Farmers in Acadia Parish are beginning the annual rice harvest, but 2019 isn’t shaping up to be a good crop.
“We’re making an absolute mess of these fields, costing more fuel to harvest.” said Acadia Parish Rice Farmer Alan Lawson who was harvesting 60 thousand acres of rice today.
However, he is already behind on this year.
“It’s dragging it out because we can’t harvest when its raining. From the wet spring to the rainy summer to a hurricane, all of those things come together and create what we have now.”
Lsu Agcenter County Agent for Acadia Parish, Jeremy Hebert says Hurricane Barry has affected how many grains the rice plants produce.
“The yields for rice to be down between 10-15 percent within the southwest region of the state which is a big issue for farmers because they are not getting a lot of money because prices are down. Whenever you have lower yields that’s a punch in the gut to them.” explained Hebert.
Lawson points out that Acadia Parish relies heavily on agriculture so this year’s low return will not only impact farmers.
“When farmers make money and do well, they spend money in the community. They buy goods and services. There’s a lot of industries here to service the agriculture industry. Even if you are not a farmer or in one of those businesses. They will feel it in the communities in the tax revenue.” said Lawson.
The harvest season for the rice crop will continue until November and planting for the 2020 season will begin in march.
Alan Lawson was also selected as the 2019 Rice Farmer of the Year.
He’ll be honored at the International Rice Festival in Crowley in October.