To receive a notification through the Remind text messaging system when a Tangi-Washington Grower Update is posted, please contact Mary Helen Ferguson.
Below are a few last updates before the end of the year. Please see below for information about events coming up in January and resources available to you.
Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!
Please contact me by Wednesday, January 19, if you want to order sweet potato “seed” from the AgCenter’s Foundation Seed Program. (If you’re in parish other than Tangipahoa or Washington, please contact the agent in your parish.) Varieties Beauregard (B-63 or B-14) and Evangeline are available for $18.50 per 40 pound box, while Bayou Belle and Orleans are offered at $25 per box. Bellevue, Bonita, Burgundy, Jewel, Murasaki, O’Henry, Porto Rico, and Texas Porto Rico are also available at $25 per box, but only small quantities are available. Commercial growers needing large quantities of seed can purchase 25-box bins of Beauregard, Evangeline, Bayou Belle, Bellevue, or Orleans roots for $412.50, plus the cost of the bin. A licensing fee of $500 for up to 250 acres of production is charged for the patented varieties Bellevue, Bayou Belle, and Orleans, but those who will be growing less than one acre of sweet potatoes are exempt from this fee.
Variety descriptions are available here.
Growers who raise sweet potatoes to sell are required to have a Sweet Potato Dealer’s Permit from the Louisiana Dept. of Ag. and Forestry. Here in Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, we are in the “pink tag” area, since we are within the area quarantined for the sweetpotato weevil.
Attendees at the Dec. 7 meeting voted to incorporate a new non-profit association for the purposes of hosting a watermelon festival and engaging in other activities that support local fruit and vegetable growers. The group plans to elect officers at the Tuesday, Jan. 4 meeting (6:00 PM), at the Franklinton Town Hall (301 11th Avenue).
The 2022 Watermelon Education Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 27, at 6:00 PM, at the AgCenter’s Washington Parish office (1104-B Bene St., Franklinton). Speakers will address weed management, fertilizer recommendations, and disease and insect management updates. Please RSVP if you plan to attend. For accommodations for persons with disabilities, please contact me at least one week before the event.
Dr. Eric Stafne of Mississippi State University has announced that one workshop will be held online, from 2-4 PM on Jan. 27, and that a date for an in-person event in Hattiesburg will be announced. Information about topics that will be covered can be found in the Oct.-Dec. 2021 Mississippi Vaccinium Journal. To get Mississippi Vaccinium Journal emails, contact Dr. Stafne. Archives of the newsletter can be found here.
My expertise is certainly more on the production side of horticulture than the business side, so I like to make people aware of business resources that others provide. Below are a few.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Centers in Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes house Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices. The FSA provides agricultural loans and other business-related assistance to farmers. Click here to find contact information for your local USDA Service Center.
USDA has announced a partnership with the US Small Business Administration and SCORE (formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives) to provide mentors for farmers. Click here for more information about getting or becoming a mentor.
USDA resources specifically for beginning farmers can be found here.
The local office of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center is housed at Southeastern Louisiana University. They offer individual counseling and group events and have worked with prospective horticultural crop growers in our area.
The National Women in Agriculture Association (NWIAA) offers educational resources, including the virtual Third Thursday Farmers’ Resource Workshops. Workshops are scheduled monthly from January through May of 2022.
The 2022 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be held on Jan. 6-9 in Savannah, GA.
The North American Strawberry Growers Association 2022 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held on Jan. 16-19 in Nashville, TN.
Contact Mary Helen Ferguson, Ph.D.
The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.