Graves is Leading the Way to Modernize Sugarcane Research Unit in Schriever

Published 7:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2021

SCHRIEVER, LA – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) is leading the way to modernize the Sugarcane Research Unit in Schriever. The funding was secured in the House Agriculture spending bill, which was approved by the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee recently – a strong indication of the widespread support for the project as the bill moves through the legislative process. Graves’ provision would modernize sugarcane research, create efficiencies, and yield even greater results for the crop and our state’s agriculture future.

“Agriculture is critical to the economy of the state of Louisiana and sugarcane is one of the most valuable crops, boasting receipts with an overall economic value of $3 billion annually. As our farmers compete with unfair, subsidized foreign farms, we must use innovation to create a level playing field. And as the biggest crop in our district, it is one of the largest employing sectors in our local community. Supporting this research and industry means supporting 16,000 direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana such as auto dealerships, feed and fertilizer businesses, hardware stores, tractor dealerships, banks and even local community groups such as the chamber of commerce. There have been several attempts over time to modernize the unit and I am proud to see our efforts reach this crucial point. We will keep working to get this done,” Graves said.

“Louisiana’s sugarcane farmers and processors have partnered with the Agriculture Research Service’s Sugarcane Research Unit over the past century to develop cane varieties that grow well in Louisiana’s unique soils and climate and that can withstand the pest and disease threats most common to our crop. Louisiana sugarcane growers are grateful for the successful efforts of US Rep. Garret Graves to secure funding in the House agricultural appropriations bill this year that would allow ARS to begin the final phase of modernizing and consolidating this crucial research farm in Schriever. We urge Congress to prioritize completion of the construction in the final agricultural spending package approved later this year,” said Jim Simon, General Manager, American Sugar Cane League.

About the USDA facility and purpose of funding:

The Sugarcane Research Unit supports this critical industry by researching and developing improved varieties of sugarcane, expanding the cropping range, developing environmentally friendly production strategies, and combatting a constantly evolving pest complex that includes diseases, insects, and weeds. The funding was requested to construct a joint office and laboratory building as well as two greenhouse facilities, all of which have already been planned and designed, for the USDA Agricultural Research Service Sugarcane Research Unit. The construction of these buildings will allow the Sugarcane Research Unit to complete the consolidation of its operations from an out of an out-of-code, structurally and mechanically inadequate, 80-year-old building to a state-of-the-art facility which maximizes existing taxpayer investment at the Ardoyne Farm site.