23rd Annual Rice month Cook-Off

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – It’s a big business here in Louisiana: Rice

“Southwest Louisiana, the rice industry plays a huge part in the economy. We have mills here in Lake Charles, three mills in the Crowley area, so the rice industry provides multiple jobs,” said Director of Field Services for USA Rice, Kane Webb.

It plays a big role from the fields to the port.

“It even benefits here at the Port of Lake Charles, for the bagged rice cargo exports. 50% of the US rice crop is exported, and a lot of that rice comes through the Port of Lake Charles, especially from the mills here in South Louisiana,” he said.

From 2016 to 2021, 811,000 short tons of milled rice have been handled at the Port of Lake Charles; when it comes to rough unmilled rice, it handled 537,000 short tons, both of which were produced here in Southwest Louisiana.

Local rice producer and president of the Calcasieu-Cameron rice growers association Adam Habetz gave me an insight into Wednesday’s competition.

“We get together with the port since we move a lot of rice through the port and all of the local Parish Beauregard, Calcasieu, and Cameron parish schools home-ed departments and let the kids participate in the rice cook-off,” he said.

I did ask Webb what the importance of these events is for kids in the area.

“Well, I think it’s important that you know, not just young people, but people from this area, understand that this is still, you know, an industry, it’s got a long history in South Louisiana.”

We asked Habetz how they are recovering from last year’s storms and COVID-19. He says they were still making repairs, and with the wet summer the crops were a little tough, but they are trying to get back on track.

Written by Marcello Cuadra

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