Turner Bridgforth (center) meets 3rd District constituents at Zaunbrecher’s farm shop in Rayne.
State’s 3rd District hosts new Congressional staff
Last week, farmers and ag industry interests from Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District got the chance to spend time with Rep. Clay Higgins’s new staff agricultural liaison, Turner Bridgforth.
Bridgforth grew up on a farm in Mississippi, and served in previous positions at the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His four-day itinerary included visits to several rice farms and mills in the area, as well as the Port of Lake Charles, which is still recovering from a barrage of storms in 2020.
At the first stop on Bridgforth’s tour through southwest Louisiana, Fred Zaunbrecher and his brothers opened their shop at GF&P Zaunbrecher Farm’s headquarters in Rayne to a group of local rice and crawfish farmers, and members of the Louisiana Farm Bureau, to gather safely and help familiarize Bridgforth with rice and crawfish production.
“We appreciated Turner traveling to Louisiana to meet with us in person,” said Jackie Loewer, a rice farmer from Acadia Parish who attended the event. “As a newcomer to the Congressman’s staff, we welcome the fact that he was eager to see firsthand the unique dynamics growers here deal with and to communicate with us one-on-one.”
In Lake Charles, Bridgforth met with the Port of Lake Charles’s Administration to discuss storm damage and ongoing recovery efforts at the port’s facilities, and the positive impact the rice industry has on port operations, particularly tenders bound for Iraq and other countries.
He also toured Farmers Rice Mill there, where General Manager Phillip Bertrand and Sales Manager Jerry Sonnier emphasized the influence the U.S. rice industry has on both the local and international economy.
Traveling from Lake Charles to Crowley, through the east portion of the 3rd District, Bridgforth witnessed the still battered landscape, a true reminder that the effects of back-to-back Hurricanes Laura and Delta last fall are still evident in the region.
The final stop in Crowley was at Supreme Rice Mill.
Supreme CEO Bobby Hanks, also the chair of USA Rice, expressed thanks for Higgins’s continued support. “We look forward to working with the Congressman, his staff, and the rest of our state’s congressional delegation on issues affecting the rice industry.”