Louisiana ranked as top state for sugarcane production last year

Staff Report

The American Sugar Cane League reported that Louisiana's sugarcane industry produced more than 2 million tons of raw sugar in 2022, ranking it as the No. 1 cane sugar producing state in the country for the first time.

ASCL Director Jim Simon reported the figures in his remarks at the 100th meeting of the league Feb. 7 at L'Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge.

The league's annual meeting coincided with the semi-annual meeting of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, according to a news release.

In a USA Today Network photo, Wallace "Dickie" Ellender III captured a scene from his combine during the 2022 sugar cane harvest.

"It’s true that the Christmas freeze soured the end of our harvest season and instead of a bumper crop we had a good crop,” Simon stated. “Sugarcane has been attracting new farmers because it is a reliable crop and well-suited for Louisiana’s climate.”

The 2022 crop wrapped up Jan. 21 after grinding more than 17.1 million tons of cane to produce 2.05 million tons of raw sugar. Of the state’s 11 mills, three ground more than two million cane tons each, which was a first.

Sugarcane acreage has been steadily increasing for the past 10 years, especially in Vermilion Parish and the northern cane belt parishes of Pointe Coupee, Avoyelles and Rapides. State acreage is now 480,000 for milling purposes, a 102,000 acre increase since 2015.  

The league also installed a new set of officers and board of directors at the meeting. Bryan Simon of Abbeville was elected president and David Thibodeaux of Jeanerette was chosen as vice president. Gary Gravois of Napoleonville will serve as secretary and Ben LeBlanc of Thibodaux will be treasurer. Also, newly elected board members are cane producer Ted Broussard of Jeanerette and land manager Drew Maciasz of Port Allen.  

Outgoing president Randy Romero of Jeanerette honored Wallace “Dickie” Ellender of Bourg with the President’s Award, the League’s highest honorific for his 20-plus years of service to the League and a lifetime of service to the sugarcane industry.  

Departing board members Clint Freyou of Jeanerette and Jessie Breaux of Franklin were also honored for their service to the League.  

National agriculture journalist Jim Wiesemeyer was the keynote speaker.