Agriculture & Natural Resources
Acadia Parish is the largest rice producing parish in the state. In 2011 Acadia grew 79,000 acres of rice. The county agent has developed a Rice and Soybean Advisory Committee which gives valuable input into the educational programs conducted in the parish. The advisory committee identified maximizing yields as a top priority to keep producers in busi-ness during these tough economic times. With the increase in production inputs, producers must maxi-mize yields to increase profitability. Extension programs such as field days and production meetings gives the producer the latest research and updated production practices. The producers also receive information on variety selection, environmental issues and marketing updates. Pesticide safety was also listed as a top priority at the advisory committee meetings. Two pesticide re-certifications were held where 120 producers and home gardeners learned pesticide safety, handling, disposal and renewed their private pesticide applicators card.
With Southwest Louisiana’s humid sub-tropical climate and rich soils, Acadia Parish residents are taking advantage of these opportunities to maximize all areas related to horticulture. The Acadia Parish LSU AgCenter recognizes the opportunity and the potential and have taken action by starting two school gar-dens which will serve as pilot programs for future Acadia Parish school gardens as well offer educational seminars to educate the public and also offer educational workshops that provide a hands-on approach to horticulture. In addition, the assistant extension agent has noticed a high demand for a Master Gardener Program for the parish and will be implementing the program in the summer of 2012 and is also currently assisting in beautification projects throughout Acadia Parish.
Family, Nutrition & Health
Approximately 35.6% of Louisiana children ages 10-17 years are considered overweight or obese accord-ing to BMI-for-age standards. Louisiana ranks 46th among the 50 states and D.C. in overall prevalence. Nutrition education programs based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are provided to a variety of clients throughout the parish, including elementary students, Head Start youth and parents, and the general public. A collaborative effort between ANR and FCS is currently taking place at two schools in Acadia Parish utilizing school gardens to en-hance academic achievement, a healthy lifestyle, environmental stewardship, and com-munity and social development. These gardens will serve as pilot projects with more planned for the future. Through a grant from the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund, the FCS program pro-vides infant appropriate books to limited resource parents of newborns in the parish. The goal is to help foster a love of reading in their children right from birth.
4-H Youth Development
Acadia Parish has 1,120 youth enrolled in 30 traditional 4-H clubs. The youth develop-ment program focuses on leadership development for youth and adults, volunteer manage-ment, and enriching the lives of these youth through age appropriate competitions, project workshops, community service-learning activities, livestock programs, overnight camps, outdoor skills training and identifying the knowledge, skills and competences essential to conducting 4-H youth development. Survey data indicates that 69% of youth in 10th grade enrolled in the program view themselves as a leader. Eighty-three percent of the youth indicated their leadership experi-ence came from the 4-H program. Ninety-seven percent of 8th grade 4-H members are willing to organ-ize an activity to protect or improve the environment. They also feel if they participate to help the environ-ment, the situation will improve.
7.500 - Youth (includes 1,120 4-H members & 30 school 4-H clubs; Youth Wetlands Week-866 youth; SmartBodies Program- 917 youth; Youth Volunteers- 60; Adult Volunteers—130)
17,500 - Adults 7,500 Ag & Natural Resources 8,000 Family Consumer Sciences
4-H Clubs, Workshops, Field Days, Websites, Newsletters, Radio Programs, Publications, Newspaper Articles, E-Mail Updates, Demonstrations, Television Programs, and Facebook
130 Volunteers - 4-H, Family & Community, Agriculture
LSU AgCenter County Agents provide research-based information on plant, aqua-culture, wildlife and animal enterprises to Acadia Parish clientele. The 2009 total dol-lar amount from these commodities were:
Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary Web site: LSUAgCenter.com/agsummary
Population - 60,070
Land area (square miles) - 655.28
Persons under 18 years old - 27.5%
Persons 65 years old and over - 12.6%
Median household income - $33,098
Persons below poverty - 23.5%
1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.
2. Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth develop-ment.
3. Strengthen families and communities