Sugarcane’s Economic Impact
From September 2020 through January 2021, folks in Louisiana’s sugarcane belt watched what seemed to be an endless parade of cane trucks hauling sugarcane to the mills.
Ultimately, the trucks delivered 16.5 million tons of bulk cane to the state’s 11 sugar mills. That’s a big number, and while farmers are millers are very happy with the tonnage, it’s difficult for the average person to understand exactly what 16.5 million tons of sugarcane means.
By Jim Simon, American Sugar Cane League
Well, that 16.5 million tons of bulk cane produced 1.9 million tons of raw sugar. That’s enough sugar to fill Cajun Field four times over. I think you’ll agree that’s a lot of sugar.
Every load of cane that rumbled down Highway 90, 308, 70, 182 or 31 was carrying $4,000 of economic impact for our community. The load itself is worth $2,000 to the farmer and miller and it produces 1,400 five-pound bags of sugar. The Louisiana cane farmer produce enough sugar to supply the sweetener needs of more than 60 million Americans. That’s a lot of beignets, cups of coffee and pralines.
You may have seen our social media advertising campaign. Our two-minute commercial and 30-second spot garnered over five million impressions and 122,000 “click-throughs” to our www.LaCane.org website. The vast majority of comments were positive. That shows Louisiana overwhelmingly supports sugarcane and wants to know more about how the sugarcane industry works for the state.
Sugarcane is a strong, sustainable crop and well suited for the extremes of Louisiana’s weather. It can handle heat, hurricane winds and excessive rain and our harvesters can pick up downed cane easily. Our cold-tolerant varieties survive freeze better than ever before and produce more sugar. It all means your farming neighbor will continue to build a local business that supports the south Louisiana economy in the form of sales and fuel taxes, rents to landowning families, research, machinery and fertilizer purchases, labor wages, and insurance and banking costs.
The strength of the sugarcane industry attracts more business to south Louisiana and is more important to Acadiana than ever before. Without sugarcane, life in Louisiana just wouldn’t be as sweet.