St. Landry crawfish producer sets multi-million-dollar expansion
Riceland Crawfish will spend $3 million to add capacity and jobs for a St. Landry Parish company that puts one of south Louisiana’s most iconic products into stores across the country. The expansion includes a new $2 million, 33,000-square-foot building behind Riceland’s recently completed Sub-Zero facility on U.S. 190 near Eunice and another million in new equipment. The new facility will process whole boiled crawfish that is frozen and shipped across the nation. The company, which currently uses about 120 employees at the peak of the crawfish season, will also continue operations at its facility in downtown Eunice.
The expansion is projected to create 10 new jobs and the retention of 60 jobs, according to the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. Louisiana agriculture commissioner Mike Strain said more than 900 Walmart stores will stock Riceland products.
“This what economic development is all about and crawfish is the major aquaculture product for the state,” Strain said.
Besides giving Riceland the ability to provide crawfish products to major food distributors and retailers year-round, the expansion will offer increased support to industries that provide bait, bags, boxes, sacks, seasoning, wire for traps and other products necessary for crawfish processing.
“For thirty years we have been sharing the culture and food of Acadiana across the U.S.,” Riceland Crawfish president Dexter Guillory said. “The crawfish industry in Louisiana represents a $173 million gross farm value and includes 1,543 producers. Of that state total, the Acadiana region responsible for producing approximately 84 percent of that total or $138 million. This represents the work of 1,232 producers, and numerous processors.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a prepared release that he is “delighted to see companies like Riceland Crawfish ensure that Louisiana’s culinary excellence makes it way far beyond our borders, bringing our culture to markets far and wide.” He called the Riceland expansion “a testament to the skills of our workforce and to strengths of our local companies.”
Riceland Crawfish began in 1984 “with a pickup truck and fresh product,” according to Dwight Landreneau, former head of the state wildlife and fisheries department and now a Riceland consultant. It has grown into one of the major crawfish and alligator processing plants in Louisiana. “This expansion really shows the foresight and the guts that Dexter Guillory and his family had to put everything on the line to bring a business, an industry forward,” Landreneau said.
The current expansion was in response to greater demand by Riceland customers, according to operations manager Doug Guillory. “Riceland Crawfish has been asked by existing customers to increase the amount of product we are currently supplying,” he said. “The additional processing space is required to meet this demand.”
Bill Rodier, executive director of St. Landry Economic Development, said that locally owned companies like Riceland “are important catalysts to our area economy” and that his agency “puts a high priority on helping companies like Riceland pursue expansion opportunities.”
He noted that the One Acadiana regional economic development agency helped to facilitate the expansion and that the project “represents another great example of regional and state partners working together to help move St. Landry Parish forward.”
Rodier said one of the things that has struck him is the level of sophistication of executives in the agriculture industry.
“Agribusiness is big business in St. Landry Parish, we market crops around the world,” he said, “and that means that our farmers and producers understand well that their profits begin with providing quality products, but that the product is only the beginning. Those products must be sold in a highly competitive international environment in which a solid grasp of the ‘business’ part of agribusiness is essential,” he said.
Three things to know about this story:
- The expansion includes a new $2 million, 33,000-square-foot building behind Riceland’s recently completed Sub-Zero facility on U.S. 190 near Eunice and another million in new equipment.
- More than 900 Walmart stores will stock Riceland products.
- The expansion will provide increased support to industries that provide bait, bags, boxes, sacks, seasoning, wire for traps and other products necessary for crawfish processing.
Eunice, LA 70535