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|New rice mill announced in Mer Rouge|
Gov. Bobby Jindal has announced that Kennedy Rice Mill, a subsidiary of Kennedy Rice Dryers, will establish a new rice mill in Mer Rouge which serve all of northeastern Louisiana.
Jindal was joined in the announcement by Kennedy Rice Dryers founder and President Elton Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain.
"This new mill will create 22 new direct jobs and include a capital investment of $10 million," said Jindal. "It will run two shifts, with the possibility of the company adding a third shift, which would increase the job total to around 30 new direct jobs. Construction on the mill will begin and end this year, and Kennedy Rice Dryers estimates that there will be 50 construction jobs created by this project. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the 22 new direct jobs will result in another 85 new indirect jobs."
Elton Kennedy is not new to the milling industry. He served as an active board member for Riviana Foods, an international rice company, for more than 20 years. Kennedy is also co-operator in the Godchaux Abbeville family partnership of Planters Mill located in Abbeville.
"The new mill in Mer Rouge, along with Planters, will play an important role in producing and maintaining products that meet and exceed the safe quality foods standards produced by the Food Marketing Institute," said Kennedy. "We will use the latest milling equipment and will include some of the most advanced technology in the industry. This addition will enable us to better serve our farmers and existing customers throughout the U.S. and reach out to new customers."
Once complete, the new mill will be one of the few new rice mills built in the region over the last quarter century, and will be the only rice mill from Southern Arkansas to I-10. The new mill is also expected to process 30 percent to 40 percent of the Northeast Louisiana rice crop, and approximately 95 percent of Kennedy Rice Mill's sales will ship to out-of-state destinations.
"This much needed rice mill in North Louisiana will help meet the needs of the many rice farmers throughout Louisiana and South Arkansas with its unique technology," said Alexander. "This mill will help enable Louisiana rice farmers to continue to be the leaders in producing quality agriculture products to be sold around the world."
"The Kennedy Rice Mill underscores how important rice is to the Louisiana agricultural economy," said Strain. "With an annual economic impact of $500 million or more, rice is our fifth largest commodity. We are the third largest U.S. rice producer with more than 464,000 acres in production. Our farmers grow more than three billion pounds of rice a year to supply an expanding world market. The Kennedy Rice Mill is another large agricultural project that emphasizes how important agriculture is to the economic health of Louisiana."
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