In honor of National Farmer's Day, Monday, October 12, Meryl Kennedy-Farr of Kennedy Rice Farms in Mer Rouge spoke with the Enterprise about the accomplishments of the company over the past several years, particularly since the construction of the Kennedy Rice Mill in 2011 — a reported $10 million investment.
In 2011, U.S. Business Executive magazine profiled Kennedy Rice Dryers and related a goal of Farr's, to expand the company's international sales. Farr says the company has met that sales goal, and it is a source of pride for the business. "We have been able to accomplish a lot of goals since we started the mill," Farr said.
The employees of the company have been instrumental in its successes, according to Farr. She highlighted that many workers have been employed at the mill since its launch while others have been employed by Kennedy Rice for over 30 years.
Since its opening, the mill has expanded its capacity several times, and the company is always exploring new avenues the business may embark upon in the future.
Farr began her career at Kennedy Rice following a summer spent at the company — father Elton Kennedy would not pay for Farr's master's degree until she worked at the family business for the season. Farr fell in love with agriculture during that summer and has stayed with the company ever since.
Farr, who is now the Vice-President of Kennedy Rice Mills, said working in a family business necessitates wearing multiple hats, and that it is an honor to work with her father every day.
"In agriculture, every day can be something different," Farr said. "It's never boring. Being in ag today takes a lot of grit, a lot of courage and a little bit of luck. I'm very proud to be dedicated to this area. Agriculture has a lot to offer, and we are excited to continue growing."
Currently, the sales at Kennedy are a blend of both domestic sales and exports according to Farr, and the rice the Kennedy's harvest and process at the mill finds its way into the hands of manufacturer's producing a wide variety of consumer food products including food bars, cereals and even pet food manufactured by Nutro and Mars Petcare.
“Kennedy Rice Farms has been a great partner for Nutro and Mars Petcare,” said Andrew Morris, purchasing manager for Mars North America. “Their commitment to quality ingredients supports our mission to provide countless pets high quality food and great nutrition. They are also good stewards of the land and have strong sustainability practices, which is also very important to us,” he said. “We love working with them and all of our farmers who help us feed pets every day.”
For her part, Farr says that the company remains dedicated to providing the highest quality products for everyone, including four-legged consumers.