DeSoto Parish Profile 2012

Charles Griffin  |  3/9/2012 9:38:04 PM

Please click on the image above to view the PDF version of the 2012 DeSoto Parish Profile.

Photo By: Himel, Megan

Program Highlights

Family, Nutrition & Health
Louisiana has the 8th highest rate of adult obesity and 7th high-est rate of overweight and obese youths. In an effort to promote healthy eating habits 200 youth ranging from 5 to 18 years old received lessons that demonstrated ways to prepare nutritious and healthy snacks for after school and home meals as an alter-native to eating high fat, salty and sugary items from fast food restaurants. After the lessons 60% of the youth at an after school meeting reported that they are eating more fruits and vegetables in addition to preparing more nutritious meals and snacks at home. However, some admit that lowering consumption of fast food is a hard habit to break. Also, an EFNEP nutrition educator worked with 400 fifth graders in the DeSoto Parish School System. These children were taught nutrition lessons and offered food sam-ples during monthly classes. Most of these children gained knowledge on eating healthier foods and said they would encourage their parents to prepare these healthier foods at home.

4-H Youth Development
In a response to low test scores on the 2010—2011 LEAP Test, during the 2011-2012 school year a series of lessons are being presented to the elementary clubs that focus on these skills needed to excel in the standardized LEAP testing. For the 7th through 12th grade, lessons focused on workforce preparation were presented to prepare students to enter the workforce after high school. More than 200 youth attended the 2011 4-H Fun Day to wrap up the year’s focus on safety. The DeSoto Parish Fire Department, sheriff’s of-fice, and a game warden all participated to make a fun community involved program. More than 40 Junior Leaders completed a service project of "Caring for Kids" in which they gave teddy bears to the children at the Shriners Hospital and donated items for Operation Military Kids.

Agriculture & Natural Resources
DeSoto Parish had a total of 8 inches of rainfall from April through September in 2011 which is 16 inches below the norm. Most of the cattle producers sold around half their herd because of the limited amount of grazing due to the extreme drought. The cows that remained on the farm had to be supplemented with poor quality bought hay and high protein and energy supple-ments. LSU AgCenter conducted a series of meetings dealing with cattle producers surviving the drought of 2010 & 2011. Planting winter pastures, supplementing poor quality hay, man-aging for cow efficiency and irrigating pastures and hay fields were topics discussed at these meeting. More than 150 residents attended these meetings and over 33% said they gained knowledge that would make their farm able to make it through the drought. 

Who we reach:

1,117- Youth (includes nearly 500 4-H members & 13 school 4-H clubs), 3,976- Adults, 1,950 Ag & Natural Resources, 2,026 Family Consumer Sciences

How we reach them:  

4-H clubs, Class series, School Enrichment, Demonstrations, Field days, Workshops, Newsletters, Web sites, Publications, and Social media.

Expanding our efforts:

150 Volunteers - 4-H, Master Gardeners, Family & Community

Parish Facts  

LSU AgCenter County Agents provide research-based information on plant, aqua-culture, wildlife and animal enterprises to DeSoto Parish clientele. The 2010 total dol-lar amount from these commodities were:

  • Plant enterprises - $34,955,186.
  • Aquaculture and wildlife - $2,536,745.
  • Animal enterprises - $23,602,534.

Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary Web site: LSUAgCenter.com/agsummary  

Population - 26,656
Land area (square miles) - 877.20
Persons under 18 years old - 24.9%
Persons 65 years old and over - 14.4%
Median household income - $38,007
Persons below poverty - 20.3%

Local Issues & Plans for this year

1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.  

  • Conduct quarterly beef cattle meetings
  • Conduct annual pasture management meeting
  • Write news column, web page content, and seminars on agriculture practices
  • Conduct farm and home educational visits
  • Conduct pesticide recertification meetings
  • Assist homeowners with lawn and garden questions

2. Create a sense of belonging among all the youth involved and promote independence and generosity among teenage groups  

  • Continue with LEAP preparation curriculum to help improve standardized test scores in the parish. Utilize Money Management curriculum in high school 4-H clubs to help students learn skills such as bal-ancing a checkbook before leaving high school.
  • Continue to increase teen involvement by utilizing youth voice and having local teen leaders plan their own age ap-propriate activities. Encourage teens to plan & participate in both service learning projects as well as social and edu-cational activities.
  • Continue to develop Cooking & Sewing Club and Photography club to provide more op-portunities for 4-H members who are not interested in livestock and outdoor skills activities.

3. Strengthen families and communities  

  • Conduct workshops and newsletters for youth and adults on living a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise
  • Conduct workshops and newsletters on food safety and the importance of hand washing
  • Assist families on budget shopping and compare prices using the food labels
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