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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
Farmers Rice Milling Company in Lake Charles will receive $13.4 million to expand the facility and help modernize the way they do business.
The reason behind the expansion is for the company to become more competitive in the business, according to Farmers Rice Mill Controller Greg Mack. But the money will help build the an added 55,000-square-foot facility and allow the company room for future growth.
"Building a new facility like this is going to allow us to be more efficient, to be successful in those markets we've been able to take advantage of and also allow us to continue to explore those new markets," Mack said.
Mack said through the years, the rice milling business has changed, putting a strain on the company's shipping department.
With the $13.4 million for the facility expansion, Mack said it'll help out the company.
"This is going to allow us to be competitive, it's going to allow us to do the things our competitors aren't doing, it's going to allow us to take advantage of markets that we have been unable to take advantage of. So, it will allow us to be more successful which in turn is good for employees," he said.
And speaking of employees, Mack said with the expansion, the company expects the workforce to stay in tact, hoping for more growth in the future. For example, robots will take over the manual labor by stacking the bags of rice to allow workers to pick them up with forklifts.
"Obviously, it's going to create some temporary construction jobs as, but as far as our workforce, there will be some shifts in the labor force," Mack said. "The guys doing the manual labor of stacking trucks and railcars and containers by hand will be driving the forklifts."
For Farmers Rice Mill Company, this project is a necessary one.
"It will allow us to be, we feel, more successful in the future, to be able to capitalize on these markets that are out there," Mack said.
The mill processes close to 800 million pounds of rice each year and buys near $120 million of locally grown rice.