Louisiana sugar producers are fond of saying that their industry is older than the country itself. Formed when Jesuit priests first planted the crop in New Orleans in 1751, the industry has survived hurricanes, droughts, and even a Civil War to grow into an economic engine.
Sugar is woven into the fabric of the state’s heritage arguably as much any other crop anywhere else in the country and even has a college football bowl game named after it.
Unfortunately, a proud tradition doesn’t always equate financial success, which farmers in south Louisiana have found out the hard way in recent years. A flood of subsidized Mexican sugar was dumped onto the U.S. market sending prices spiraling, even as the price for things like equipment, seed, and fuel steadily rose.