The Louisiana rice industry donated more than 100,000 pounds of rice in late September to feed the state’s hungry as part of National Rice Month.
Early in the week, south Louisiana rice mills donated about 50,000 pounds of rice to the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Kennedy Rice Mill of Mer Rouge donated 48,000 pounds the following day in West Monroe for the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana. The Richard family of Indian Bayou donated 4,000 pounds.
John Owen, chairman of the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board, says the donations are enough to provide 1.6 million portions of rice to Louisiana families.
The rice industry is a vital component of the state economy, Owen says, and it provides habitat for much of the nation’s migratory waterfowl.
“I’m proud of this industry, and I invite all Louisiana citizens to celebrate this month,” he says.
Second Harvest serves the needy in 23 south Louisiana parishes from Mississippi to Texas.
“The best thing we can have on the shelves is white rice,” says John Dziurgot, Second Harvest chief operating officer.
The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana serves 12 parishes. Jean Toth, director of the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana, says rice is a healthy, versatile food that will provide many meals for families in need.
“For a hungry family, rice is a great product to have on the shelf,” she says.
In Crowley, U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, of Port Barre, read a proclamation from Gov. John Bel Edwards designating September as National Rice Month in Louisiana.
Rice mills in south Louisiana contributing to the donation were Planters Rice Mill, of Abbeville; Falcon Rice Mill and Supreme Rice Mill, both of Crowley; and Farmers Rice Mill, of Lake Charles. The Falcon mill also has agreed to donate up to 40,000 pounds in a match for every 5-pound bag of rice purchased by consumers in September.
Rice farmers Julie and Christian Richard, of Indian Bayou, donated 4,000 pounds of rice to the Kaplan Food Bank.
“Kennedy Rice Mills is excited to team with USA Rice in support of National Rice Month and to be able to donate to the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana and proud to support our local farmers and community,” says Meryl Kennedy Farr, president of Kennedy Rice Mill.
The LSU AgCenter contributed this article.