in Lacassine

LACASSINE – The South Louisiana Rail Facility broke ground Thursday on a new $21 million rice mill, adding value to locally grown rice and opening up more markets for rice farmers in South Louisiana and Southeast Texas.

Local and state officials gathered to celebrate construction of the state-of-the-art rice milling facility which will be built on a three acre site adjacent to the South Louisiana Rail Facility (SLRF) at the Lacassine Industrial Park in Jeff Davis Parish.

“This is what we have been working on for the past nine years,” Rail Facility Manager Mark Pousson said. “We have gone from loading that first rail car with rice in 2012 to loading ships, to now having our own rice mill in that short period of time.”

Those who participated in the groundbreaking said the new facility represents an international and agriculture win for the state’s leading crop.

“This is an opportunity to add even more value to that produce and ship it across the world which will bring economic benefits for generations to come,’ Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “It also provides more options for our rice producers so that those options can pay off and we can produce the rice in the form that our customers want, whether it’s milled or rough (rice).”

Andy Sharpe of the Buhler Group said rice crops will come straight out of the field to the mill where it will be polished and shipped by rail to some of the largest rice customers in Mexico.

“We have a moral and fundamental duty to the people of this earth to provide food to them,” Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said. “This facility will go a long way to doing that.”

Worldwide consumers are using more rice than is being produced, he said.

The Lacassine rice mill will help meet the demand by providing high quality rice at affordable prices to be shipped around the world, Strain said.

Parneet Swani, founder of Agreeta Global, called the groundbreaking a historical moment.

“This moment in history will be remembered, signifying the first step, creating a legacy of valve for the generations to come,” Swani said. “There’s an immense opportunity that we have just been enlightened unfolding itself before us on this sustainable journey ahead of us. We look forward to reinvesting in the community and to growing the community.”

The five story 15,000-square-foot building, which will house the processing facility for the rice mill, is expected to be completed in time for the next rice harvest.

Funding for the new facility comes in part from a $1.6 million grant from Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and $2.4 million from the Louisiana Agriculture Finance Authority (LAFA). More than 200 farmers and other investors in South Louisiana and Southeast Texas also provided $4.7 million to secure the project.

In addition, the SLRF is partnering with the India-based Agreeta Farmer Network to optimize the facility’s logistics and to prepare local farm products for international markets.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Brumley likes propaganda videos

Crime

Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder

Crime

Sheriff: Body found on the side of the road

life

Team Green Wednesday recycling drop-off schedule has changed

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Cemetery holds burial for seven unclaimed veterans

Business

Commonwealth LNG accused of mowing over threatened bird habitat

Local News

Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Local News

Release of 1M barrels of gas ‘not likely’ to ease price at pump

Crime

LC man charged with child porn possession

Local News

Scooter Hobbs column: Everything you need to know (and more) about LSU opponent

Local News

Lake Charles, Sulphur populations down, but Hunter says news isn’t all bad

life

STEM-centric Saturday: Phillips 66 STEM Family Fun Day in the Park this weekend

Local News

Four local educators finalists for state teacher, principal of the year

Crime

Trial begins for man accused in fatal Sherry Street shooting

Crime

GUILTY: Trump becomes first former US president convicted of felony crimes

Crime

Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts Chad Daybell of killing wife and girlfriend’s 2 children

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Potential for severe storms into Saturday

Local News

Sowela awarded nearly $300,000 to support mental health intiativies

Local News

Louisiana may soon require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

Crime

Jury in Trump trial resume deliberations after asking to rehear testimony

Crime

Two injured in Wednesday shooting

life

Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office joins ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign

Local News

LDH urges precautions for mosquitoes to protect against West Nile, dengue

Local News

SUV pulled from same waterway where body recovered earlier this week