Wind, rain deal blow to harvested rice

Agriculture

Rice is exposed in one of three bins holding the rice crop of farmer Jordan Aguillard of Calcasieu Parish. In the distance is a train of rail cars knocked over by Hurricane Laura. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

THORNWELL, La. (LSU AgCenter) – Rice farmers without electricity across southwest Louisiana are struggling to save their rice crop in storage.

Farmer Paul Johnson, of Bell City, had a good rice crop harvested long before Hurricane Laura hit the Louisiana coast on Aug. 27.

He stored his grain at a dryer facility in Thornwell, but the storm blew parts of the roof away, exposing his rice to rain. Without electricity, he was not able to dry the grain.

“This old dryer has withstood a lot of storms, but not this one,” Johnson said.

Like many farmers, he had one of his best crops in several years.

But the Supreme Rice Mill, of Crowley, was prepared for this catastrophe, renting generators for farmers in anticipation of the disaster and providing workers to help farmers make repairs on their bins and get the generators connected to their electrical system.

“You’re talking a class operation there,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what I’d do without Supreme. The first call I made was to them, and they handled it from there.”

Johnson said Supreme has sent trucks to get his rice, and company representative John Morgan was onsite helping set up the generator.

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