Mar 29, 2019
CROWLEY, LA -- Last week, a group of Louisiana rice growers left the fields and put planting on a brief hold, to host Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and his staff for a rice industry update at the local First National Bank conference room. The group included growers, millers, and staff of the Acadia Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Farm Bureaus, and USA Rice.
Cassidy spent the afternoon talking about a variety of rice-related issues, including implication of the new Farm Bill, current trade concerns, rice pretender problems, and the H2A/H2B labor issues being faced by many rice growers who use the programs to keep their crawfish operations going, especially at this peak time of the season.
“We really appreciate the Senator and his staff, for not only sharing their thoughts on these issues, but also taking the time to engage in a candid conversation, asking as many questions of us as we asked of him,” said Fred Zaunbrecher, an Acadia Parish rice and crawfish farmer. “That kind of discussion really connects the issues we’re facing in the field each day that sometimes isn’t obvious to everyone.”
Cassidy also covered current trade issues, including market obstacles in China and Haiti, as well as opportunities like the Iraqi market. John Morgan, with Supreme Rice Mill in Crowley, shared information with the Senator and his staff on the economic benefits the rice industry provides the state, and the importance of access to these markets on a consistent basis.
As the meeting concluded, Cassidy thanked the group for sharing their perspectives on the issues facing the rice industry, and for taking the time to break away from work in the field. With the first week of dry weather in the area, growers were eager to get back to their planters and get the 2019 rice crop back on track.