Ouachita Parish Profile 2016-2017

Jill H. Guiterrez  |  2/7/2017 7:45:05 PM

Program Highlights

Family, Nutrition and Health

According to the 2016 Community Health Assessment conducted by P & S Surgical Hospital, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are a major concern for the people of Ouachita Parish and the surrounding region and are a contributing factor to other concerns such as diabetes, heart attack/stroke and healthy eating. In order to promote healthy communities and lifestyles, the LSU AgCenter is conducting nutrition education through the use of: series of classes, special events, partnerships with the Healthy Community Coalition along with other agencies/organizations, and an extensive social marketing campaign. In addition, parents are gaining positive parenting skills through participation in the Healthy Beginnings for your baby program. Data from program evaluations indicates that participants are making healthy changes and changing knowledge and attitudes related to health and nutrition.

4-H Youth Development

Ouachita 4-H has kicked off another year of shooting sports. This is the fastest growing program 4-H has in the state. Ouachita has over 100 participants for this 2016-17 school year. Thirty volunteers have been trained to work with these 4-H’ers in shotgun, rifle, pistol, and archery. Youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more. The activities of the program and the support of caring adult leaders provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, self-worth, and conservation ethics.

Ouachita 4-H’ers participate in Chef Apprentice, a monthly workshop, that the 4-H’ers have the opportunity to learn basic nutrition and cutlery skills. 4-H’ers learn the skills of reading a recipe, to using a knife safely and correctly, food safety, kitchen safety, and measuring ingredients correctly. Cooking is a lifelong skill that every young adult should learn. Ouachita has an average of twenty 4-H’ers to participate on a monthly basis. The 4-H Agent hopes to empower youth to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle and cooking habits.

2016-2017 school year has kicked off with over 1,300 4-H members. The 4-H club educational program is focusing on healthy lifestyles. Physical wellness and nutrition are important at every age, including teenage years where youth learn physical health habits that they often carry into adulthood. The educational programs are carried out through club meetings, after school workshops, and enrichment programs.

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Educating the public on Agriculture and its role in their lives has always been a major goal of the LSU AgCenter. Ag Expo is conducted annually and is a strategic outlet for informing people about where their food comes from and the importance of Agriculture to Ouachita Parish and Northeast Louisiana. Ag Alley 2017 featured educational displays on sweet potatoes, mini-farm and gardening/bees. A demonstration combine and corn exhibit were also featured with over 11,000 people viewing the Ag Alley exhibits. Over 1,500 1st and 4th graders were presented lessons on each of the alleys and given hands on learning opportunities. On farm demonstrations featuring corn, soybeans, irrigation water and nematodes were conducted to educate producers on the latest research. These demonstrations are a valuable part of the overall educational process to help producers be better farm managers and be more efficient in their operations.

In Horticulture, thirteen gardening presentations were given throughout 2016, while 48 articles were published in The News-Star.The weekly television spot was moved from Wednesday mornings on KNOE to Tuesday afternoons on KARD Fox 14 as part of the Louisiana Living program.Fox 14 broadcasts to 177,000 homes in the Ark-La-Miss.In early 2016, a “how-to” video on pruning crepe myrtles was produced that has been viewed over 759,000 times via the Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners Facebook page, which has 3,159 likes.A spring and fall Master Gardener course was taught in 2016 and over 3,000 volunteer hours were recorded for the year.Ongoing Master Gardener projects include maintaining beds at Chennault Aviation Museum, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, and the West Monroe Farmer’s Market.

Local Issues & Plans for this year.

1. Promote healthy communities to improve health outcomes among youth and adults.

  • Education on physical fitness for families.
  • Educating young children on healthy eating.
  • Nutrition programs for chronic disease prevention.

2. Education for youth on the importance of making healthful food choices.

  • Promotion of school gardening and afterschool programming and activities.
  • Increase awareness in the importance of staying active and fit.
  • Increase knowledge on lifestyle changes to promote healthy lifestyles.

3. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.

  • Evaluate soybean varieties for resistance to root-knot nematodes.
  • Variety demonstrations on corn, soybeans and cotton to be continued.
  • Research to continue on irrigation for corn and soybean.
  • Recruit guest speakers at quarterly cattlemen’s meetings.
  • Enhance communication between local growers and markets.
  • Promote the establishment of new growers.

The goal of the Ouachita Parish office of the LSU AgCenter is to inform and educate youth and adults about Agriculture, Nutrition and Youth Development to improve their lives using research based information.

Who we reach.

  • Youth - 30,792 (includes 1,311 4-H members & 21 school 4-H clubs)
  • Adults - 27,227

How we reach them:

  • 4-H Clubs
  • Class Series
  • Demonstrations
  • Field Days
  • News Articles
  • Publications
  • School/Community Gardens
  • School Enrichment
  • Social Media
  • Special Events/Fairs
  • Television
  • Website
  • Workshops

Expanding our efforts: 151 Volunteers

Parish Facts

LSU AgCenter County Agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to Ouachita Parish clientele. The 2015 total dollar amount from these commodities were:

  • Plant enterprises- $52,486,142
  • Aquaculture and wildlife - $5,420,417
  • Animal enterprises- $31,016,659

*The above data from Louisiana Ag Summary.

  • Population - 156,761
  • Land area (square miles) - 610.41
  • Persons under 18 years old -25.5%
  • Persons 65 years old and over - 13.7%
  • Median household income - $37,754
  • Persons below poverty - 23.0%

*The above data from United Census Bureau.

Local Funding

  • Ouachita Parish Police Jury
  • Ouachita Parish School Board
  • Monroe City School System
  • City of West Monroe
  • City of Monroe

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Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture