Stuart Gauthier | 9/11/2013 10:47:45 PM
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Agriculture is a well-diversified $100 million industry vital to economic health of St. Martin Parish. Plant enterprises lead the way, accounting for $62 million, in part due to a 31,000-acre, $40 million sugarcane crop. Nearly 11,000 acres of soybeans, over 3,200 acres of rice, 1,600 acres of grain sorghum and 370 acres of wheat account for the rest of the field crop total. Other major commodities include aquaculture and wildlife valued at $24 million and animal enterprises including horses and cattle estimated at 13.6 million. In the past few years educational programs emphasis has been on best management practices for all commodities, including Master Farmer and Master Gardener programs. This varied clientele are served through advisory committees, producer organizations, commodity meetings, field days, recycling programs and newspaper articles.
4-H Youth & Family Development
Hands to Larger Service: In December 2012, 4-H Club members were asked to participate in a 4-H Day of Service. Several projects were held. Cecilia Jr. High and Teche Elem. held an animal shelter drive initiated by two 4-H members; students brought in items for the animals, raising $902. Breaux Bridge Primary raised $220 for the Louisiana Organ Procurement Association fundraiser, holding a staff jean day. 4-H Clubs visited nursing homes, played bingo with residents, brought goodie bags and Christmas cards and sang Christmas carols. St. Bernard collected coats for those in need. Annually 4-H members collect pull tabs and donate them to our parish office. Approximately $346 was donated to the Ronald McDonald House from St. Martin Parish 4-H’s pull tab recycling program. We have donated a total of $2,928.64 since inception of project in 2005. Approximately 8 clubs participated in the annual Food for Families food drive, and several clubs helped sort food during. Over 2,000 pounds of food was donated by 4-H Clubs, and over 10 hours were given throughout the day of the collection.
Family, Nutrition & Health
Nutrition, obesity and healthy living are important issues in our parish. A comprehensive nutrition education program is offered to our parish schools through the EFNEP program. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program is federally funded and provides nutrition education to limited-resource families and youth. Nutrition classes are also offered to other interested individuals. Topics covered include Diabetes Awareness, Choose My Plate and Safe Food Preservation. Clientele are reached through classes, demonstrations, phone calls, news articles and fact sheets.
42,875 Youth (includes 970 4-H members, 36 school 4-H Clubs, 1 community club and 3 special interest clubs)
5,443 Adults (includes 5,300 Ag & Natural Resources and 143 Family & Consumer Sciences)
4-H Clubs, Class series, School enrichment, Demonstrations, Field days, Workshops, Newsletters, Websites, Publications, Social media
300 Volunteers – 4-H, Master Gardeners, Family & Community, Master Horsemen, Agriculture & Natural Resources
LSU AgCenter county agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to St. Martin Parish clientele. The 2012 total dollar amount from these commodities were:
Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary Web site: LSUAgCenter.com/agsummary
Population – 52,726
Land area (square miles) – 737.65
Persons under 18 years old – 25.6%
Persons 65 years old and over – 12.5%
Median household income – $40,358
Persons below poverty – 18.1%
1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.
2. Promote the wise use of natural resources and protection of the environment.
3. Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth development.
4. Strengthen families and communities