Experience Louisiana includes AgCenter exhibits

Karol Osborne  |  11/7/2017 9:49:59 PM

(11/07/17) EUNICE, La. — Pedal-powered smoothies, pumpkin decorating and livestock exhibits were among LSU AgCenter-sponsored activities at the Experience Louisiana Festival held Oct. 28-29 on the LSU Eunice campus.

“Louisiana’s culture is very unique, unlike anywhere else in the world, and the LSU AgCenter is honored to be a part of the celebration,” AgCenter Central Region director Boyd Padgett told a crowd of several hundred festivalgoers at the opening ribbon cutting ceremony.

The festival chose an agricultural focus this year, so AgCenter programs in crop and livestock production, nutrition and health, and 4-H youth development were showcased in the Ag Village area, Padgett said, adding that this is the first year the AgCenter has been a co-sponsor of the event.

Exhibits of cotton, corn, grain sorghum and soybeans were highlighted at the Ag Village tent. “Rice is the biggest crop in this area, so there may be many people who have never seen a cotton or corn plant,” Padgett said.

AgCenter agent Keith Hawkins displayed jars filled with seeds from cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans, red winter wheat and field corn and talked with visitors about the diversity of food, livestock feed and industrial products made from the crops.

State 4-H Food and Fitness Board members Caroline Dugan, Ava Hackney and Gracie Walker kept many Ag Village visitors busy all morning making healthy fruit smoothies and MyPlate bracelets.

Using different colored beads to represent key food groups, water and physical activity, Walker said the bracelets remind children to eat a “healthy plate.”

Dugan and Hackney showed how to combine orange juice and low-fat yogurt with a frozen berry blend and bananas to make a healthy smoothie treat.

“The bicycle blender uses peddle-power to make the smoothies,” said St. Landry Parish 4-H agent Lisa Benoit. “The faster you peddle, the faster your smoothie is ready.”

The board members’ activities were supported by a grant from UnitedHealthcare.

St. Landry Parish 4-H agent Megan Plattsmier organized poultry, goats and cattle 4-H livestock project exhibits for the festival.

St. Landry Parish 4-H member Emma Bergeron tucked a one-year-old Bantam Rhode Island Red rooster she called Little Man under her arm showing how to keep the bird calm. “This is my third year showing poultry, and I’m hoping to get other animals to show,” Bergeron said.

“Goats and poultry are two of our the most popular livestock species,” Plattsmier said, adding that new exhibitors generally start out in poultry projects before moving to larger animals.

Emily Deshotel from Evangeline Parish demonstrated how to lead and set up her Braford heifer, while Garrett Manuel from St. Landry Parish showed his Savanna meat goat.

AgCenter agent Vince Deshotel exhibited four head of Braford cattle as part of the livestock educational program.

Children gathered throughout the afternoon for pumpkin decorating and making pumpkin pie-in-a-bag activities.

With 60 free pumpkins available, Opelousas Catholic School eighth-grader Jaren St. Clair had his hands full helping children select art foam sticker kits in bat, vampire and Frankenstein patterns to decorate their jack-o’-lanterns.

“Just press out the stickers, decorate the pumpkin, and then they can take the pumpkin home,” St. Clair said.

Jordan Lafountaine, a St. Landry Parish 4-H Junior Leader, showed how to carefully combine milk, vanilla pudding mix, ginger and canned pumpkin puree in a plastic bag. “We put graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of a cup, fill it with pumpkin pie filling, and top it with whipped cream,” Lafountaine said.

The festival continued through Sunday with additional AgCenter-sponsored activities, including a forestry-themed game and more livestock exhibits.

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LSU AgCenter 4-H agent Lisa Benoit assists Lindsay Morrow, a St. Landry Parish 4-H member from Park Vista Elementary, in using a peddle-powered blender to make a healthy fruit smoothie at Ag Village, part of the Experience Louisiana Festival held Oct. 28 in Eunice. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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LSU AgCenter Central Region director Boyd Padgett welcomes visitors to the Experience Louisiana Festival during the opening ribbon cutting ceremony held Oct. 28 on the LSU Eunice campus. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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Evangeline Parish 4-H member Emily Deshotel demonstrates how to set up her Braford cow during a livestock exhibition as part of the LSU AgCenter-sponsored educational programs held at the Experience Louisiana Festival on Oct. 28 in Eunice. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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St. Landry Parish 4-H agent Megan Plattsmier and 4-H’er Garrett Manuel work with his Savanna meat goat in preparation for the livestock exhibits at Ag Village at the Experience Louisiana Festival on oct. 28 in Eunice. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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St. Landry Parish 4-H member Emma Bergeron shows her Bantam Rhode Island Red rooster as part of the 4-H livestock exhibit at the Experience Louisiana Festival on Oct. 28 in Eunice. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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