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History of Sugar Cane in Louisiana

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Written by: American Sugar Cane League

With a $3 billion economic value to the state you can make a pretty convincing argument that sugarcane will always be Louisiana's number one crop.  

Except for the Mississippi River, Louisiana was nothing but a swamp for King Louis. There was no gold!  There was just New Orleans and millions of mosquitoes, alligators, and palmettos.  

For 100 years, French officials, soldiers, and businessmen would rather go to Devil's Island than be posted to Louisiana.  

But, in 1794 a New Orleans planter, Etienne deBoré gambled his life savings on sugarcane. He planted a Cuban cane variety in what would become Audubon Park and made enough raw granulated sugar to make $12,000, a fortune in 1795! Thus, began the concept of sugar as a valuable commodity.

Today, this 200-year-old sugar industry creates 16 thousand jobs with an annual payroll of $463 million. Louisiana sugar growers harvest 15 million tons of sugarcane and produce 1.6 million tons of raw sugar. The tax base created by Louisiana's 450 farmers and 11 sugar mills support road maintenance and construction, our local schools, libraries, first responders, and public health. They also support numerous insurance companies, fuel distributors, and other ancillary industries across the state.

With an economic impact of $3 billion, there's no wonder sugarcane is Louisiana's top crop!

For more information on sugar cane, visit the American Sugar Cane League's website.

Watch more Louisiana sugar cane videos on the league's YouTube channel.

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