Archive for January, 2010

The 2010 Concordia Parish Crop Production Meeting & Pesticide Recertification will be held at the Monterey Baptist Church, Monterey, LA tomorrow, January 29, 2010.  The morning session will focus on soybeans.  I will be speaking during the afternoon rice production session.  My comments will focus on the results from the 2009 rice water weevil demonstration test, and also how to scout for colaspis in rice.  I hope to see many of you at the meeting.  During lunch I’ll meet with Dale Denais to discuss plans for the demonstration site at Angelina Plantation this season.

The program for the afternoon session is listed below.

1:15     Rice Weevil & Insect Control

Dr. Natalie Hummel, LSU AgCenter Rice Entomologist

1:35     Rice Fertility Recommendations

Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter

1:55     Rice Weed Control

Dr. Bill Williams, LSU AgCenter Weed Specialist

2:15     Rice Production Practices & Variety Recommendations

Dr. Johnny Saichuck, LSU AgCenter Rice Specialist

2:35     Adjourn

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I really enjoyed the joint meeting of the Louisiana Rice Council and Louisiana Rice Growers Association in Crowley, La last night.  The food, fellowship, and speakers were wonderful. 

Betsy Ward, President and CEO of the USA Rice Federation, www.usarice.com presented a summary of marketing efforts by the Louisiana Rice Federation.  It appears that the rice federation is taking an approach to marketing that is being used by many commodity groups now.  The focus is on the value of USA grown products.  Commercial spot-lights feature American rice farmers.  Potato growers are also taking this same approach.  Consumers are being educated once again that food comes from the earth and that the best, freshest foods are grown by American farmers.  The response to their marketing campaigns has been very positive.

Reece Langley, Vice President, Governmental Affairs, USA Rice Federation gave comments on many issues of concern to US rice producers.  I found his comments on the farm bill to be very interesting.  It seems like the 2010 farm bill was just passed, but plans are already under way to draft the 2012 farm bill.  Reece pointed out that more than 70% of farm bill spending goes to government food assistance programs.  In the big picture, the farm bill is 1/4 of 1% of the total federal budget.  This is equivalent to a minnow by comparison to a whale.  American food security is an issue that we all need to work to protect.   You can visit www.farmpolicyfacts.org for more information on the farm bill.

Reece also gave an update on the EPA 6th Circuit court of appeals ruling.  In case you are not aware of this – briefly, it relates to possible regulations regarding pesticide applications to all crops.  In particular, all pesticide applications may require a permit.  As you can imagine, this could have devastating impacts on agricultural production, particularly in the south, where delaying a pesticide application by a matter of days can result in complete loss of a crop.  Insects thrive in the south!  The latest word is that rice may be exempt from this ruling.

The keynote speaker was Jim Wiesemeyer, Vice President, Informa Economics – Washington Bureau.  He was an incredibly dynamic speaker with an intriguing topic “Obama and the Democrats – what they’ve done, what’s ahead”.  Jim starting out by informing the rice producers in the room that farming is a growth industry.  This is because protein is more and more in demand, especially in the growing economies of China and India.  American farmers are well-positioned to meet these needs.  Jim stated that this is the longest recession post world war II, but that we are not in a slow recovery.  The question now is can the US economy have a sustained recovery?  Comments about the federal deficit were alarming – the total debt is 1.4 trillion which is 9.9% of the US economy – a much higher level than any of us would prefer.  As we project to hear in the state of the union address tonight, discretionary spending will likely be frozen in the federal budget for the next three years.  Jim reminded us that there was a 24% in discretionary spending last year.  So, there may be some saving from this spending freeze, but the total amount in this budget category is still higher than in the past.  Politics is fascinating… 

There was also an in-depth disussion about cap & trade legislation, which is likely stalled until after this next round of elections.  The overwhelming consensus from all the speakers is that currently proposed actions would be damaging to US agricultural production.  One of the big components causing concern is the afforestation (returning cleared land to forests) of agricultural and pasture land.  If the policies about converting agricultural and pasture land into forest progress as indicated in the proposed cap & trade bill, then there could be a 25% reduction in US rice acreage by 2050.  This would not be good for anybody.

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This week I’ll be traveling out to southwest Louisiana for a couple of meetings.  Tuesday night is the annual Louisiana rice council and Louisiana rice growers association meeting at the International Rice Festival Building (717 W. Mill St. in Crowley, La).  The evening will begin at 5 pm.  I am looking forward to catching up with everyone at the meeting.  Also hope to learn more about economics from the keynote speaker, Jim Wiesemeyer, VP, Informa Economics, Washington Bureau.

After the meeting I’ll head to Lake Charles for the Louisiana Agricultural Aviation Annual Convention.  This meeting begins today and will run through lunch on Wednesday.  It’s being held at L’auberge du lac Casino in Lake Charles.  Wednesday morning I’ll give a presentation about the rice water weevil demonstration.

I hope your week is starting off well – the weather certainly is beautiful!

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2009 field meeting at Hoffpauir farm in Rayne, La.

This time of year I do a lot of traveling to line up cooperators for the rice water weevil demonstration test.  This test has been conducted for the last two field seasons.  To see the results from 2009 you can visit www.lsuagcenter.com.  It looks like we will have five locations again this year. 

Yesterday I met with Mr. Darryl Hoffpauir and Mr. Rustin Gilder to discuss the layout for the location in Rayne, La.  We will be in a series of cuts just north of the fields we used last year.  This year we will be comparing an untreated check to Dermacor seed treatment, Cruiser seed treatment, and Karate pre-flood followed by Mustang on fertilizer post-flood.  I’ll post field maps when the fields are planted.

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There is a lot of interest in the ag community to start using online technology to keep growers and industry reps up to date.  E-mail has become very popular, but with the development of new technology – like blogs – readers can comment and start a dialogue.  This blog is being prepared by Natalie Hummel, Ph.D. – LSU AgCenter Extension Entomologist.  I’ll use this blog to keep you informed about the Louisiana rice extension entomology program.  There is a lot going on – even during the off-season.  I’ll try to post updates every few days.  I might also talk about some of my related work in fruits and nuts.  Please provide feedback about what information is most useful to you.

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