Barrett A. Courville | 8/23/2013 12:50:34 AM
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Agriculture is a major contributor to the economy in Acadia parish. In 2012 Acadia parish grew approximately 80,000 acres of rice, 40,000 acres of soybeans, 30,000 acres of crawfish and 6,000 head of cattle. Agriculture producers play a key role in the guidance of the educational programs conducted in the parish by serving on the advisory committee. They give input on production problems and ideas to researchers for future research. The advisory committee identified maximizing yields as a top priority to keep producers in business during these tough economic times. With the increased cost of production inputs, producers must maximize yields to increase profitability. Extension agents conduct educational programs and field days to give producers the information they need to increase yields. Producers receive information on current varieties, environmental issues and marketing updates. Pesticide safety and environmental concerns were also identified as top priority at the advisory committee meeting. Pesticide safety is incorporated in production meetings and field days. Also, agents hold two pesticide re-certifications; 110 producers and home gardeners learned pesticide safety, handling and disposal and renewed their private pesticide applicators card.
Horticulture-related concerns continue to play a major role in the agriculture industry across Acadia Parish. Numerous calls and home visits are made throughout the year concerning a wide area of horticulture-related problems. The Acadia Parish LSU AgCenter has continued to offer educational seminars to the public, provide access to research-based educational material and provide access to LSU AgCenter specialists in order to address these areas of concern as well as public interest. The LSU AgCenter was also awarded two different grants this past year to help maintain two existing pilot school gardens within Acadia Parish. The school gardens were designed by the Acadia Parish LSU AgCenter to incorporate the school’s curriculum to the garden and allow it to serve as a teaching tool for the students.
Family, Nutrition & Health
Approximately 35.6% of Louisiana children ages 10-17 years are considered overweight or obese according to BMI-for-age standards. Louisiana ranks 46th among the 50 states and D.C. in overall prevalence. Nutrition education programs based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are provided to a variety of clients throughout the parish, including elementary students, Head Start youth and parents, and the general public. A collaborative effort between ANR and FCS is currently taking place at two schools in Acadia Parish using school gardens to enhance academic achievement, a healthy lifestyle, environmental stewardship, and community and social development. These gardens will serve as pilot projects with more planned for the future.
4-H Youth & Family Development
Acadia Parish has 1,100 youth enrolled in 27 traditional 4-H Clubs. The youth development program focuses on leadership development for youth and adults, volunteer management and enriching the lives of these youth through age-appropriate competitions, project workshops, community service, activities, livestock programs, overnight camps, outdoor skills training and identifying the knowledge, skills and competencies essential to conducting 4-H youth development. The Acadia Youth Development program strives to instill leadership in all aspects of the programming efforts. The program provides opportunities that aid in developing leadership skills. In order to measure the leadership competence, behaviors, attitude and experience, 10th-graders in Acadia 4-H were randomly evaluated by taking part in the State Leadership Survey. The significant outcomes are as follows: 81% rate that they are appreciated as a leader by both their peers and adults; 75% feel comfortable to speak their case and feel that they can lead a group discussion.
3,073 – Youth (includes 1,100 4-H members, 27 school 4-H Clubs; Youth Wetlands Week – 866 youth; Smart Bodies program – 917 youth; youth volunteers – 60; adult volunteers – 130)
15,500 – Adults
7,500 Ag & Natural Resources
8,000 Family Consumer Sciences
4-H Clubs Workshops, Field days,Websites, Newsletters, Radio programs, Publications, Newspaper articles, Email updates, Demonstrations, Television programs, Facebook.
130 Volunteers – 4-H, Family & Community, Agriculture
LSU AgCenter county agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to Acadia Parish clientele. The 2012 total dollar amount from these commodities were:
Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary Website: LSUAgCenter.com/agsummary
Population – 60,070
Land area (square miles) – 655.28
Persons under 18 years old – 27.5%
Persons 65 years old and over – 12.6%
Median household income – $33,098
Persons below poverty – 23.5%
1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.
2. Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth development.
3. Strengthen families and communities.