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Burning sugarcane problematic for homeowners

3 years 4 months 3 weeks ago December 31, 2013 Dec 31, 2013 Tuesday, December 31 2013 December 31, 2013 3:57 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

PORT ALLEN- Some residents in West Baton Rouge Parish are frustrated over problems they've encountered recently with burning sugarcane.

Neighbors in the Roseland Trace Subdivision off Rosedale Road said it's the worst mess they've ever experienced.

"When this time comes, it gets annoying," Carey Denstel said.

Sugarcane ash litters roof tops, driveways and swimming pools in the subdivision.  The consistency is exactly like ash, and disintegrates if you try to sweep it or pick it up.

Ken Collins is also aggravated by it, but understands it's the price he has to pay to live in what he describes as a little slice of heaven.

"It's aggravating, we're trying to have a birthday party, but it's no problem," Collins said.

Farmer Johnny Gentile said the cane must be burned to prevent it from clogging up the processing machines.

"It's getting rid of all the shucks," Gentile said.

The State Office of Agriculture and Forestry says guidelines set up by the LSU AG center lay out how control burns need to be conducted.  However, there is no mechanism or law to force sugarcane farmers to follow those rules.

That means neighbors like Denstel will have to live with the headaches until harvesting season is over.

"I thought about getting some neighbors to get together and go to our parish council and ask them what can be done," Denstel said.

Sugarcane harvesting will end by February. Complaints can be filed with the State.

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