[Image: master farmers]
News Release Distributed 01/10/14
LAFAYETTE, La. – The 2014 graduates of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program were recognized at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts recently (Jan. 9).
A total of 29 newly certified Master Farmers received their certifications at the event. That brings the total to 197 Master Farmers in Louisiana since the program began in 2001.
“You have created a masterpiece of conservation,” said Kevin Norton, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. “This is to acknowledge the great work you have done.”
Norton said the Master Farmer designation indicates these producers are responsible stewards of the environment.
The voluntary, incentive-based Master Farmer Program should help convince regulatory agencies that Louisiana producers are doing their best to maintain clean air, water and soil, he said.
The entire board of the Vermilion Parish Soil and Water Conservation District is now Master Farmers, and many NRCS employees have become certified, demonstrating that they recognize the significance of the program.
One NRCS employee, Larry Sayes, of Avoyelles Parish, was chosen as Outstanding Master Farmer after the new Master Farmers were recognized.
Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, said the Master Farmer partnership – the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Farm Bureau and the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association – will be important to address potential regulatory issues facing Louisiana agriculture. “It’s nice to work in a state where everyone is working on the same page.”
Mike Strain, LDAF commissioner, said Louisiana has led the nation by developing the Master Farmer Program. “Louisiana is truly a pioneer in this respect.”
The Master Rice Grower Program, developed with the Kellogg Co. to reward rice farmers for their conservation practices, could be expanded to other commodities, he said.
Strain was among the 29 individuals recognized for completing the requirements of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program.
Others recognized at the conference for becoming certified as Master Farmers included Anthony and Theresa Beaubouef, of Tangipahoa Parish; Cecil and Liz Brooking, of Concordia Parish; James Doles, of Morehouse Parish; James Regan Knight, of Washington Parish; Larry Marsh, of Madison Parish; Gwen Monday, of Bienville Parish; Ricky Womack, of Franklin Parish; Michael and Nicholas Talley, of Jefferson Davis Parish.
Other graduates included Dale and Joyce Profitt, and Walter Scott Reedy, of Washington Parish; Shane Milazzo and Pernell Livingston, of Lafayette Parish; and Thomas Michael Wall and James Fontenot, of Evangeline Parish.
Vermilion Parish Master Farmers who received certification were Richard Hardee, Christine and Leland Vidrine Jr., Robert Moss, Ross Morgan, Morgan Farms, Mary Marceaux and Michael Luquette.
Acadia Parish Master Farmers were James Hundley and Ricky Klumpp.Bruce Schultz