(10/17/23) BOSSIER CITY, La. — With many uncertainties in the world, people have become interested in homesteading — living self-sufficiently and sustainably. Factoring in this high level of interest in the topic, the LSU AgCenter Red River Research Station recently hosted the inaugural Homesteader’s Conference in Bossier City.
The conference, which took place Oct. 7, hosted more than 600 attendees who gained knowledge about homesteading with a focus on food production in backyards or small acreages and learned techniques for food preservation. AgCenter Northwest Region Director Ronald Strahan said the event was meant to educate attendees by providing research-based information on a variety of topics to aid in self-sufficiency.
“We had AgCenter experts at live-animal livestock booths to discuss topics such as backyard chickens and egg production, small-scale beef production, raising sheep, goats and products from goat milk, backyard rabbits and more,” he said.
In addition, AgCenter horticulturists were on hand to share information about vegetable gardening and fruit tree options that do well in northwestern Louisiana.
Speakers gave presentations on several topics of interest to homesteaders such as homesteading 101, high-yielding vegetable and fruit varieties for the Ark-La-Tex area, chicken processing and dyeing fabrics using indigo.
Attendees were also able to interact with more than 50 vendors and educational booths.
One attendee, Jim Hollier, was pleasantly surprised by the variety of topics the conference had to offer.
“I don’t know what I was expecting since I’d never been to one, but it far exceeded anything I could have imagined,” he said. “My wife and I both got a lot of good information and sat in on some very good talks. There was a lot to see.”
Strahan said all of the feedback he received was “extremely positive,” and plans are already underway for a 2024 Homesteader Conference.
The LSU AgCenter’s inaugural Homesteader’s Conference was held on Oct. 7 at the Red River Research Station. Extension agent Myrl Sistrunk was on hand to answer poultry questions at the conference. Photo provided by Donna Haynes/LSU AgCenter
The LSU AgCenter’s inaugural Homesteader’s Conference was held at the Red River Research Station on Oct. 7. Hundreds of attendees learned about raising home livestock, such as rabbits, as well as gardening techniques and fruit tree options for northwest Louisiana. Photo provided by Donna Haynes/LSU AgCenter
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture