The Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative Programs, Judy Canales was in Louisiana recently to tour Game Equipment, a Rural Development –funded project in Donaldsonville. Louisiana Rural Development State Director, Clarence W. Hawkins; Jeff Jobe, Regional Coordinator of USDA Business programs; Peachy Melancon, wife of Congressman Charlie Melancon; Anne Perry, Regional Representative of Louisiana Economic Development Office (LED); John Broussard, Business and Cooperative Programs Director; Lee Jones, Assistant to State Director and lenders were also on the tour.
USDA Rural Development is assisting Game Equipment by providing a $3.2 million loan guarantee for major renovations to a factory. Game Equipment CEO, David Chadwick explained his business model, which is to produce quality tractors for pineapple and sugar cane harvesting and exporting worldwide to markets in South America, Africa, Hawaii, and Asia. Some of the largest agriculture companies in the world depend on Game Equipment for their crucial machinery and service. Game Equipment is a 2010 recipient of the Lantern Award from LED for the Bayou Region.
Afterwards, the group traveled to Donaldson and visited the Grapevine Restaurant, a third party recipient of a previously awarded Rural Business Enterprise Grant for the establishment of a revolving loan fund from the Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber provided loan assistance to downtown merchants for downtown revitalization projects. While at the restaurant, the group met with Donaldsonville Mayor, Leroy Sullivan and the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Becky Katz.