Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain said a sugar mill in Lacassine built with proceeds from state revenue bonds is making a profit and the owners have resumed payments on a bank loan.

The facility was built in 2006 with $45 million from $100 million of bonds issued for the Agriculture Department by the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority.

The owners postponed a portion of a scheduled loan payment earlier this year, Strain said, but will make that up with a larger payment set for November.

The bonds are supported by $12 million from annual slot machines revenue at horse racing tracks and $3 million in agricultural fees. Other financed projects included $31 million for firefighting equipment.

However, according to state law, the gambling revenues were to be used only for the agricultural department's efforts at boll weevil eradication and other agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, industrial, or economic development programs. So the 2009 Legislature appropriated $15 million to redeem a portion of the $58 million of outstanding bonds that could be called without penalty.

The bonds are rated Baa2 by Moody's Investors Service.

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