Governor Jindal said, “The new Kennedy Rice Mill is great news for Mer Rouge, Morehouse Parish and Northeast Louisiana. When International Paper closed its mill in Bastrop, we made a promise to work with the leaders of the impacted communities to develop a plan that would get the area back on their feet. Today’s announcement is another significant step in the right direction and we will continue to aggressively pursue more job opportunities for the people of Mer Rouge, Bastrop, Morehouse Parish, and all of Louisiana.
“This new mill will create 22 new direct jobs and include a capital investment of $10 million. 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. The Louisiana Economic Development Department estimates the 22 new direct jobs will result in another 85 new indirect jobs.”
Kennedy Rice Dryers Founder and President Elton Kennedy said, “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. We will use the latest Satake 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.”
Congressman Rodney Alexander said, “Elton Kennedy continues to lead the way in the agriculture industry with the construction of this state of the art rice mill in North Louisiana. 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. 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.”
Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry Mike Strain said, “The Kennedy Rice Mill underscores how important rice is to the Louisiana agricultural economy. 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.”
Because the new rice mill will be one of the few new rice mills built in the region over the last quarter-century and the only rice mill from Southern Arkansas to I-10, farmers in north Louisiana will have a new market for their rice with more favorable freight rates. The new mill is also expected to process 30 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.
Along with the recent DG Foods expansion that was announced in December 2010, Kennedy Rice Mill is the second project LED has secured in less than three months in Morehouse Parish. LED began working with Kennedy Rice Dryers in 2010, and to help secure this project and LED offered the company an incentive package that includes customized workforce solutions from Louisiana FastStartTM, a five to six percent rebate on new payroll expenses and certain sales taxes from the Quality Jobs program, property tax abatement for materials used in new manufacturing from the Industrial Tax Exemption Program and performance-based financial assistance of approximately $300,000 for infrastructure improvements from the Economic Development Loan Opportunity Program.
Governor Jindal has announced projects that will result in 4,400 new direct jobs, 8,900 new indirect jobs, and $1.9 billion in new capital investment for Northeast Louisiana since taking office in 2008. Statewide, the Jindal administration has announced economic project wins that will create more than 39,500 new direct and indirect jobs and more than $8.5 billion in new capital investment.
(Jindal Administration Press Release)