Sandra Fiser | 4/22/2005 11:59:19 PM
"We need people on the local level to help us with technology," Darrell Rivere told a legislative subcommittee, adding, "We need the support of the university base."
Rivere of Rivere’s Seafood Processors Foods Inc. of Paincourtville testified before a subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee Wednesday (March 3) at the Lod Cook Conference Center on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
Rep. Gil Pinac, D-Crowley, the committee chairman, said the subcommittee was meeting to focus on keeping business in Louisiana and to hear from the food processors about their problems
Rivere, who was one of a half-dozen industry representatives who spoke at the hearing, said the state’s universities are important for helping smaller food processors.
"We need them for research and development," he said. "We get that, and we can be a success story for the state of Louisiana."
The hearing was convened with the help of the LSU AgCenter in conjunction with the Louisiana Food Processors Conference Wednesday and Thursday (March 3-4).
Food processing is the third largest industrial segment in Louisiana, and the LSU AgCenter is focusing on food and food processing as an area of economic growth in the state, said Dr. Paul Coreil, AgCenter vice chancellor.
Coreil told the subcommittee new challenges to the food industry include biosecurity and safety.
"The LSU AgCenter wants to help processors make sound investments and sound business decisions," Coreil said.
Another who spoke at the hearing, James Phillips of Allen Canning Co., which operates a facility in Hessmer, said tax relief is among the issues facing food processors.
"We ask for incentive tools to stimulate food processing in Louisiana," Phillips said.
When questioned by Pinac about why Louisiana is losing food processors, Phillips said it’s because of consolidation among large processors – pointing out that much of the consolidation is technology driven.
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