Spring 2011 Newsletter

Don Labonte, Carney, Jr., William A.  |  4/1/2011 8:52:31 PM

Biodiesel Workshop

October 2010 Biodiesel Workshop

 May 4 & May 11 Biodiesel Workshops FULL -- Now Registering for NEW Workshop May 18

The W.A. Callegari Environmental Center, LSU AgCenter is hosting a one-day comprehensive workshop on how to make your own biodiesel fuel from used vegetable oil on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

"This is an advanced workshop and different from the workshops we offered in the summer of 2008," said Dr. Bill Carney, LSU AgCenter environmental educator and director of the Callegari Center.

The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m., with a break for lunch, Carney said.

"It will be very hands-on. We’ll actually make biodiesel during the workshop and demonstrate the three phases of the process – reaction, washing and drying. The participants will be trained on how to turn a waste product into quality biodiesel," Carney said.

In addition to learning the chemistry of making biodiesel, the class will see the different kinds of equipment required to make used vegetable oil into quality biodiesel. The equipment will be on display.

"People can make biodiesel in their backyards for as little as a $1,000 investment," Carney said. "Or, they can spend up to $10,000. The average is about $2,000-$3,000. But they shouldn’t invest in any equipment if they don’t have a reliable source of used vegetable oil."

Participants also will learn how to troubleshoot if they run into problems making their own biodiesel, Carney said.

Cost for the workshop is $50, and participation is limited to 15 people. To register, call Sondra Rodriguez at 225-578-6998. More information about the workshop is online at www.lsuagcenter.com/callegari, including directions to the Callegari Center, which is off Nicholson Drive south of the LSU campus.

Upcoming Master Farmer Trainings/Field Days

By Ernest Girouard

Master Farmer Phase I trainings are held each spring and fall, historically through distance education. The trainings have been taught from the Dean Lee Research Station in Alexandria and broadcast to several sites, including the Red River Research Station, Oak Grove, Scott Center in Winnsboro and Crowley.

June 2011: Phase I training

A Phase I Master Farmer Program Training will be held through distance learning in June 2011. The specific date and location will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Phase II – Master Farmer Program Field Day Schedule

Field days and workshops that will count toward Phase II and Continuing Education Credits are listed below. Several do not have a date or time scheduled. Those will be posted as they become available. You may also contact the county agent in that parish for additional information or directions.

March 29 – High-density Grazing Workshop, (NRCS), Ruston, 9 a.m.
March 30 – High-density Grazing Workshop, (NRCS), Alexandria, 9 a.m.
March 31 – High-density Grazing Workshop, (NRCS), Breaux Bridge, 9 a.m.
April 1 – High-density Grazing Workshop, (NRCS), Hammond, 9 a.m.
April 9 – Iberia Cattle Field Day, Iberia Research Station, Jeanerette, 8 a.m.
May 5 – Rosepine Field Day, Rosepine, 8:30 a.m.
May 12 – Bob Gorman Farms, Bossier Parish (south)
May 17 – HPI Walk, Webster Parish (Minden)
May 24 – Randy Hernsberger Farm, Webster Parish (Sarepta), 4 p.m.
June 16 – Sensly Farms, Union Parish, Farmerville, 5:30 p.m.
June 28 – Northeast Research Station Field Day, St. Joe, 8 a.m.
June 30 – Rice Station Field Day, Crowley, 7:30 a.m.
July 5 – Vermilion Parish Rice Tour, Kent Lounsberry’s Farm, Lake Arthur
Vermilion Cattle Field Day – TBD
Cattle Field Day – W La. - TBD
Cattle Field Day – SW La. - TBD
Sugar Cane Field Day – Addis area - TBD
Soil Quality workshop – NRCS Area 1, Marlin Jordan - TBD
Soil Quality workshop – NRCS Area 2, Steve Cruse - TBD
Soil Quality workshop – NRCS Area 3, Randolph Joseph - TBD

Kaplan Man Named 2010 Outstanding Louisiana Master Farmer

Robert Joyner, Dr. Mike Strain, Kevin Norton, Bill Richardson

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Christian Richard, who farms 2,000 acres of rice, soybeans and crawfish in Kaplan, was named 2010 Outstanding Louisiana Master Farmer, and nine newly certified Master Farmers were recognized at the 65th annual meeting of the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts Jan. 13.

The newly certified Master Farmers are Shannon Daboval of Jefferson Davis Parish, Charles Fondren and Jamie Howington of Madison Parish, Gene Foster and Jeff Foster of Lincoln Parish, Algy Irvin and Mary Irvin of Lafourche Parish, Norwyn Johnson of Vernon Parish and Phillip Sneed Jr. of Sabine Parish.

The Louisiana Master Farmer Program is an environmental-education program designed to help farmers and ranchers identify and adopt best management practices.

Richard, who worked as an intern at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station in 2000, has a degree in agribusiness from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. He is a 2005 USA Rice Leadership Development class graduate and was in the LSU AgCenter Ag Leadership class.

His other activities include serving as president of the Louisiana Rice Growers, member of the board of the Vermilion Soil and Water Conservation District, on the executive committee of the Vermilion Farm Bureau Federation and assistant chief of the Indian Bayou Volunteer Fire Department. He also has been recognized as Vermilion Rotary Club Farmer of the Year and with the Vermilion Woodmen of the World Environmental Award.

He is in a program to test new tractor equipment and currently is working with an LSU agronomist on a test plot to study the effects of zinc.

The Louisiana Master Farmer Program, which got its start in 2001 as a way for farmers to learn up-to-date, research-based conservation practices in a comprehensive manner, is a partnership of the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

All together, 124 farmers have earned Master Farmer status, which means they have not only learned the latest in conservation practices but also are implementing them on their farms, said Ernest Girouard, LSU AgCenter coordinator of the Master Farmer Program.

To become a Master Farmer, participants must successfully complete the program’s three phases. The first involves classroom instruction on such topics as pesticides, nutrient management, hypoxia and nonpoint-source pollution. The second phase includes tours and field days at model farms that already have implemented some of the practices that Master Farmers are to duplicate.

In the third phase, the farmer must put together a conservation plan and timetable for implementation of best management practices. The farmer does this in cooperation with the NRCS in Louisiana.

All phases of the program are voluntary, and the farmer determines the length of time to complete each phase, Girouard said.

Contact: Ernest Girouard at 337-788-7547 or e-mail

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or e-mail

Upcoming Pesticide Certification/Recertification Conferences

By Karen Nix

May 19, 2011
Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Training
Lafayette Parish County Agent’s Office:
1010 Lafayette Street, Suite 32, Lafayette, LA, 70501
For more information call Stan Dutile at (337) 291-7090
Registration will begin at 2:30 p.m.; Program begins at 3 p.m.; Testing begins at 6 p.m.

October 5-6, 2011
Category 3: Ornamental and Turf
Holiday Inn Holidome
Lafayette, La.
Recertification and Certification
For more information visit www.lpca.org

November 16-17, 2011
Category 3: Ornamental and Turf
Doubletree Airport Hotel (formerly the Radisson)
Kenner, La.
Recertification and Certification
For more information visit www.lpca.org

NPDES Update

By Karen Nix

On Thursday, April 1, 2011, the House passed HR872, the Reducing Regulator Burdens Act of 2011 by a bipartisan vote of 292-130. This legislation would overturn the decision made by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that will require permits under the Clean Water Act for pesticide applications made to or near water even if the pesticides have been approved for such use under FIFRA. The House forwarded HR872 to the Senate. It was received in the Senate and introduced as S718. S718 is "A bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to improve the use of certain registered pesticides."

S718 is now the needed Senate companion bill to the passed HR872 in the House. Hopefully, S718 will pass in the Senate as the second step and then be forwarded to the President for his signature as the third step to overturn the January 2009 Sixth Circuit Court decision in National Cotton Council vs. EPA.

In a separate episode, the Sixth Circuit Court granted an extension of the deadline for when an NPDES permit will be required. The deadline was April 9, 2011, but is now Oct. 31, 2011. Thus, NO Clean Water Act NPDES permit will be required until Oct. 31. And IF the Reducing Regulator Burdens Act of 2011 becomes law, no NPDES will be required after Oct. 31.

Soil Fumigants

By Karen Nix

For soil fumigant uses of metam sodium/potassium and dazomet, which all generate the compound MITC, the REDs required, among other things, that labels include language requiring air-monitoring devices for MITC concentrations. This monitoring is required when persons in the field experience sensory irritation. New labels with this requirement became effective at the beginning of 2011.

However, the appropriate air-monitoring devices are not currently available to customers due to supply issues with the manufacturers. The EPA has been in contact with the manufacturers, and they have assured them the devices will be available in June.

The EPA’s soil fumigant website has been updated with guidance for applicators and inspectors on how to deal with these situations. This information can be accessed by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency's website.

Integrated Pest Management Online Training

By Karen Nix

The University of Minnesota is offering a variety of online IPM training modules for individuals needing practical IPM information to implement into their day-to-day pest management decisions. The target audiences for these trainings include (but are not limited to) employees of federal agencies such as the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the General Services Administration, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency. Additional audiences include: state/local government officials tasked with IPM, extension educators, Master Gardeners, 4-H staff, crop consultants, pest management professionals and a wide array of green industry professionals. More information on the training can be obtained by visiting the University of Minnesota's website.

Collaborations to Develop and Support Louisiana’s Coastal Non-Point Pollution Control Program

By Brian LeBlanc

W.A. Callegari associate professor Brian LeBlanc has been actively engaged with state agencies such as the Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources (LDNR) in the development of pollution-control practices and the development of educational resources to address the Coastal Non-Point Pollution Control Program (CNPCP) required in the Congressional 6217 CZ Reauthorization Amendments. This program in Louisiana is voluntary and is developed and implemented by both DNR (lead agency) and DEQ with oversight from both U.S. NOAA and U.S. EPA. In the recent past he developed for these same state agencies the voluntary Louisiana Clean Marina Program and continues to assist these agencies with implementation and certification.Earlier this year it became apparent that both DNR and DEQ required considerable assistance for their Coastal Non-Point Control draft plan in order to move from conditional approval to full approval (full approval helps ensure pollution control stays voluntary, especially related to agricultural practices in the coastal zone). Dr. LeBlanc and his colleague, Dr. Ron Sheffield (Biological and Agricultural Engineering), led and developed, with the appropriate agricultural specialist, a series of 10 environmental management practices manuals that address potential pollution issues, solutions, and economic and environmental benefits for various commodities cultured in Louisiana (poultry, crawfish, other aquaculture, beef cattle, dairy operations, swine, sugarcane, rice, agronomic crops and sweet potatoes). Karen Nix, the LSU AgCenter’s pesticide safety educational coordinator at the W.A. Callegari Environmental Center, is the author of the pesticide sections of all 10 manuals.

As of this writing, two manuals, Dairy and Poultry, are posted on the LSU AgCenter’s public website. Crawfish and General Aquaculture are in AgCenter Communications for design layout and web posting. Swine, Sugarcane and Rice were recently sent to NRCS for technical review. Beef, Agronomic Crops and Sweet Potatoes drafts are completed and pending NRCS technical review before being sent to Communications for design layout. These manuals, available to anyone on the Web, are also used as teaching curriculum at agricultural extension activities such as the Master Farmer Program, routine field days and commodity meetings to reach farmers and land managers.

This significant undertaking by the Callegari staff, and past collaborations with our state regulatory agencies, prompted the administrator of the coastal nonpoint program, Gregory Ducote, LDNR, to write the following in a recent email to the authors and administrators: “Thank you. I cannot express our gratitude strongly enough for the important and relevant work y’all are doing. It is fundamental to our CNPCP, and without it our program would not pass muster.”

Nitrates and Nitrites in Surface and Drinking Water

Drinking Water

By Shelly Martin 

Nitrates and nitrites are chemical compounds made up of nitrogen and oxygen and are found naturally in the environment. Nitrogen is a necessary element for plant life, and as such, it is commonly found in chemical fertilizers as nitrate. Nitrogen is also found as ammonia in wastewater and animal manure and is often converted to nitrate via a nitrite intermediate through a process called nitrification. Nitrate is highly soluble and easily washed from farmland into nearby water bodies.

A balance of nutrients is very important in surface waters such as ponds and lakes. Even in nonpolluted waters, nitrates and nitrites are playing their part in the nitrogen cycle. Ammonia is produced as a waste product from marine life and is also released when microorganisms decompose organic matter. By way of the nitrification process, the ammonia combines with oxygen (known as oxidation) to form nitrites, which can further oxidize to form nitrates. Due to the depletion of otherwise-available dissolved oxygen during this process, an excess of ammonia and nitrite is detrimental to fish and other marine life. In comparison, nitrate in itself is less harmful. However, while beneficial to the plants and algae as a nitrogen source, an overabundance of nitrates can also have an adverse effect. An algal bloom can form, causing a drop in oxygen as well as a reduction in the amount of sunlight that can reach other plants. Thus, an elevation of nitrogenous nutrients like nitrates and nitrites from both nonpoint sources, such as runoff from a nearby farm, and point sources, such as discharge from a sewage treatment plant, can wreak havoc on the ecology of the water system.

Nitrates and nitrites can also be an issue for drinking water via ground water contamination by agricultural fertilizers, livestock waste and leaching from septic systems and sewage. Saliva reduces nitrate to nitrite in the human body, which can subsequently oxidize hemoglobin and cause an insufficient amount of oxygen in the blood. Nitrite is especially dangerous to infants under six months of age and can result in blue baby syndrome or death if left untreated. The EPA has set the drinking water maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate and nitrite at 10 mg/L and 1 mg/L respectively. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange are proven methods for lowering nitrate and nitrite levels in drinking water.

The Water Quality Laboratory of the W.A. Callegari Environmental Center is able to test water samples for anions, including nitrate and nitrite, at a charge of $15 per sample. For more information about this and other analyses performed at the Water Quality Lab, please give us a call at 225-765-5155 or visit W.A. Callegari's website.

W.A. Callegari
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