Carol Pinnell-Alison, Thornton, Amy, II, Ricard, Mark, Vidrine, Quincy L.
The LSU AgCenter provides innovative research, information, and education to improve people’s lives. Working in a unique statewide network of parish extension offices, research stations and academic departments, the LSU AgCenter helps Louisiana citizens make the best use of natural resources, protect the environment, enhance agricultural enterprises, and develop human and community resources.
Producers in agriculture have available resources related to production practices and equipment to help them make decisions related to their plant or animal business. Unfortunately, the weather cannot be predicted. From harvest last year to harvest this year the weather took many difficult changes that impacted agriculture in our area. Harvest last year saw over 20 inches of rain for an extended period. This damaged corn, cotton and soybean yield and quality. We then had an early frost that killed summer grass for cattle grazing. This left a grazing gap between summer and winter available forages. December brought an extended hard freeze. In February we had several weeks of good weather that tricked producers to plant corn early. A freeze in March killed that early planted corn which then had to be replanted. We had good growing conditions from March until mid-July. Temperatures began rising in July and rainfall stopped. There were 22 days in August with the temperature at 100 degrees or above and no rainfall. Several days had temperatures of 106 degrees. Producers with irrigation were able to minimize the yield reduction due to the heat and drought. Pastures burned up with cattle producers feeding hay as a supplement or selling off cattle due to lack of hay. September brought some cooler temperatures and some scattered rain.
Franklin Parish producers planted this year 115,417 acres of corn, 5,528 acres of cotton, 198 acres of rice, 50 acres of grain sorghum, 51,550 acres of soybean, 1,026 acres of sweet potatoes, and 2,585 acres of wheat. Franklin Parish ranked first in corn acreage planted, eighth in cotton acres planted, and ninth in soybean acres planted in Louisiana.
During our 4-H Summer Camp, we had the pleasure of having 21 enthusiastic and curious kids, accompanied by five dedicated volunteers. It was an unforgettable experience filled with learning, adventure, and camaraderie. Among the many memorable activities, one that stood out was our participation in the Northeast Challenge Camp. During this event, we engaged in a meaningful service project by crafting shower rolls, showcasing the spirit of giving within our group. These shower rolls were then generously donated to the First Thrift Store in West Monroe, serving as a testament to the compassion and generosity instilled in our young 4-H members. It was a summer filled with growth, community, and a strong sense of purpose, leaving a lasting impact on all involved.
The Franklin Parish FCS Nutrition Team closes out summer activities with the Crowville Seeker Springs Kids Camp. Nearly 75 students participated in the camp and were taught lessons about each of the 5 food groups on the MyPlate model as well as the importance of physical activity. TeenChefs (6 local youth), Quincy Vidrine- Area Nutrition Agent, Krissten Medlin-Nutrition Educator, and Mark Ricard-Franklin 4H agent assisted participants with knife skills, measuring ingredients, and preparing recipes. The children were able to use the Blender Bike to make smoothies and salsa. By the end of each day, students were able to recognize foods from each food group, know why it is important to consume various foods for nutritional value, benefits of being active, and trying new foods.
Continued efforts are coming along within the Franklin Parish Healthy Communities Coalition and Franklin Medical Community Work Groups. Plans are being finalized to bring Franklin Parish residents many ideas and ways to become healthier and to help make Franklin Parish a healthier place to live.
Education opportunities have continued throughout the Summer and into the Fall at various locations including Council on Aging sites, the M.E.R.I.T. Center, First United Methodist, First Baptist of Crowville, Crowville Farmer’s Market and the Franklin Parish Head Start Center. Over 200 students and parents will be taught the importance of healthy eating and making healthy choices. With the addition of the school garden, students will be able to gain nutritional knowledge of the various vegetables they have planted and ways they can incorporate them into their diet to be able to grow and play all day.