By Kaitlin Rust
IOWA, LA (KPLC) –
According to the LSU Ag Center, sugarcane accounts for $2 billion flowing into the state’s economy annually.
Last year was called a wet, muddy mess by farmers; the state only yielded 29 tons. The 2016 harvest is predicted to yield 31 tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Local sugarcane farmer, Maurico Santacolomo, predicts a 15 percent growth on his 16 farms. All thanks to the drier weather the region has been experiencing. On the drought map, key sugarcane parishes like Jeff Davis and Calcasieu are labeled as “abnormally dry.”
Santacolomo said he lost a lot during last year’s harvest because of the soggy soil hindering harvest equipment and softening the stalks. This year seems to be a different story for the crops.
“I talked to Lance Webber at M.A. Patout & Sons and they provide all our raw materials which is molasses and raw sugar and he said this year is a great season,” said Bayou Rum-creator, Trey Litel. “They’re off to a great start. He said the cane is really heavy and the dry conditions are allowing them to get a great harvest going.”
Litel uses only Louisiana sugarcane in production.
“It’s the breadbasket of America that provides our soil and our soil is so rich and nutrient rich that sugarcane thrives in South Louisiana,” he said.
Keeping 12,000 gallons of molasses on site and receiving raw sugar by 2,200 pound bags, Litel said it is the best sugarcane one could use.
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