Rice industry donates 13 tons of rice to Baton Rouge Food Bank

(09/28/16) CROWLEY, La. –The Louisiana rice industry donated 13 tons of rice to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to help the organization rebuild its inventory after last month’s devastating floods. The gift will provide 324,000 half-cup servings.

"The donation from the Louisiana rice industry has tremendous impact for us, because it truly is a staple of Louisiana culture and of a Louisiana diet," said Michael Manning, president and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. "In light of the recent flooding and the destruction to our community as well as our facility, this donation of rice is a great nonperishable item for us to distribute to those most in need.”

The donation was made by the Louisiana Rice Growers Association (LRGA); Louisiana Rice Mill and Falcon Rice Mill, both of Crowley; Planters Rice Mill, of Abbeville; Farmers Rice Mill, of Lake Charles; retired rice farmer Jimmy Hoppe, of Fenton; the USA Rice Federation; and USA Rice staff.

In addition to contributing rice, Falcon Rice Mill packaged the donated rice from all sources and Farmer Rice Mill provided, at cost, the rice that was purchased for donation by LRGA, Hoppe, and USA Rice and its staff.

“Our farmers are just completing one of the most challenging harvest seasons in memory, but they realize that this flood also impacted our fellow citizens and are happy to share our rice with those in need,” said Michael Fruge, president of the Louisiana Rice Growers Association.

The donation is being made during National Rice Month, and Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation declaring September as Louisiana Rice Month.

The August flooding crippled the food bank as its facility had 4 feet of water that damaged equipment and ruined more than 500,000 pounds of food.

Just days after the flood, the food bank secured a temporary location to begin operations, Manning said. “We provided food assistance through neighborhood distributions and member agencies. Since the middle of August, more than 1 million pounds of food have been distributed.”

He said the food bank is moving its warehouse operations back to its original location.

But he said the food bank’s services are needed now more than ever as flood victims continue to recover from the disaster.

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is a regional organization that provides food to more than 115 charitable agencies operating food pantries, group homes, shelters, meal sites and special agencies in 11 parishes. In 2015, the food bank provided approximately 8.7 million meals.

Steve Linscombe, director of the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station, said the contribution from the rice growers is significant because of the difficult times currently facing farmers. “Low prices had already presented a difficult challenge. This year’s flooding made harvest a struggle for many farmers. In some cases, they had no choice but to leave their ruined fields unharvested,” he said.

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Representatives of the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board and the Louisiana rice industry in Crowley at the donation of 13 tons of rice for the Baton Rouge Regional Food Bank on Sept. 27. Photo by Bruce Schultz

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Rice is loaded onto an 18-wheeler at the Falcon Rice Mill in Crowley for a 13-ton donation to the Baton Rouge Regional Food Bank. Photo by Bruce Schultz

9/28/2016 4:52:52 PM
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