Natchitoches Parish Profile 2015

Gwen Taylor Fontenot  |  3/3/2012 2:51:09 AM

Please click on the image above to view the PDF version of the 2013 Natchitoches Parish Profile.

Program Highlights

4-H Youth and Family Development
A total of 37.9% of adults report eating five or more servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day.* An innovative extension grant (Eat Well-Live Local) was awarded to Natchitoches parish to help consumers overcome barriers to healthy food choices by demonstrating healthy preparation of cool season vegetables, provide nutrition information, and educate participants about growing those vegetables in a home or community garden. School gardens have been established at three schools, educating over 500 youth about the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as teaching food safety.

A series of six nutrition education classes were conducted at First Baptist Church-Amulet and at the Boys and Girls Club. Adults focused on: reading food labels, portion sizes, smart shopping, food safety, and healthy food preparation. Youth learned about: reading food labels, the fat and sugar content in their typical fast food meal and how to achieve a healthier meal or snack through the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Natchitoches 4-H has over 400 youth members enrolled 11 schools clubs. Youth throughout the parish are actively engaged in project clubs (Livestock, Horse, and Shooting Sports) which encompass the “learn by doing” approach and are led by trained volunteers. The Jr. Leadership club, comprised of over 30 teens in grades 7th-12th, teaches the importance of service and civic engagement. They logged in over 150 volunteers hours helping others in the community, particularly non-profit organizations or those at their school. Each year over 125 Natchitoches 4-H members develop a sense of independence and learn valuable life skills at our regional and state overnight camping opportunities such as 4-H Summer Camp, 4-H University, Camp Roughin’ It, and Junior Leadership Conference. The parish is consistent with having representation by youth on State 4-H Leadership Boards (Citizenship, Fashion, Food and Fitness, Science, Engineering and Technology and Shooting Sports). Service learning programs have been conducted in the areas of environmental conservation, elder care and most recently cancer education and awareness. These programs have enhanced traditional classroom studies by providing meaningful service to our community.

Agriculture & Natural Resources
A major agriculture parish; farmers, ranchers, and home gardeners rely on the latest research based data to stay productive. More than 200 producers gained knowledge on worker protection, safety and pesticide application for agriculture use through the annual crop production meeting. The Natchitoches Parish Master Gardeners has over 30 active volunteers and continue to implement a variety of ornamental and gardening projects in the community as well as hosting their annual symposium.

Who we reach:

2,000 - Youth  700 - Adults, 600 Ag & Natural Resources, 100 Family Consumer Sciences

How we reach them:  

4-H clubs, Class series, School Enrichment, Demonstrations, Field days, Workshops, Newsletters, Web sites, Publications,  Social media, Farm and home visits

Expanding our efforts:

165 Volunteers - 4-H (adult and youth volunteers) Master Gardeners 

Parish Facts  

LSU AgCenter County Agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to Natchitoches Parish clientele. The 2010 total dollar amount from these commodities were:

  • Plant enterprises - $67,484,014
  • Aquaculture and wildlife - $4,096,014
  • Animal enterprises - $92,950,705

Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary Web site.
Population - 39,422
Land area (square miles) - 1252.25
Persons 65 years old and over - 13.8%
Median household income - $31,380
Persons below poverty - 28.4%
*US Census Bureau

Local Issues & Plans for this year:

1. In a safe and enriching environment, 4-H’ers will be taught everyday skills with hands-on learning and problem solving skills that can make a positive impact upon the community.  

  • Increase appropriate responsible behavior when using technology.
  • Establish effective, functioning project clubs for youth to gain project mastery skills.
  • Teens will give back to the community through various service learning projects.
  • Foster collaborations with local supporters and businesses which will enhance our 4-H program and volunteer base.

2. Empower individuals and families to identify and create alternative solutions to significant everyday challenges and take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.  

  • Expand health and nutrition efforts in order to help fight childhood obesity.
  • Promote the consumption and nutritional benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Provide the latest research based nutrition information to clientele of the parish through radio media, news articles, publications and programs.
  • Conduct parenting classes to teach proper parenting skills, child development, nutrition, financial management and goal setting to parents with children under one years of age.

3. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana agriculture.  

  • Hold annual livestock and crop production meetings.
  • Perform farm and home educational visits.

4. Promote the wise use of natural resources and environmental protection.  

  • Conduct private pesticide applicator’s re-certification classes.
  • Conduct worker protection standard classes to train agriculture employees.
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