Raceland, La. - Raceland Ag Service opened years ago to supply the small farms in the central and northern parts of Lafourche Parish.
But owner Todd Lawson says so many people got out of the business.
"Now there are a lot fewer farmers, fewer people in agriculture because it takes so much more acreage to make a living on it," he says.
That left shuttered storefronts along Highway 308 and LA 1 down the road from the Raceland sugar mill.
Soon, the sound of construction will join the gentle swish of sugar cane.
Houston-based Genesis Energy plans to build a nearly $75 million oil-transfer facility in Raceland.
"They're going to run trains into this facility, off-load it into a loop type of facility that they're going to store the crude in and then interject that into a pipeline and transfer that to the oil facilities in other parishes for refining," says Lafourche Parish Administrator Archie Chaisson.
Chaisson says the Genesis facility will sit on a 60-acre tract behind the sugar mill, tying into the existing rail lines.
Construction should begin soon and the company expects its facility to be operational by next summer.
Chaisson expects Genesis to hire 40 to 60 new workers.
"They haven't given us a final number yet since it's still early in the planning stages but it's going to be huge no matter if it's 10," he says. "That's 10 more jobs that we can offer to our constituents."
As more companies invest in Lafourche, parish leaders say one major challenge remains, finding affordable housing for all the workers.
Chaisson hopes developers will take notice of projects like the one coming to Raceland and invest money in the northern part of parish.
Lawson believes the Genesis facility will be good for his business.
It should open just before next year's deer hunting season, a busy time at the feed store.
Good-paying oil jobs generally mean expendable income.
"I think we'll see, as the jobs increase in that number, I think we'll see an increased demand for more small business in the area," he says.
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