Agribusiness Advantages Abound in Louisiana
Thanks to the state’s vast natural resources, transportation infrastructure and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana is a booming hub for agricultural growth and innovation — especially for business.
Widely known agribusiness companies such as Boise Inc., Lamb Weston, Georgia-Pacific LLC, Hunt Forest and Roy O. Martin Lumber Company LLC, have established or expanded operations in Louisiana and are benefiting from the state’s unique advantages.
Growing Opportunities for Agribusiness
Louisiana provides vast resources for emerging and expanding companies in the agribusiness and food processing industries. The state’s forests supply timber; its farmlands yield cotton, soybeans and sugar cane; and its waters account for one-third of the nation’s seafood supply. The warm climate means an extended growing season, and an intermodal transportation infrastructure helps ship value-added products around the globe.
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Additional Opportunities Are Available -
Studies have identified additional opportunities for subsectors in the agribusiness industry:
Louisiana’s Blooming Agricultural Talent
The state’s rich agricultural history, when joined with higher education, ensures companies in the agribusiness industry have access to a highly skilled labor pool. The state’s flagship university, Louisiana State University (LSU), is one of the few land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant universities in the nation. Many faculty members at the university’s College of Agriculture are jointly appointed with the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station or the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Close proximity to these experts is an asset to agribusiness.
Community and technical college programs, coupled with research university curricula, provide Louisiana’s agribusiness workforce with strong skills, background and expertise. Louisiana universities already have strong connections to agribusiness sectors. Seventeen university-run research stations located throughout the state conduct groundbreaking research and offer economic resources to companies.
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Specialty food product ventures can also benefit from technical support and the latest research from experts in the Food Science Department and School of Renewable Natural Resources at LSU. In South Louisiana, Nicholls State University partnered with Chef John Folse to create a Culinary Arts program — merging food science with culinary arts.
Lamb Weston selected Delhi, where the sweet potato processing facility opened in fall 2010, because of its close proximity and easy access to the LSU Agricultural Center’s scientists. The company formed a research partnership with the center’s Sweet Potato Research Station — the only facility of its kind devoted to sweet potato development — in conjunction with their new sweet potato processing facility in Northeast Louisiana. Their goal is to develop a more disease-resistant variety of sweet potato that is less prone to bruise during harvesting and processing.
LED FastStart Delivers Customized Workforce Solutions
LED FastStart®, the nation’s best state workforce recruitment and training program, works with eligible new and expanding Louisiana-based operations to ensure that they have a highly qualified, trained workforce from day one — all at no cost to the company. FastStart has designed and delivered customized workforce solutions for a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies across multiple industry sectors. In particular, the team has managed hundreds of workforce programs in multiple states for leading companies like Roy O. Martin Lumber Company, American Woodmark Corporation, Lamb Weston, Folgers, Zagis and many more.
“FastStart’s capabilities should clinch decision making for firms looking for a place to expand or create new operations. It can make that decision-making process much easier for employers if they understand the value that this program can provide to them.”
Director of Human Resources
Thrive with Agricultural Incentives
Louisiana offers highly competitive incentives to attract, grow and retain agribusiness operations throughout the state. In particular, the state’s Quality Jobs program provides up to a 6 percent cash rebate of annual gross payroll for new, direct jobs that meet minimum qualifications, for up to 10 years.
Attracted by Louisiana’s competitive incentives, Drax Biomass began talks with the state in January 2012 about its plans for a wood pellet facility. Drax is a development and operating company focused on manufacturing wood pellets for renewable, low-carbon power generation from sustainable biomass. The state offered Drax a custom incentive package that included a $1.7 million Economic Development Loan Program commitment that will not require repayment if the company meets payroll performance obligations. Drax will receive the services of LED FastStart® at no cost and is expected to use Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption program incentives as well.
A Business Climate for Optimal Growth
At the core of Louisiana’s competitive advantages is the strength of its business climate. In recent years, the state has enacted reforms to create an atmosphere that Forbes magazine calls “America’s new frontier for business opportunity.” Louisiana now ranks in the Top 10 states for business climate in the U.S., according to Area Development, Development Counsellors International and Site Selection.
Agribusiness companies in Louisiana benefit from the state’s competitive cost environment, including low taxes and highly competitive incentives.
Louisiana’s low-tax environment offers business operations significant cost savings. According to a 50-state analysis by the Tax Foundation and KPMG, Location Matters: The State Tax Costs of Doing Business, Louisiana's tax burden ranks among the top 10 lowest in the nation for new facilities, relocations, and facility expansions for a variety of firm types, including:
research and development facilities
A location in Louisiana can reduce company costs because of the state’s low industrial electricity rates — 2018 rates averaged approximately 19 percent below the national average.
Louisiana’s industrial natural gas rates are also highly competitive, with the state’s 2018 rates averaging the third-lowest in the South and approximately 18 percent below the national average.
Expedited Permitting Reduces Start-Up Time
Louisiana understands that a company’s ability to ramp up quickly and efficiently is a significant factor in its location decision. To maximize time and efficiency for companies, the state has created an expedited environmental permit-processing program, which enables Louisiana to issue permits more quickly and efficiently than just about any other state in the country.
“We feel that the expedited permit process has significantly shortened permit-processing time, helping G-P turn projects around often much faster than G-P mills in neighboring states.”
Vice President Port Hudson Operations
A Strategic Place to Plant Your Business
When it comes time to find an ideal location, Louisiana has an extensive selection of development-ready sites searchable in the Sites and Buildings Database.
The LED Certified Sites program qualifies industrial sites based on zoning restrictions, title work, environmental studies, soil analysis and surveys.
Louisiana is well situated for both inbound and outbound logistics. The state is home to:
Six interstate highways
Six Class 1 railroads
Six deep water ports
Seven primary airports