Celebrating Louisiana’s Sugarcane Families
Louisiana’s sugarcane industry has been a top economic driver in the state for more than 221 years and is celebrating the family farmers who have been farming cane for generations in a series of television ads this harvesting season.
The ads will feature three farming families well known to the industry: the Bubenzer family of Avoyelles Parish, the Gravois family of St. James and the Segura family of Iberia. The ads, produced by the American Sugar Cane League describe what happens before sugar reaches the grocery store.
"Before the sugar hits the shelf, it begins with a family of sugarcane farmers,” the narrator intones as the camera pans out over a field of verdant sugarcane.
"The ads are a tribute to all our sugarcane farming families who’ve done a tremendous job of preserving, maintaining and sustaining Louisiana’s sugarcane industry for two centuries,” said Jim Simon, manager of the American Sugar Cane League. "Sugarcane farming is not only sustainable in Louisiana, it’s thriving and it’s because of hard work of the Bubenzer, Segura and Gravois families and the other 447 cane farming families. Any one of the extended sugarcane farming community families could have represented our industry.” WATCH THE VIDEOS.
Harvest Season Begins
The Louisiana sugarcane harvest season is ramping up and that means farm equipment will be on the road in the 23-parish Cane Belt. Goal number one for Louisiana’s cane farmers is to safely harvest and transport their crop to the mill.
Farmers make every effort to keep their operations running smoothly and safely and they want the motoring public to be aware that harvesting activities may affect normal drive times.
In some locations, sugarcane is transported in large truck/trailer rigs. The trucks are driven by professional drivers. Sugarcane trucks handle like any other 18-wheelers that carry groceries, gasoline, chemicals or grain. They make wide turns. They start slowly and take up a lot of space. If a car is following a big truck too closely, it’s difficult for the truck driver to see the vehicle in their rear-view mirrors. In some parts of the Cane Belt, farmers use tractors to pull a load to the sugar mill.
It’s no fun driving behind a slow-moving cane wagon on a narrow farm-to-market road, but this is the time when patience is most certainly a virtue. In other words, be prepared to stop or slow down if you see a cane truck or tractor up the road ahead of you.
Farmers and millers strive to be good neighbors. They are concerned about the public’s safety, but sugarcane farmers will harvest in the rain and wet fields. There may be instances where you’ll find muddy conditions on a farm-to-market road. If you come across mud on a highway or any other hazardous driving conditions, please call the Louisiana State Police at *LSP (*577) with the location. A State Trooper will be dispatched to make sure motorists are driving safely and the conditions are corrected.
So, when you’re stuck behind a slow moving cane truck and you’re trying to get home from work, or pick up the kids from school, dance class or football practice, it’s more important than ever to observe warning signs, keep your attention focused on driving conditions ten seconds up the highway and slow down. It’s best to arrive safely than not to arrive at all.
Here are a few driving tips for busy people:
1. Leave a few minutes early
2. Slow down - be a little more patient
3. Report muddy conditions
4. Look for harvest sight road signs
5. Keep a keen eye out for slow moving vehicles
Louisiana Sugarcane Educational Packets and Videos Available for Schools
How is sugarcane, Louisiana’s number one row crop, turned into the sugar that’s in your sugar bowl?
The answer is explained in From Louisiana’s Sugar Belt to Your Table, a full color, 16-page educational brochure designed for students of all ages.
The brochure is published by the American Sugar Cane League (League) and available for immediate distribution.
The lessons are a valuable teaching tool for teachers who want to include a lesson plan about Louisiana sugarcane.
The packet has eight different lessons and covers the history, chemistry, geography, cultivation and the many ways sugar is used in the United States. The lesson are One Sweet History, Where Does Sugar Come From, Captured Sunshine, A Closer Look at Sugar, From the Field to the Table, It’s Sweet to the Environment, More Than Just Sweet Taste, and A Sweet Part of a Healthy Diet.
The packet is easily downloaded at the League’s website at www.LaCane.org/learn. A limited number of printed brochures
Ricky Gonsoulin, chairman of the League’s public relations committee said the Louisiana sugarcane farmer produces enough sugar to supply the needs of more than 60 million Americans.
"That’s significant and we want to share with everyone how the sugarcane agricultural cycle works,” Gonsoulin said. "The lesson plan is a wonderful learning tool for everyone and we hope to place it in every classroom in Louisiana’s Sugar Belt
Also available are the educational videos From the Cane Field to Your Sugar Bowl starring Farmer Joe and Marie! and Raising Cane in Louisiana.
From the Cane Field to Your Sugar Bowl starring Farmer Joe and Marie! targets elementary school students while Raising Cane in Louisiana is for general audiences. The videos are found at www.LaCane.org/video-gallery. A limited number of DVDs are available on request.
Teachers and other interested parties can contact the League at 985-448-3707, 800-883-2875 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to request From Louisiana’s Sugar Belt to Your Table packets.
Show Your Support For the Sugarcane Industry
One does have to look far down their family tree to find a connection to Louisiana’s sugarcane industry. The sugarcane crop is one of the top economic drivers of Louisiana and has been for more than two centuries.
Show your sugarcane support by displaying a Sugarcane Family, Louisiana Sugarcane license plate or a Cane Families Care sign at your home or business. You can even request a Louisiana Sugarcane bumper sticker.
If you prefer to wear your sugarcane support, t-shirts, hats, collared work or dress shirts with the distinctive Louisiana Sugarcane logo is available at Louisiana Sugarcane Logo Store.
Sugarcane, grown in 23 parishes, is Louisiana’s top agricultural commodity. The crop generates nearly a $3 billion economic impact to the state every year and supports more than 16,000 jobs directly and countless secondary jobs.
In 2015, Louisiana’s 450 farmers harvested 382,000 acres of sugarcane which was produced into 1.4 million tons of raw sugar by the state’s 11 raw sugar mills, so show your support for the Louisiana cane farmer!