Elton Kennedy

Kennedy Rice Dryers
Geo Area
Region 8

Elton Kennedy, Founder and President, Kennedy Rice Dryers

Rice has long been one of the most important crops grown in the world. Elton Kennedy and his company Kennedy Rice Dryers, LLC, one of the leading firms in the South, are helping to get that product to consumers.

The state is the third-largest producer of rice in the country, and rice is an integral part of Louisiana’s culture and cuisine. The crop is the state’s second largest agricultural export, valued around $144 million in 2007 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Kennedy family has been growing rice and selling it under the name Kennedy Rice Farms since the 1960s. In 1974 Elton Kennedy took the next logical step and founded what is now known as Kennedy Rice Dryers.

The company, which started with one drying facility in Mer Rouge, La., has been a great success and over the years. Elton Kennedy expanded his rice business by joining with his longtime friend and business associate in the rice business – Frank Godchaux – when they acquired a mill in Abbeville, La. Kennedy has expanded to owning and operating five drying facilities in four parishes around the state. Because of the quality of the production, the rice that has been dried and milled at Kennedy Rice’s facilities bears a coveted Safe Quality Foods (SQF) certification.

Food production, which is somewhat recession-proof as people can never cut back on eating completely, has resulted in steady success for Kennedy Rice. Building on this, the company has recently embarked on another exciting expansion that is getting a lot of local press with the construction of a new mill in Mer Rouge, La.

Kennedy served as an active board member for Riviana Foods, an international rice company, for more than 20 years.