EXCEL class observes Agriculture/Economic Development Day

CROWLEY – Participants from Acadia and Jeff Davis Parishes recently boarded a bus at the Oil & Gas Park in Jennings for their morning session.

The first stop was the Turf Grass Farm located near Welsh, where Troy Romero conducted a tour. In his presentation, he outlined the steps used to grow and market the grass.

The group then went to the Lacassine Industrial Park where they donned hard hats and safety glasses for a tour of the syrup mill, conducted by Roddy Hulett, chief operations officer. The future site of the ethanol plant was pointed out to them. Bert Tietje, who is with the Jeff Davis Economic Development Agency, joined the participants on the bus and discussed advances being made in the area which have opened up many business and employment opportunities. Examples include Motorcross, the Water Park, and a new textile facility. Danny Hylton gave a Power Point presentation on the operations at the Landfill.

The goal of the day was to explore factors and issues involving area economic development and agriculture.

The afternoon activity consisted of visiting the La. Rice Mill where they witnessed the entire process from receiving rice from farmers to the shipping of the product. Employees at NutrCea discussed how they are using discarded rice bran for nutritive purposes.

The day’s session ended at John Pac. Members of the class were shown the process of making rice bags, from the pellets to the completed product.

Coordinating the session were Cynthia Hoffpauir, CEO Jeff Davis Business Alliance, Kayla Link, CEO, Crowley Chamber of Commerce, Joy Zaunbrecher, board member, and Peggy Sandidge, EXCEL coordinator. Other board members attending were Jill Habetz, board chairman, and Donna Collins.

Participants attending were Jan Bergeron, LSU Ag Center-VFC Club; Elaine Credeur, Acadia Parish Police Jury; Peggy Harmon, Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Dept; Terry Magnon, City of Crowley; Judy Puissegur, Bank of Commerce; Jackie Sonnier, First National Bank; Troy Broussard, Jeff Davis Arts Council; Vicki Guidry, Ruddock’s Bakery; Rosaline Landry, Acadia Parish Police Jury; Georgette Miller, Home Bank; Angela Schexnider, LTC Morgan Smith Campus; Elia Richard, Welsh Rotary Club; Kim Guilbeau; Sherry Legros; Robbie Trahan, Falcon Rice Mill; students Christana Goff; Kason Derks, Hathaway High School; Jeremy Langham, Crowley High School; and Alexis Myers, Midland High School.

The April topic, scheduled for April 15, is Health Care & Social Services.

The Leadership EXCEL program is sponsored by the Crowley Chamber of Commerce and the Jeff Davis Business Alliance. A new class begins in September.

For further information, call the Crowley Chamber of Commerce at 788-0177 of the Jeff Davis Business Alliance at 824-0933.

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