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Sugar Industry Leader Leaves Legacy of Innovation

Billy Patout and Mill
Billy Patout and Mill

A leader and innovator in the sugar industry died last week and leaves behind a legacy of innovation.

Iberia Parish native William “Billy” Schwing Patout III was infamous for management and innovations in the sugar industry not only in Louisiana but throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Patout served as chief engineer and manager of several sugar mills in south Louisiana, Hawaii and Haiti during his nearly 6-decade career in agriculture.

General Manager of the Thibodaux-based American Sugarcane League Jim Simon says Patout strived to make advancements in the sugarcane industry.

“Billy Patout was recognized internationally as a sugar industry leader, Simon said about the fifth-generation agriculture industry manager. “He was someone who pushed the industry to new heights and was constantly looking for and thinking about better ways to improve and make great efficiencies in our industry.”

Patout’s tenure as leader of M.A. Patout and Sons company, and the Enterprise sugar mill in Patoutville, stands as a lasting legacy of his vision and leadership as being the largest mill in Louisiana with exclusive technology that Patout created himself.

Simon says though his service came in the form of sugar factory management, Patout never lost sight of what the industry needed to do to improve at the ground level.

“While he was a miller at heart he understood that the real core–the lifeblood of the industry– was the ability to grow cane, and to do it in such a manner that we maintained profitability,” Simon said.

M. A. Patout & Sons remains the 18th oldest family-owned company in the United States.

He died in Lafayette on Friday, Aug. 4 at the age of 84. He will be laid to rest on Wednesday.

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