Twenty-three youth from around the state participated in the 2011 Louisiana Young Ag Producers Program Summer Institute held July 18-22 on the LSU-Baton Rouge campus, according to LSU AgCenter program coordinator Bradley Leger.
The one-year, intensive classroom and hands-on, mentor-based experience introduces high school juniors and seniors to the options available to them in the areas of food and fiber production and to encourage them to enter careers in agriculture, Leger said.
“Participants have demonstrated a sincere interest in entering a career in production agriculture, agree to attend one-week summer institutes and complete 50 internship hours with a qualified mentor during the school term,” Leger said.
The 2011 Summer Institute marked the end of the program for the 2010-2011 class and was the starting point for the 2011-2012 class.
2010-2011 Class members are: Adam Barrilleaux, East Baton Rouge Parish; Kody Beavers, Franklin Parish; Dylan Benoit, Jefferson Davis Parish; Jake Broussard, Iberia Parish; Tanya Davis, Tangipahoa Parish; Jeremy Dixon, West Feliciana Parish; David Fontenot, Evangeline Parish; Anneliese Franklin, East Baton Rouge Parish; Courtney Hebert, Tangipahoa Parish; Cade Heinen, Jefferson Davis Parish; Channing LaLande, Cameron Parish; Cade Marceaux, Vermilion Parish; and Daniel McFarland, Caddo Parish.
2011-2012 Program members are: Blair Bennett, Union Parish; Chad Blanchard and Blaine Bush, Iberville Parish; Samuel Laroux, Sabine Parish; Justin Matherne, Lafourche Parish; Sarah McKinney, Tangipahoa Parish; Benjamin Miguez, Matthew Pierce and Marcus Pousson, Jefferson Davis Parish, and Joshua Wicke, Cameron Parish.
The group has a wide range of production interests, including beef, rice, crawfish, swine, goats, horses, fruit and vegetable crops.
"We are very pleased with this excellent class representing diverse agricultural interests from different regions of the state," said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor. "These students represent Louisiana's future ranchers and farmers who will help keep Louisiana's rural economy strong as well as help provide the ever-expanding food demands resulting from a growing world population."
During the institute, members participated in seminars and presentations presented by LSU AgCenter specialists and other private and governmental agricultural professionals. The presentations focused on specific areas of interest as well as issues covering finance, marketing, current technologies and post-secondary education.
The students were encouraged to create Twitter accounts as part of their study of current technologies, and they used their Facebook pages as a form of communication, according to LSU AgCenter entomologist Natalie Hummel, who helped with the institute.
“We wanted these young people to understand that social media is now a part of life and can be beneficial in the agricultural industry,” she said.
This also was a way to teach them the importance of being professional as they use social media, Hummel said.
“In addition to the on campus activities, the group also attended field trips to area agricultural producers, distributors, retail stores and restaurants,” Leger said.
Major sponsors along with the LSU AgCenter are the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.