To accurately look at the economic impact of rice farming in Acadia Parish, you need to start at the national level.
“If you purchase Rice Krispies today there's a very good chance that the rice was either grown in Louisiana or an excellent chance that the variety that led to that particular product was developed at this rice research station,” says Steve Linscombe, Director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station.
Linscombe says there's a more than 90 percent chance your Rice Krispies were grown in Acadia Parish and that figure may have been even higher in recent years.
“This past year in 2013 we had a little over 80,000 acres and we had by far the highest yield we've ever had on a per acre basis,” says Linscombe.
Officials are estimating the 2013 yield around 7,900 pounds per acre—a parish and state record.
“Some of the neighbors and myself had some of the best crops we've ever seen,” says Acadia Parish farmer Alan Lawson about the 2013 grow season.
Lawson, a third generation farmer, says those high yields in recent years continue to rub off on other sectors of the parish rice economy.
“We spend a lot of money in the stores, so it has a trickle-down effect of getting turned over many times in the economy,” says Lawson.
Linscombe says that affect onto the economy, just in Acadia Parish is worth about $90 million.
“You add the value added from milling and that adds up probably to $120 million, but then just as with anything you look at the multiplier effect in the community. It's huge. I mean it's a major economic engine for this region,” says Linscombe.