Posted: Sep 23, 2013 3:35 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2013 12:23 PM
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - More than 2 inches of rain fell across the valley this month. That's been a welcome sight for sugar cane growers.
They're still crunching the numbers in the offices of the Santa Rosa Sugar Cane Mill. Mill president and C.E.O. Randy Rolando says the September rainfall means an extra four million dollars worth of sugar cane will grow.
"That seems like a lot of money, but we're expecting a very large loss in the mill," Says Rolando.
He says they're expecting a loss of at least nine million dollars from last year. The small crop means folks at the mill are getting creative.
"It's because of that fact that it's so critical that we get the tons planted. We're willing to do just about anything to get the tons in," Rolando went onto say.
The mill has three new strategies to help get growers planting.
The first strategy is to open the mill three weeks later than they ever have. That will help keep their operating costs low.
The mill is also offering to help growers put seeds into the dirt. They're doing so by offering work crews and by loaning out equipment.
"We can throw our own guys into planting crews and form three or four planting crews, just to get it planting," says Rolando.
Another incentive is to pay farmers to plant. Some growers are being offered $250 per acre of planted sugar cane.
"It's money well spent if we get cane planted, because we're talking about our ultimate survival of the cane industry," Rolando went onto say.
Rolando also says they're still focused on more permament solutions coming from the Falcon and Amistad Dams.