It's that time of year when the sides of South Louisiana roadways often have the remnants of sugarcane strewn about them. It is the beginning of grinding season. This bit of blow off from the passing 'cane trucks is a subtle reminder that the sugarcane industry is very vital to our state's economy.

This industry represents $3 billion in economic impact. However those of us who aren't in the industry usually feel the impact on the highways.

We just encourage people to extend the same courtesy they would to any other truck drives and be cautious, especially when you’re in the area of sugar mills and sugar cane loading sites.

Just keep repeating to yourself, $3 billion, $3 billion, $3 billion, for a cash strapped state that is an important number and well worth the "frustration" of driving behind a 'cane truck.

The 'cane growing season, for the most part, has been a good one. The winter months were relatively mild. That was a good thing for the crop. Also the spring and summer had sufficient rainfall so the crop didn't suffer from a drought as in previous seasons.

The other bit of good news coming from very early in this harvest season is the sugar content of the 'cane has been very good. The only drawback in the harvest so far has been the recent rainfall has set the timetable back a few weeks.

We’ve got a lot of rain since then and so all of this rain has kind of put us behind the 8 ball with regards to planning but it has provided a lot of moisture for the crop to continue growing.

Jim Simon offered those observations to the Louisiana Radio Network. Jim knows his sugarcane. He is General Manager of the American Sugar Cane League in Thibodaux.

Another bit of sweet news for Louisiana sugarcane growers is that prices appear to be up from last season. There is speculation that increase could be as much as a half cent from last year's .24 cents per pound average. There is a caveat though.

It takes us a whole year to market sugar. The exact price will kind of be determined by what sugar prices do over the next nine months.