St. Mary Parish Profile

Program Highlights

Family & Consumer Sciences

Our goal is to improve health in St. Mary Parish by creating community-led and sustainable initiatives to reduce food insecurity and increase access to safe physical activity. This is addressed through comprehensive healthy living education and healthy communities' projects. The objectives are to have adult and youth increase their knowledge of nutrition and physical activity, understand the importance of time spent in physical activity and increase fruit and vegetable intake. The program strives to engage every sense in the learning process with hands-on activities and food tastings included in each series of lessons.

4-H Youth Development

Through non-formal, research based, experiential education activities, 4-H participants gain knowledge and life skills enabling them to become positive, productive, capable and compassionate members of their communities. Youth from most schools in St. Mary Parish participate in different activities during the school year. In the summer, many have the opportunity to attend state-wide events. 4-H is more than raising animals. 4-H provides different opportunities for everyone.

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Economic sustainability has been a major issue for both row crop agriculture and the seafood industry over the last few years. Even with recent storms and low commodity prices, the agriculture and seafood industries contributed a hefty $60 million dollars to the economy of St. Mary parish in 2020. Producers and LSU AgCenter researchers are addressing value-added alternatives that will help maintain the viability and productivity of the agricultural and seafood industries in St. Mary Parish. Environmental challenges such as clean air and water, as well as the continued erosion of coastal habitats, persist as areas of concern. The fisheries program is emphasizing the natural resources of the Atchafalaya River Basin and coastal and marine fisheries, particularly crab and shrimp, with a particular focus on the education of Anglo and Asian-American clientele for the purpose of leadership development to help sustain the natural resource base.

Who we reach through Ag & Natural Resources and Family Consumer Sciences, and 4-H:

  • 8,688 potential youth
  • 10,912 Adults

How we reach them:

  • 4-H clubs
  • Class series
  • School Enrichment
  • Demonstrations
  • Field days
  • Workshops
  • Newsletters
  • Media
  • Publications
  • Social media

Expanding our efforts:

200 Volunteers from 4-H, family and community

Parish Facts

LSU AgCenter County Agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to St. Mary Parish clientele. The 2020 total dollar amount from these commodities were:

  • Plant enterprises - $63,665,979
  • Aquaculture and wildlife - $7,077,529
  • Animal enterprises - $965,703
Additional data can be found on the Louisiana AgSummary website
  • Population - 47,789
  • Land area (square miles) - 555.84
  • Persons under 18 years old - 23.9%
  • Persons 65 years old and over - 18.1%
  • Median household income - $43,097
  • Persons below poverty - 22.9%

Local Issues & Plans for This Year:

Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana agriculture

  • Conduct educational programs such as Field days, Farm Safety Meetings, environmental programs (sugarcane burning certification, etc.), production meetings
  • Establish on farm field plot demonstrations that exhibit research-based information such as variety plots, weed, insect and disease controls, etc.
  • Provide newsletters and web page information on latest "Best Management Practices."
  • Conduct national as well as international educational trips in order to provide leadership and information opportunities for clientele
  • Conduct farm and home visits to local clientele to offer educational input

Promote the wide use of natural resources and protection of the environment

  • Continue youth educational programs for coastal issue management
  • Write and distribute fisheries-related educational newsletters and other related extension literature.

Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth development

  • Conduct educational programs to youth through club meetings
  • Continue community service-learning projects
  • Continue educational programs through contest days, workshops, livestock shows and camps
  • Continue character development and youth safety programs

Strengthen families and communities

  • Conduct nutrition programs that help create healthy communities by improving overall nutrition and increasing physical activity levels, in youth and adults, which will produce long-lasting behavior changes

How Is Extension Funded?

  • Federal funding from the USDA/ NIFA
  • State general funds from the Louisiana Legislature
  • Local support from parish government, including police juries and school boards
  • Self-generated funds

What Role Do You Play?

Our stakeholders at the parish level are the local supporters and beneficiaries of the LSU AgCenter cooperative extension programs. Their support keeps these critical programs in their communities.

Each Parish Offers Programming In:

  • 4-H and Youth Development
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Family and Consumer Sciences

For the latest research-based information on just about anything, visit our website:

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture