Faces of Louisiana Agriculture

In Louisiana, agriculture is big business. The industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy, employs thousands of people and provides many opportunities for businesses that service the industry and market food and fiber products. Of the 28 million acres of land in the state, more than 8 million are in farmland and nearly 14 million, in forests. Eighty-five percent of Louisiana’s 30,000 farms are family-owned.

Meet some of Louisiana’s farmers and ranchers in these short videos. Learn about their dedication to the land and the environment. Learn more about the thriving business of Louisiana agriculture. If you have questions, feel free to contact any of Louisiana’s 64 parish extension offices.

Harper Armstrong, Morehouse Parish

Harper Armstrong has been farming in Louisiana for the past 47 years, continuing a tradition handed down to him by his father. He farms 2,500 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat in Morehouse Parish. He was recently selected as the Northeast Region Agricultural Producer of the Year and the 2013 Louisiana Farmer of the Year.

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Doanld Berken

Donald Berken has been farming for the past 40 years, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He says it's the only thing he ever wanted to to do. He farms 980 acres of rice and soybeans in Jefferson Davis Parish.

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Gerald Wood, St. James Parish

Gerald Wood has been farming all his life. He farms almost 6,500 acres of sugarcane and timber in St. James and Pointe Coupee parishes. He was a finalist in the 2013 Louisiana Farmer of the Year competition.

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Anthony Plattsmier, St. Landry Parish

Anthony Plattsmier farms approximately 500 acres of rice and soybeans in St. Landry Parish. He has participated in the LSU AgCenter's rice verification program along with his father, making them the first father-son participants. He enjoys growing rice, but he is attentive to market conditions, which led him to decrease his rice acreage and increase his soybean plantings.

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Bobby Morris, West Baton Rouge Parish

Bobby Morris is a fourth-generation farmer who grows sugarcane on nearly 1,500 acres. Morris's family grew grain crops when he was young but made the switch to sugarcane after they saw a better opportunity. He serves as a provide of seedcane for area farmers, and he sees farming as a great way to spend time with his family.

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Hank Rabb, Tensas Parish

Hank Rabb is a fourth-generation farmer who grows primarily corn and cotton and is experimenting with his first wheat crop. This St. Joseph resident grew more than 2,000 acres of corn in 2011, but he is most fond of seeing white bolls of cotton glistening under harvest moon. 

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Charles Staples, Ouachita Parish

Charles Staples has been milking dairy cows nearly every day of the week for the past 54 years. He rises every day at 1:30 a.m. to begin his day that involves milking approximately 100 head of Holstein dairy cows. And he has no plans to retire any time soon.

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Christian Richard, Vermilion Parish

Christian Richard, who farms 2,000 acres of rice, soybeans and crawfish in Kaplan, was named the 2010 Outstanding Louisiana Master Farmer. Bruce Schultz, communications specialist, joins him in his tractor cab as he’s planting rice to talk to him about farming and the latest technology he uses.

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Charles Gravois Sr., St. James Parish

For three generations, the Gravois family has worked the fields near Vacherie in St. James Parish producing sugarcane, cattle and soybeans. When it comes to cane, Gravois has just about seen it all. From the mule-powered cane carts to the modern cane combine, he has watched the Louisiana sugarcane industry become increasingly mechanized. Gravois was the 2011 Louisiana Farmer of the Year.

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Dennis Kieffer, Winn Parish

Dennis Kieffer is a cattle and hay producer and farm manager in Wheeling in Winn Parish. His company, Circle K Cattle, oversees both registered and commercial herds. He works intensely on ways to improve livestock production. He knows genetics play an important part in success, and he has adopted the latest technology. Kieffer was a finalist for 2011 Louisiana Farmer of the Year.

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3/3/2011 3:53:06 AM
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