Richard Letlow | 9/5/2013 1:55:39 AM
Family, Nutrition and Health
A social marketing campaign promoting messages of healthy lifestyles is underway along with series of nutrition classes for adult, senior, and youth audiences in Ouachita Parish through the SNAP-Ed program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education). SNAP-Ed provides nutrition education for youth through programs such as Kids in the Kitchen, Ag Alley, Body Quest Food of the Warrior, and Smart Bodies. “Let’s Eat for the Health of It” is the message of nutrition educational programs targeted to adults through series of classes. SNAP-Ed also partners with numerous agencies including the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the Healthy Community Coalition for Region VIII. These partnerships allow a greater number of citizens to be reached and have led to the establishment of a community garden in Monroe.
4-H Youth and Family Development
Ouachita 4-H had approximately 1,150 4th through 12th graders enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year. The club focus for this past year was commodities grown locally in Louisiana. These youth gained knowledge on a basic understanding of what commodities are used for. 4-H Agents reach these youth through school based clubs, after school clubs and workshops, and recreational centers.
Ouachita 4-H has a shooting sports program that is volunteer driven. Ouachita has twelve trained and active volunteers that help train in rifle, archery, and shotgun. Ouachita 4-H has approximately forty-five shooting sports members that participated in rifle, shotgun, and archery. Twenty-five shooting sports members competed at regional competitions, with eight of those participants advancing to state competition in shotgun and archery. The LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Development Offices and Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration teamed up to bring Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program. This program develops and distributes wetland education curriculum and teaching materials FREE to any teacher who signs up for the program. Ouachita had over 500 youth to participate in the parish.
Agriculture & Natural Resources
One of the LSU AgCenter’s main goals has been and will continue to be to educate the public on Agriculture and its role in their lives. The 2015 Ag Expo was conducted in January and is a strategic outlet in this education and demonstrates to our clientele our involvement to the community. Ag Alley featured educational displays on corn, forestry, mini-farm and gardening. The LaHouse project display was also featured at this year’s event.
It was determined that over 11,000 people entered and viewed the exhibits at Ag Alley. Over 1,800 first and fourth grade students were educated on where their food originates. The Ouachita staff plays a valuable part of informing the public about the importance of Agriculture to the area.
Six presentations were given on gardening topics. Three articles were published in the Louisiana Gardener magazine. Twenty-three weekly articles were submitted to the News-Star. The weekly call-in TV spot on KNOE TV-8 continues to be a highlight in the community.
The Master Gardeners have volunteered man hours to maintain flower beds and garden beds at Chennault Aviation Museum and Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, as well as a demonstration and butterfly garden behind the West Monroe Farmer’s Market.
Who we reach:
How we reach them:
4-H Clubs, Class series, School enrichment, Demonstrations, Workshops, Newsletters, Website, TV talk show, Publications, Facebook, News Articles, Ag Expo/Ag Alley.
LSU AgCenter county agents provide research-based information on plant, wildlife, aquaculture and animal enterprises to Ouachita Parish clientele. The 2012 total dollar amount from these commodities were:
• Plant enterprises – $55,285,186.48
• Aquaculture/Wildlife – $3,722,211.95
• Animal enterprises – $29,498,068.04
• Population – 1556,325
• Land area (square miles) – 610.41
• Persons under 18 years old – 25.8%
• Persons 65 years old and over – 13.0%
• Median household income – $38,955
• Persons below poverty – 23.2%
Data from U.S. Census Bureau
Local Issues & Plans for this year
1. Strengthen families and communities.
· Utilize the Healthy Communities Coalition to foster collaboration among agencies promoting nutrition.
· Offer classes promoting positive behavior change related to nutrition and health.
· Promote the Smart Bodies and Body Quest Childhood Obesity Prevention Program.
2. Increase awareness of health and environmental issues for 4-H Youth.
· Utilize the LSU AgCenter’s Body Walk exhibit of choosing healthy eating lifestyle and incorporating exercise into daily routines.
· Incorporate bullying/cyber bullying prevention during club meetings. Promote and educate about agriculture and ag commodities through Ag Alley, Ag Adventures, newsletters and after school enrichment.
3. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.
· Variety demonstrations on corn and cotton to be continued.
· Post on web site different pre and post herbicide to combat weed resistance
· All crop varieties need to be evaluated for resistance to reniform nematodes
· Research needs to continue on irrigation for corn and soybean.
· Increase number of demonstration gardens by Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners.
· Continue to conduct and increase community and school gardening projects.
· Recruit guest speakers at quarterly cattlemen’s meetings
· Increase 4-H livestock exhibitor’s knowledge of personal farm finances and cattle production.