Sugarcane producers drop in Iberia Parish

Sugar cane has been king in Iberia Parish for over a century. From festivals to freight you can't avoid it. But, in the year 2014, really, how powerful is the king?

According to the LSU AgCenter the number of sugar cane producers in the parish dropped by about 28 percent between 2002 and 2012.

“While we have fewer farmers acreage has dropped from its all time high but still research and productivity really paying attention to what we do in the fields great cultural practices all of those things have led to actually more sugar per acre being produced.” said Jim Simon.

Jim Simon, general manager for the American Sugar Cane League, an advocacy group for the sugar cane industry says statewide production was record breaking in 2012.

“Louisiana's crop produced about a million seven hundred thousand tons of raw sugar.” said Simon.

Tons of credit going towards Iberia Parish. Simon says as the largest sugar producer of all the parishes. Though, celebrations were short-lived with less than break even prices for raw sugar cane in 2013 and 2014, urban sprawl, consolidation of farms and loss of farmers.

Frank Minvielle, owner of Twin Pine Farms in New Iberia, says there's no denying the industry has taken a hit.

“A lot of the good land is being used for sub-divisions that hurts.” said Minvielle.

“But even with all of that said there are some young folks in the farming industry that want to be on the farm, but we just need profitable .” said Minvielle.

“We've always fought it out. Farmers don't quit easy.” said Minvielle.

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