Golden Ranch, purchased from the Hwacha and Chaoucha Indians in 1744, is the largest privately owned refuge in the state of Louisiana.
The primary mission of owner Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. is to continue the preservation sustainability and conservation that has been part of the ranch for hundreds of years.
Mr. Cenac has constructed a series of flood control structures to help stop saltwater intrusion. Keeping saltwater out is a major task, but is necessary to protect the marsh and the entire property.
Besides the flood control system for the freshwater marshes the ranch has an extensive levee system to protect the heart of the property preserving this property is not only about saving what is already there it’s about saving land and wildlife habitat for many generations to come.
Since the early 19th century, the Golden Ranch has produced sugarcane.
Sugarcane is one of the main sources of income at the Golden Ranch. Since the early 19th century, the Golden Ranch has produced sugarcane.
The sugar produced at the Golden Ranch factory in Gheens was shipped through a system of canals to Lake Salvador, then across the lake to New Orleans.
Sugarcane production ceased for a period after the Civil War, which brought devastation to fields, buildings, and equipment. It wasn’t until 1883 that the Gheens brothers, owners of the candy factory in Louisville, Kentucky, began to grow sugarcane on the property. Some of the sugar produced was to be used in candy. As time went by, sugarcane production was at a minimum and the sugar factory was abandoned. In 1920, Charles Gheens became the sole owner of the Golden Ranch Plantation, and it was then that sugarcane was reestablished, with the land being leased to tenant farmers.
Today, they are almost a thousand acres of sugarcane on the Golden Ranch plantation, which is currently solely owned and operated by Mr. Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. The sugarcane produced continues to be shipped to a local factory for processing.
In addition to the standing natural beauty of the land, the Golden Ranch has original buildings from the 1700s. These include The Big House, lined with beautiful oak trees, an old trading post, sugar mill, and a one-room schoolhouse.
GOLDEN RANCH FARMS | GHEENS, LOUISIANA