EUNICE — Riceland Crawfish is planning a $3 million expansion, one that will allow the company to add 10 jobs and 30-40 seasonal jobs.
Riceland Crawfish got its start in 1984 out of a pickup, and now the company is spending $2 million on a new facility, which will be behind the Sub Zero Storage building, located on the city's east side at 5348 E. U.S. 190, and $1 million for new equipment to process crawfish and alligator meat.
"We've really come a long way; the industry has really come a long way," said Riceland Crawfish President Dexter Guillory. "We're building this facility, and there's a couple other plants that I'm sure are going to be doing similar things that really will help bring our industry forward. At the end of the race, everyone's going to benefit."
The addition will allow the company to package, freeze and sell crawfish all year, company officials said during a Tuesday news conference. It will allow the company to offer crawfish boils all year, said Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, and have its products in 900-plus Walmart stores nationwide. This move also will boost its total employee count to 120-130, counting seasonal and full-time employees.
Just like the company's current facility, the new one will be a safe quality food-inspected plant. Riceland is one of the few facilities that have received the rigorous certification, which has allowed it to market product throughout the U.S. and overseas.
“We are 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,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Riceland’s new expansion is a testament to the skills of our workforce and to strengths of our local communities to support businesses and ensure they can grow and thrive. Our goal is to ensure that businesses like Riceland Crawfish have the tools and resources to expand and meet the demands of a growing customer base, and we congratulate them on this new chapter.”
Strain pointed out that crawfish generates more than $200 million for the state, and the economic impact of the industry is about $1 billion for the region's economy. Riceland's expansion, he noted, would be felt through the industry from the farmers to the markets all over the world that carry its products.
“The retention and expansion of Acadiana companies is important to our region’s economic growth," said Troy Wayman, president and CEO of One Acadiana. "Up to 80 percent of new jobs and capital investment in any economy are generated by existing firms. Our competitive business climate, skilled workforce and strong infrastructure will support the company’s continued growth and success.”