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Archive for February, 2010

Last night my husband and I had the pleasure of attending the 13th Annual Louisiana Farmer of the Year Banquet.  This event was held at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, La.  The banquet is co-sponsored by the LA Agri-News Network, LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The honor of Louisiana Farmer of the Year is a high honor, which was recently bestowed on one of our rice farmers – Mr. Richard Fontenot (2008) – from Ville Platte, Louisiana.  Last night, as I rushed in out of the rain, I was greeted by Adam Berkin, the son of Jeff-Davis Parish rice farmer Kevin Berkin.  Kevin was one of three finalist for the farmer of the year award.  The other two finalists were Larry Fontenot, a sweet potato farmer from Ville Platte and William Stutts, a grain farmer from West Carroll Parish.

After comments from Commissioner Strain, Chancellor Richardson, and a warm welcome from the LA Agri-News Network, we were introduced to the featured speaker – Mr. Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Bob Stallman is a rice and cattle producer who hails from Columbus, Texas.  Bob had done his research on the importance of agriculture to the economy of Louisiana.  He made some interesting comments about the origins of commercial rice production, which began in southwest Louisiana.  Seaman Knapp, USDA Scientist, was the first to introduce rice production to this part of the US.  Land was secured and farmers were recruited from the northern climes of America.  Many of those currently farming in southwest Louisiana have a heritage that goes back to this original group of farmers.  Knapp’s vision for demonstrating farming practices on producer land, lead to the concept of the Cooperative Extension Service.  Knapp also created the “corn clubs” which eventually developed into the 4-H program.  Next time you are on the Baton Rouge Campus, you might want to stop by and visit Knapp Hall – which was named after the Father of the Extension Service.  Knapp was also memorialized by the Knapp Arch at the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.  During my first visit to DC, I came out of the subway stop and the first thing I saw was the Knapp Arch.  It really is a deserving memorial for a visionary man.

Mr. Stallman also talked about the possible impact of cap and trade legislation on American Farmers.  He told us about a campaign that is currently underway.  Farmers are being encouraged to take a farming ball cap (preferably a clean one), sign their name on the cap, and deliver it to their local legislature with the message “don’t cap our future”.  It’s an interesting campaign that is having an impact.  Bob also talked about the importance of farmers communicating with the public about the value of agriculture in America – he mentioned the AFBF Facebook fan page, of which I am a “fan”.  Using this social media, they are reaching a new audience.  If you are on facebook, you may want to visit the site, which posts important announcements about policy impacting agricultural production.

The evening climaxed with the announcement of the winner, Mr. Stutts was announced as the Louisiana Farmer of the Year.  My heartfelt congratulations go out to Mr. Stutts, and the other nominees for farmer of the year.  They are all great men, who have made significant contributions to agricultural production in Louisiana.  All of these men were joined by their families and children, who are proudly following in their footsteps.

During concluding remarks, Don Molino, reminded us that “if you ate today, thank a farmer”.  That’s a great message to share with the general public.

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I want to clarify that the training on Monday, March 1 will be held at the LSU AgCenter Acadia Parish office.  For directions to the office, you can see the following links:

Directions to Acadia Parish office from I-10 East

Directions to Acadia Parish office from I-10 West

The following distance ed sites will be available to view the advanced rice entomology training on Monday, March 1, 2010.  I would encourage you to attend the training in person if at all possible.  The training will be catered to the in-person audience and we will not be taking questions from the distance audience, or stopping the presentations if the video-feed is lost at a remote site. We will be on a tight schedule.  The presentations will also be video-recorded and posted at a later date.

LSU AgCenter offices at the following locations are reserved for 8:30 am to 1 pm on Monday, Mar 1, 2010:

Acadia Auditorium (host)-confirmed
Calcasieu-confirmed
Dean Lee 2-confirmed
Hammond-confirmed
Knapp 102-confirmed
Red River-confirmed
Terrebonne-confirmed
W. Carroll-confirmed
Winnsboro-confirmed

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It's just about time to plant, but here is one more training opportunity before the wheels start rolling for the season.

Preparations are complete for the advanced rice entomology training at the Acadia Parish Extension office on Monday, March 1, 2010.  Please click on the following link to download the presentation:

advanced-entomology-training-handout

You are encouraged to print out and bring a copy of this presentation to make it easier to take notes during the training.

Just a brief recap of the agenda for Monday.

Location: Acadia Parish Office (click here for a google map)

157 Cherokee Drive
Crowley, LA 70526-3170
(337) 788-8821

Date: Monday, March 1, 2010

Time: 8:30 am kick-off with introductions

Concludes at 12:30 pm with a lunch graciously provided by our sponsors:

–Toby McCown  (Dupont)
–Henry Stefanski (FMC)
–Josh Zaunbrecher (Syngenta)

There will also be a door prize for the person who has the highest score on the post-test.

I look forward to seeing y’all on Monday.

Shoot me an e-mail if you have trouble downloading the file: nhummel@agcenter.lsu.edu

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The LSU AgCenter is fortunate to have a very positive working relationship with the LDAF.  I want to make sure you are aware of these outreach sessions that will be attended by Commissioner Mike Strain.  Below is an announcement from LDAF.

In March 2010, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) will host nine outreach sessions throughout Louisiana.  The sessions are designed to inform the agricultural community, decision-makers and the general public about LDAF’s mission and responsibilities.

The LDAF staff would like to meet you and hear your comments, questions and concerns. Based on your input, LDAF will be able to address pressing needs regarding agriculture and rural economic development in ways that will be beneficial for everyone.

LDAF offices that will be represented at the sessions are:

  • Forestry
  • Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
  • Agro-Consumer Services
  • Animal Health & Food Safety
  • Soil & Water Conservation
  • Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority
  • International Trade (Southern United States Trade Association)

Commissioner Mike Strain will attend each of the sessions.  Local elected officials have been invited to attend the outreach sessions to learn more about the concerns of the agricultural community how they may play a role in helping meet those needs.

The outreach sessions will be held at nine different locations throughout the state:

  • Monday, March 1                  LDAF Monroe District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 3           LDAF Haughton District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 8                  Welsh Community Center, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 10         Peltier Park, Thibodaux, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 15                Louisiana Emergency Shelter, Alexandria, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 16                LDAF Hammond District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 17         Opelousas Civic Center/LDAF District Office, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 18              East Jefferson Library, Metairie, 6-8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 19                    LDAF Baton Rouge Office – Ag Day, 2-4:00 p.m.

The LDAF wants to meet you and hear your thoughts and comments.  Mark your calendars with the upcoming dates so you will not miss this opportunity!  For more information, visit us on Facebook or www.ldaf.state.la.us or call Dr. Carrie Castille at 225-922-1234.

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Sunrise over the beach in Biloxi, MS

 

This week, I’m at the 33rd annual meeting of the Rice technical working group (RTWG) in Biloxi, MS.  This meeting is a joining of all the rice research/extension faculty from across the US – and many from other countries – that occurs every two years.  For many of us research and extension folks, it’s a reunion and a chance to compare notes on what we have seen in rice fields across the U.S.  There are also a number of rice farmers and consultants at the meeting.  I met some growers from Texas who said that they started coming to this meeting because they learned about new technology one and a half years before it became common knowledge.  This gives them an edge in their production practices. 

Today, I enjoyed the presentations in the CCA training that was held before the opening reception of the meeting.  One of the presentations was about rice insect management practices.  Dr. Gus Lorenz (University of Arkansas) and Dr. Mo Way (Texas AgriLife) were the featured speakers on this topic.  They gave excellent presentations about rice insects management options – focusing on the new seed treatments that are now available to many producers in the south (CruiserMAXX and Dermacor X-100).  

Mo presented some interesting data on the effect of the Dermacor X-100 seed treatment on borer control in the ratoon crop.  He has found that Dermacor applied to rice that is seeded for first crop, also provides some level of control in second crop (this is measured by taking whitehead counts in test plots).  This is an interesting observation – especially as the borer complex becomes more important across the southern rice belt. 

Gus Lorenz reported on his evaluation of seed treatments to control colaspis and rice water weevil in Arkansas.  Both products provide good control of rice water weevil, but Cruiser provides much better control of colaspis.  Gus had some useful recommendations for those of you that are debating if seed treatments are worth the up-front investment of your money.  Under the following conditions he would recommend seed treatments: 

  1. High value seed with low seeding rates
  2. Less than optimum planting conditions (extremely early planting date, no till, margin seed quality)
  3. Known problem fields (history of rice water weevil or colaspis infestation)
  4. Varieties with poor seedling vigor

These are some good things to consider when making your seed treatment decisions.  Contact me if you have any questions about the new seed treatments. 

I am preparing two presentations for Wednesday during the plant protection panel.  I will talk about the results of the rice water weevil demonstration in 2008 and 2009.  I will also present a paper on the detection of colaspis in Louisiana in 2009 field season.  My associate, Anna Meszaros, is also presenting a poster on the results of the 2008 Louisiana rice insects survey.  Thanks to all of you who took the time to complete this survey.  The results have received considerable interest from the industry.  I’ll keep you posted on any other new research that I learn about at this meeting.

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EPA has granted the Section 3 registration for Dermacor X-100 in rice. State labels for LA and MS are in the final approval process.  I will distribute the label when it is completed.

Dermacor X-100 will be evaluated in side-by-side comparisons with CruiserMAXX, pyrethroid and an untreated check in at least 5 commercial farm demonstration during the 2010 field season.  I am ironing out final details with cooperators.  I will send around field maps and treatment descriptions for each location when the fields are planted in the next two months.

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I am not sure if you have heard discussion about the new EPA, “Draft Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Pesticide Drift Labeling”.  If this policy is enacted, it may drastically change the way we manage insects in rice production.  The EPA has requested comments on three documents: (1) Pesticide Registration Notice (PRN) Draft Pesticide Drift Labeling; (2) Draft Pesticide Drift Labeling Interpretation (Labeling Interpretation); and (3) Draft PRN Additional Information and Questions for Commenters.  If you would like to comment on this policy you can click this hotlink to access the EPA docket and the Comment area.

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