Bossier Sheriff's Office is harvesting the last of the peas this week as the harvest of crops nears the end on the property near Plain Dealing and at the Bossier Minimum Security Facility.
More than 40,000 pounds of cucumbers, potatoes, onions and more have been harvested so far. The vegetables will be used to feed the inmate population on the three corrections facilities, which amounts to a significant savings to taxpayers.
The process began in February when the inmates planted potatoes. In April, corn, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables were planted. During the harvest, the inmates are in the fields by 6:00 a.m., picking the vegetables that will feed them and more than 1,200 inmates in Bossier Sheriff's Office Corrections facilities.
The harvest is already complete for 25,000 ears of corn, 3,500 pounds of onions and nearly 7,300 pounds of potatoes, but the harvest continues for other vegetables; thus far, 1,020 pounds of cucumbers, 14,820 pounds of squash, 450 pounds of okra, 14,000 pounds of tomatoes and nearly 3,000 gallons of peas have been harvested.
The combined yearly food bill for all three Bossier Parish corrections facilities is approximately $740,000 (roughly $130,000 at the Bossier Minimum Security Facility, about $386,000 at the Bossier Medium Security Facility and around $224,000 at the Bossier Maximum Security Facility). Without the vegetable supplements, the price tag would be approximately $785,000, meaning the program is saving taxpayers an estimated $45,000 a year. Since 1995 when the program began, Bossier Sheriff's Office estimates nearly $600,000 taxpayer dollars have been saved on the food bill for inmates.