Hensgens brothers named 2013 Rice Festival Honorees
CROWLEY – Selected as the Honorees for the 2013 International Rice Festival are brothers Wayne and Michael Hensgens of Crowley, as announced by Romona T. Credeur, festival president. This year’s festival is slated for the weekend of Oct. 17-20 in downtown Crowley.
Wayne and Michael are the sons of Raymond Hensgens and Kitty Schneider Hensgens. Born and raised in Crowley, Wayne and Michael, along with their siblings Jennifer and Mark, learned at an early age that the agriculture business is not an 8-to-5 job but a way of life.
Starting in elementary school, the two worked after school at the family business with their parents. Mornings at farm chores and afternoons at G&H Seed continued through their graduations from Notre Dame High School. This strong work ethic, taught by their parents, has helped them maintain the success of G&H Seed Company, Inc., the business founded in 1968.
Wayne and Michael each earned Bachelor of Science degrees in agronomy from LSU in 1975 and 1978, respectively. Both returned to G&H after graduation to work alongside their father Raymond. Here their education continued, literally from the ground up.
Wayne returned in the fall of 1975. He started and managed Liq-Quick Fertilizer Company, a liquid fertilizer and custom application business. With the acquisition of MFC Rice Mill in 1979, Wayne organized Hensgens Grain Elevator, Inc., a rice drier and grain brokerage business which he still manages.
Wayne also serves as the operations manager for Kaplan Rice Drier, with locations in Kaplan and Gueydan. He is currently serving as president of Quality Equipment Company, the John Deere Dealer for Southwest Louisiana.
Wayne is an avid hunter, but his real passion is overseeing the family farms and his beef cattle operations. He remains the operations manager of G&H Seed Company, Inc.
Michael worked at G&H first as a field agronomist, followed by accepting the responsibilities as seed manager. He then established and managed a location in Church Point. He returned to Crowley in 1992 to assume the role of business manager.
With the support of Raymond and Wayne, he organized Horizon Ag, LLC, in Memphis, the exclusive U.S. marketer of Clearfield technology in rice varieties. Michael remains a director of Horizon Ag today.
He also serves as president of Central Warehousing, Inc., in Alexandria, a commercial warehousing business, and Deere Park, Inc., a real estate development located outside of Abbeville.
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, acquired G&H Seed Company, Inc., in 2012, but Wayne and Michael remain active in the company, continuing their responsibilities to the Southwest Louisiana farming community. Wayne and Michael have been blessed to work with a remarkable group of people, many of whom have been with G&H more than 20 years.
A. B. Dore, mentor and family friend, once told Raymond, “If you surround yourself with good and loyal employees, you will be successful in business.” Without the hard work and dedication of their employees, G&H Seed Company, Inc., would not have been a success. The Hensgens share this honor with these special individuals.
Raymond Hensgens instilled in his sons the importance of service to the agriculture industry. Wayne is presently a member and president of the La. Rice Drier Association. He has served as a member of the La. Seed Dealers Association (past president), La. Grain and Feed Association (past president), La. Agriculture Industries Association, Southwest Fertilizer Conference (past chairman), and Acadia Parish Rice Advisory Board.
Both the FFA and 4-H have recognized Wayne for his support of and service to those organizations.
Michael has served as a member of the American Seed Trade Association, La. Seed Commission, Southern Seed Association (past president), La. Seed Dealers Association (past president), La. Rice Political Action Committee (vice chairman), USA Rice Federation Environmental Regulatory Committee, Acadia Parish Rice Advisory Board, Crawfish Processors Alliance (Legislative Director), Southern Crop Production Association (director), La. Agricultural Industries Association (past president), La. Agriculture Advisory Board, and Louisiana Agriculture Leadership Class IV.
He also works with the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture’s office to assist in the development of legislation and policies that directly affect farmers.
Michael was recognized in 2012 by the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station for Service to the Rice Industry.
Wayne and Michael also have served the community as volunteer coaches for St. Michael’s Elementary and the Crowley Recreation Department, and are long-time members of the Notre Dame Century Club. They are also proud supporters of the Germanfest in Robert’s Cove.
Wayne is a member of St. Michael Catholic Church, a former member of the Knights of Columbus, and served as a director of the Crowley Chamber of Commerce. He has served as president of both the St. Michael and Notre Dame School Boards, and is a past-president of the Notre Dame Athletic Club.
Michael is a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, the Crowley Rotary Club, and the Crowley Chamber of Commerce, currently serving as its past chairman.
Wayne is married to the former Debbie Nagata. He is the father of Emily Hensgens Hudson and Patrick Hensgens, and grandfather of Bailey Hensgens. Emily is expecting Wayne’s second granddaughter at the end of this year.
Michael is the father of Josef Hensgens and Adam Hensgens, and is engaged to Cathy Wyble Bergeaux. Michael will become a grandfather for the first time in early 2014.
Raymond and Kitty Hensgens taught Wayne and Michael the importance of God and family, and the value of hard work. Those lessons are the reasons their bond as brothers and partners has endured.
The International Rice Festival will honor them at the Queen’s Ball to be held on Sept. 21 at the Rice Festival Building.