St. Mary Parish Profile 2012

Jimmy Flanagan, Soprano, Camelia W.  |  3/16/2012 7:00:34 PM

Program Highlights

4-H Youth and Family Development
St. Mary Parish 4-H program provides hands-on learning to more than 700 youth enrolled in 27 traditional and Cloverbud 4-H clubs. Through non-formal, research based, experiential education activities 4-H participants gain knowledge and life skills enabling them to become positive, productive, capable and compassionate members of their communities.

The focus of the 4-H program this year was to provide youth with basic life skills knowledge. With childhood obesity rising at alarming rates youth learned about the importance of incorporating fruit and vegetables in their diet, serving sizes and were introduced to the new USDA My Plate through an interactive game. Other lessons ranged from sewing a button, learning the basics of budgeting to learning more about the community (St. Mary Parish Black Bear Awareness Program).

In addition to the traditional 4-H clubs 4-H’ers can join different project clubs such as: Junior Leadership, Livestock, Operation Cook and Shooting Sports. The Operation Cook project club started last year and has provided elementary youth participants the opportunity to learn about healthy choices by cooking healthy recipes and how to incorporate physical activity in their daily routines. St. Mary Parish Shooting Sports is advancing into its 4th successful year. The Shooting Sports project gives 4-H’ers the opportunity to learn about firearm safety, marksmanship, hunting and wildlife conservation in a safe and positive setting.

Agriculture & Natural Resources
Through educational gatherings of large groups and small personal interactive groups, the fisheries program engages the community on issues such as fisheries regulations and ves-sel safety programs, improved quality control methods and gear recommendations, marine debris identification and removal, and community processing and marketing of fishery products. Meetings and information is delivered in a form that the fishermen can understand, working across language barriers and cultural diversity to effectively reach out to all fishermen. In response to these educational extension programs, nearly 400 attendees at various outreach meetings, both Anglo Americans and Asian Americans alike, have either increased their knowledge, their income, or their quality of life with the information presented at the meetings. Local, State, and Federal Government agencies continue to work together to develop and implement community coastal strategies and integrate coastal management programs for coastal restoration in the region.

Economic sustainability has greatly improved for St. Mary Parish Agriculture due to higher commodity prices for both sugarcane and soybean crops. However, challenges still remain relative to value-added crop initiatives, environmental issues, and the continued viability of food production for the future. Researchers, extension personnel and farmers are collaborating together in addressing high-priority issues that hopefully will improve the status of Agriculture for the parish. 

Who we reach:

10,334 Youth (includes 700 4-H members and 27 school 4-H clubs)
3,990 Adults Ag and Natural Resources, Fisheries

How we reach them:  

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

Expanding our efforts:

170 Volunteers - 4-H, Master Gardeners, Family and Community, Shooting Sports Instructors

Parish Facts  

LSU AgCenter ANR Agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to St. Mary Parish clien-tele. The dollar amount from these commodities were:

  • Plant enterprises - $58,000,000.00
  • Aquaculture and wildlife - . $5,658,955
  • Animal enterprises - $3,045,652

Population - 54,650
Land area (square miles) - 612.79
Persons under 18 years old - 25.4%
Persons 65 years old and over - 12.9%
Median household income - $40,431
Persons below poverty - 21% 

Local Issues & Plans for this year

1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture  

  • Employ GIS and Precision Agriculture in helping farmers become more proficient relative to fertility, erosion, and pesticide applications
  • Create a better understanding between "General Public" and Agricultural Production Practices
  • Continued use of research demonstrations in order to convey new information that will improve agricultural production for farmers
  • Conduct educational programs such as Field days, Farm Safety Mtgs., environmental programs (Sugarcane burning Certification, etc.), production meetings
  • Write news column, web page content, and seminars on agriculture practices
  • Conduct farm and home educational visits

2. Promote the wise use of natural resources and protection of the environment  

  • Networking with neighboring parishes to increase educational outreach
  • Before and after hurricane information distribution
  • Conducted Coastal Planting program with local agencies where 4-H youth planted native grasses and learn about saving the coast
  • Wetlands curriculum distribution to interested educators within the parish
  • Promote firearm safety, hunting safety, marksmanship, hunting ethics, and additional outdoor skill

3. Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth development.

  • Develop and implement community service and service learning projects throughout the parish
  • Junior Leaders will work with Character Education projects, Project Clubs, Parish Black Bear Awareness Programs, along with additional community organizations to aid in promoting youth development activities
  • Promote healthy lifestyles through "Operation Cook" project club

4. Strengthen families and communities  

  • Teach classes on parenting skills and advancement

5. Increase economic opportunities and greater diversification of Louisiana Seafood Products  

  • Assist fishing industry in the improvement of seafood product quality and safety
  • Promote viability of the seafood industry by providing educational approaches to business development, technology, and direct marketing opportunities
  • Administer Dockside Workshops to introduce fishermen to emerging research, technologies and approaches developed for the fishing industry
  • Work with local government in dealing with issues associated before and after a disaster for fisheries recovery
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