DeSoto Parish Agricultrue and Natural Resources Advisory Council

Members and guests present: Carey Martin, Joey Register, Dean Graner, Tom Usrey, Randy Fair, Bob Burford, Dave Means, Hall Burford, Jerry Holmes and Chuck Griffin

The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. Chuck Griffin, the county agent in DeSoto Parish, welcomed all the members present. Chuck said that the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Advisory Leadership Council provides an opportunity for people to express needs and desires, keep extension educational programs focused on existing problems, involve leadership of the people for whom the programs are intended, provide an educational experience for people who are involved and build public support for extension ANR programs.

Chuck Griffin gave an outline of some of the activities that were conducted last year in the different commodity groups.

Beef cattle – Conducted group meeting to make beef production in DeSoto Parish sustainable. Meetings included Managing for Cow Efficiency, using a GPS to spray weeds and distribute fertilizer, forage workshop and winter supplement feeding.

Dairy cattle – Made farm visits for somatic cell count problems and milking equipment checks. Conducted a forage workshop for dairy farmers

ForestryRicky Kilpatrick, LSU Agriculture Central Area forestry agent, has assisted me with many home call problems and forestry issues. Ricky also had his annual Northwest Louisiana Forestry Forum in Shreveport.

Poultry – The LSU Agriculture Center assisted with nutrient management plans by assisting with litter and soil samples.

Forages – Assist with forage and soil samples, variety recommendations, pesticide usage and harvesting methods. Also held a forage workshop on weed and brush identification and control, grass variety suggestions, planting clovers and how to harvest quality hay.

Small fruit and nuts – Received phone calls and conducted farm visits dealing with fertilizing and disease problems.

Lawns, gardens and other homeowner questions – Phone calls and home visits about fertilizing, insect and disease control.

DeSoto farmers market – Collaborated with Terri Baker with the DeSoto Business and Civic Association and Ms Bethany May to restart a farmers market in DeSoto Parish. Conducted several meetings with potential growers and had a farmers market open four Fridays in June 2010. The LSU AgCenter had information available about freezing and canning vegetables and using small raised gardens to produce vegetables. We had six growers that participated regularly at the DeSoto farmers market.

Chuck Griffin then asked the committee about programs that need to be continued or discontinued and any additional programs that needed to be added. The following are some of the suggestions form the Advisory Leadership Council:

1.Beef production – Consider conducting an area master cattle producer program. Continue to conduct quarterly cattleman meetings.

2.Dairy cattle – Continue home visits and conduct another annual forage meeting.

3.Forestry- Promote Ricky’s forestry forum.

4.Poultry – Continue to assist the local NRCS with developing nutrient management plans.

5. Forages – Continue current program.

6. Small fruit and nuts – Continue working with blueberry, peach and strawberry growers.

7. Lawns, gardens and other questions from homeowners -- Continue to answer questions.

8. Farmers market – We had a growers meeting on February 7, 2011, and will have a market open on Saturdays this year from May 7 - June 11, 2011,  from 7:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Chuck concluded the meeting by thanking all those that participated. He also informed the group that the minutes and members will be available on the DeSoto Parish Web Site. This information is available on the LSU AgCenter web site and through your parish office

The Next ANR Adviosry Leadership Council will be in April 2012.

4/8/2011 6:41:55 PM
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