Breaux Bridge sugarcane producer Michael G. Melancon was elected the president of the American Sugar Cane League at the group’s annual meeting February 3 at the Lafayette Hilton.
Melancon has served on the League’s board of directors for 16 years and has now held every elective office of the organization.
Melancon, the 48th League president, succeeds Mike Daigle of Lula-Westfield Sugar Factory. The League was formed in 1922 to help combat plant diseases that nearly destroyed Louisiana’s sugar industry. At that time Louisiana was the de facto American sugarcane industry, so the group took the American Sugar Cane League name.
"I’m proud to serve in this role representing Louisiana’s sugar industry,” Melancon said. "Commodity groups like ours are constantly looking for ways to improve our production and be good farming neighbors to the public.”
In 1980, Melancon joined his family’s farming operation which was begun by his grandfather, Jean Melancon and continued by his father, Adley Melancon. Melancon Farms, founded in 1934, now manages 3,500 acres in the Grande Pointe area in between Breaux Bridge, Henderson and Cecilia.
Melancon is the current president of the Louisiana Sugarcane Co-Operative of St. Martinville and the chairman of the Sugar Growers and Refiners, Inc. He is the treasurer of the St. Martin/Lafayette Sugar Advisory Committee and a member of the ASCL Sugar Foundation.
A professional farmer for his entire 35-year work career, Melancon is a 1978 graduate of Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette and attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
In addition to Melancon, Charles Schudmak of White Castle was elected vice president, Gregory Gravois of Vacherie, secretary and Randall Romero of Jeanerette, treasurer.
In other League news, Herman Waguespack Jr. of Thibodaux was promoted to the position of senior agronomist after serving as agronomist for the League since 1985.
He received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business form Nicholls State University in 1981 and was employed as farm manager for Caire and Graugnard. Waguespack earned a Master of Science in Agronomy from Louisiana State University in 1996.
During his time as a League agronomist, Waguespack worked with the Louisiana sugarcane variety development team which as since released 18 new sugarcane varieties for commercial production. As senior agronomist Waguespack will direct studies to develop better mechanical planting techniques and other research goals important to the Louisiana sugarcane industry.
His service work includes a term as president of the Louisiana Division of the American Society of Sugarcane Technologists. Waguespack currently represents the sugar industry on the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program Conference.
Waguespack succeeds Windell Jackson, who retired in 2014.
Below is the list of newly-elected ASCL Board of Directors arranged by city (all in Louisiana).
Robert "Bret” Allain, Jeanerette
Louis "Andy” Andolsek, Metairie
Jessie Breaux, Franklin
Jeff Broussard, St. Martinville
Lonnie Champagne, Breaux Bridge
Alana Chatman, Lakeland
Mike Comb, St. Martinville
Michael Daigle, Belle Rose
Craig DeGravelle, Raceland
Peter Dufresne, Paulina
Dan Duplantis, Jr., Raceland
John Earles, Bunkie
Wallace "Dickie” Ellender III, Bourg
Mark Engemann, Maringouin
John Gay, Plaquemine
Ricky Gonsoulin, New Iberia
Ronald Gonsoulin, New Iberia
Gary Gravois, Napoleonville
Charles Guidry, Erath
Micah Guidry, Jeanerette
Bryan Harang, Thibodaux
Warren Harang III, Donaldsonville
Jim Harper, Bunkie
Scott Kessler, White Castle
Sean Kidder, New Iberia
Joel Landry, Paincourtville
Todd Landry, Loreauville
Will Legendre, Jeanerette
Robert "Bubba” Lemann, Jr., Donaldsonville
Edward "Charlie” Levert, St. Martinville
Chris Mattingly, Paincourtville
Travis Medine, Port Allen
Frank Minvielle, New Iberia
Greg Nolan, Thibodaux
Rivers Patout, Jeanerette
Joey Robichaux, Labadieville
E. Stephen Savoie, Belle Rose
Bryan Simon, Abbeville
Frank Sotile, Jr., St. James
David Thibodaux, Jeanerette
Glenn Vice, Franklin
Lance Weber, Jeanerette