agriculture

Gov. Edwards Forms 'Rural Revitalization' Task Force

Feb 17, 2020
revjdevans/Flickr

Governor John Bel Edwards just announced new efforts to revitalize Louisiana’s rural communities that are in crisis.

By executive order, Gov. Edwards formed a task force to address problems in the state’s outlying and underpopulated areas affected by poor education, economic development, and healthcare access.

A maximum of 34 appointees will help identify the needs of Louisiana’s rural residents and devise legislative solutions.

It’s only midmorning, but shrimper Thomas Olander is already calling it quits for the day in a small bayou in St. Mary Parish, on the central Louisiana coast.

There aren’t enough shrimp out there — especially the highly sought-after jumbo shrimp that fetch the highest prices at the market.

“It's just not worth it,” Olander said, of his morning burning fuel, supplies and time.

Rice is one of Louisiana's signature agricultural products. But it’s more than just the base for gumbos and étouffées - it’s an economic driver across the state. So lawmakers in Louisiana recently passed a bill aimed at protecting the industry by defining what is rice and what isn't. 

Wallis Watkins

Soybeans are a $700-million dollar industry in Louisiana.  It’s the second largest row crop industry, just behind sugar cane. So when China imposed a tax on imported soybeans, it put a financial strain on farmers across the state. 

Travis Lux / WWNO

Every summer, a "dead zone" forms in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area where the oxygen is so low that aquatic mammals can't survive. This year the dead zone was the biggest on record.

 

Tulane University has awarded $1 million to a company to help shrink it.

Della Hasselle / WWNO

Extreme flooding caused major agricultural damage throughout South Louisiana in 2016. Now, struggling farmers are hoping to get help from a $10 million recovery grant approved by Congress this year.


Texas Launches New Attack On Feral Hogs

Jun 27, 2013

The Texas Department of Agriculture is waging a new attack on the feral hogs that are running roughshod over the state. A new matching grant will help fund programs put together by multiple counties, private industry and landowners. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said the new County Hog Abatement Matching Program or CHAMP has almost $60,000 to allocate in the first year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Louisiana's harvests this year include record yields for at least five crops — corn, soybeans, cotton, grain sorghum and rice. Sugarcane is still being harvested, but could be near a record.

Economist Kurt Guidry says reasons include more irrigation, better crop varieties and luck with the weather.

Rice expert John Saichuk cautions that a rice disease called blast may have cut the harvest below the federal estimate of 6,500 pounds per acre. And AgCenter surveys put the record yield at last year's 6,717 pounds per acre.

A Lake Charles veterinarian says he has seen more than a dozen cases of Eastern equine encephalitis in the past three weeks — and the only horses that are still alive are the two that were vaccinated.

Ted Shope of South Bayou Animal Hospital tells the American Press that horses have died of the disease in Creole, Grand Cheiner, Reeves, south Lake Charles and eastern Jefferson Davis Parish.

He says horse owners should make sure their animals are vaccinated for mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis.

Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 11 north Louisiana parishes as disaster areas because of drought.

He says he was notified Wednesday that four — Morehouse, Richland, Union and West Carroll — are primary natural disaster areas. The other seven — Caldwell, Claiborne, East Carroll, Franklin, Lincoln, Madison and Ouachita — were named because they're are adjacent to the primary disaster area.

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