Program HighlightsAgriculture and Natural Resources
St. Martin Parish agriculture is very diversified. Several major crops are grown in the par-ish, including sugarcane, rice, soybeans, grain sorghum and wheat, with a total economic value of $47 million. Other major commodities include livestock and aquaculture (crawfish), which contributes an additional $29 million. In the past few years, educational program emphasis has been on Best Management Practices for all commodities and the Master Farmer program. These programs have been accomplished through commodity meetings, model farm field days, recycling programs and sugarcane field days.4-H Youth Development
The 4-H Youth Development program is a community of young people across the parish learning leadership, citizenship and life skills in a safe environment. The outdoor skills program in St. Martin Parish has grown significantly, with more than 750 youth participating since 2005. Not only does the pro-gram involve youth participants, but it is also run by more than 30 adult volunteer coaches. Our outdoor skills program teaches safety and best practices in the areas of archery, BB gun, small bore .22 rifle, shotgun, air rifle and air pistol, while allowing participants to showcase their skills through competition. Our program teaches participants safe and respectable use of these firearms, which leads to an increase the understanding of safe practices, which benefit other community members, making our community safer and developing concerned, engaged adults.Family and Consumer Sciences
Nutrition, obesity and healthy living are important issues in St. Martin Parish. The Family and Consumer Science agent conducts a comprehensive nutrition education and physical activity program in our par-ish schools. The objectives are to increase children's’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of nutrition and physical activity and increase their fruit and vegetable intake. Through the “Smart Bodies” program, we integrate classroom activities with hands-on learning utilizing three components: 1) Body Walk 2) OrganWise Guys and 3) Take 10! During the last three years, more than 1,300 youth in St. Martin Parish have benefited from this program. Impor-tant family development, parenting and family resource management education is also pro-vided via radio, newspapers and through local programming.
Who we reach:
42,875 Youth (includes 1,058 4-H members, 36 school 4-H clubs, one community club and three special interest clubs)
5,443 Adults (includes 5,300 Ag and Natural Resources and 143 Family and Consumer Sciences)
How we reach them:
4-H clubs, Class series, School enrichment, Demonstrations, Field days, Workshops, Newsletters, Websites, Publications, and Social media.
Expanding our efforts:
300 Volunteers - 4-H, Master Gardeners, Family and Community, Master Horsemen, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
LSU AgCenter county agents provide re-search-based information on plant, aquacul-ture, wildlife and animal enterprises to St. Martin Parish clientele. The 2010 total dol-lar amount from these commodities was: —Plant enterprises - $47,782,769
- Aquaculture and wildlife - $29,302,412
- Animal enterprises - $12,522,375 Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary Website: LSUAgCenter.com/agsummary
Population - 52,217
Land area (square miles) - 739.85 Persons under 18 years old - 26.7%
Persons 65 years old and over - 10.9%
Median household income - $37,779
Persons below poverty - 19.5%
Local Issues and Plans for this year1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana agriculture.
2. Promote the wise use of natural resources and protection of the environment through:
- Conduct Sugarcane Field Day
- Commodity Meetings: rice, soybeans, crawfish
- Write news column and Web page content and conduct seminars on agriculture practices
- Conduct farm and home educational visits
- Hold yearly pesticide recertification classes
3. Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth development.
- Acorns of Hope coastal tree plantings
- Tire recycling program
- Master Farmer meetings and field days
- Youth Wetlands program
4. Strengthen families and communities through:
- Develop and implement service learning projects throughout the parish
- Conduct educational opportunities for youth through parish Junior Leader club
- Hold trainings for adult volunteers and continue to increase volunteers through recruitment efforts
- Continue community service projects among members.
- Provide opportunities for mentoring among high school 4-H members
- Foods and Nutrition Program that gives clients training on feeding their families nutritionally on a budget
- Workshops on disaster preparedness, grab-and-go boxes, storm cleanup, house cleaning and safety after a storm
- Money management programs teaching effective ways to reduce credit balances and re-strict spending habits