CROWLEY, La. (KLFY) – A lot goes into putting on the Rice Festival and it all begins with the rice industry.

The life of the rice starts with the life of the farmer and as farmer Paul Zaunbrecher told News 10 that “it’s got to be something you love.”

Zaunbrecher also said that you have to always hope for the best weather and that sometimes, a full day is often not enough. You’ve also got to be ready for anything in the year-round job.

“Every morning you wake up and there’s no such thing as planning a day,” Zaunbrecher said. “Plant the rice in March and April and you’re harvesting rice end of July into August.”

“The second crop gets harvest anywhere from October 1st, all the way through Thanksgiving,” he continued.

Zaunbrecher also told News 10 about the process after the rice is harvested.

“We bring it into the grain storage facilities, and we dry the rice down,” he said. “If you’re capable of making a 50-barrel crop and you got a couple 1000 acres that’s 100,000 barrels of rice and a barrel of rice is 162 lbs. So you have to do the math on that.”

He continued, “and then we ship it out whenever the mills are ready to start milling.” Once the rice hits the truck, its next stop is rice mills like Falcon Rice Mill where Cajun Country Rice is born.

News 10 also spoke with the Director of Operations for the Falcon Rice Mill Dwayne Fulton, who said “to me, rice is a staple of the south.”

“We are honored to be able to give quality rice and get it to their store shelves,” he continued.

Rice has to go through many processes before it becomes the delicacy we all know and love. From the first inspection the moisture level has to be just right, then it goes through the many steps of the milling process.

“It goes through a sheller which takes the hull off and from there it goes into separation,” Fulton said. “We have to separate the brokens and the brewers and then we come in with what you call head rice which goes into the plastic bag.”

The hulls, the half-grains, and quarter-grains, sometimes called brewers, are by-products used for other applications which are removed before packaging. After that, it is ready to be shipped out. All of this is overseen and made possible by the experienced workers of the third-generation-owned Crowley Rice Mill.

“We wouldn’t be where we are without what they bring to the table,” Fulton added.