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Story Archives: Local family hosts master farmer class
|Local family hosts master farmer class|
About 15 farmers were on hand last week for the only Louisiana Master Farmer field day and workshop scheduled in Franklin Parish this year. The event was hosted at the Wiggers farm.
The LSU AgCenter produces a series of continuing education classes and events leading to recognition of farming expertise. The events are intended for agricultural producers and industry personnel, according to Donna Morgan, who directs the Master Farmer program for the LSU AgCenter.
Earlier classes have been held at other farm sites throughout the state and the Wiggers' farm event was used to discuss row crops.
The half-day class, most of which was conducted in the field, included discussions of irrigation practices and conservation and tillage practices.
Rusty and Scott Wiggins operate the farm with Rusty telling those attending the family had converted to row crops in the 1970's."Initiated just over eight years ago, the Master Farmer program has grown and developed into one of the most widely known and successful environmental stewardship programs in the southern states," Morgan said. "Louisiana is the first and only state to offer this type of voluntary producer-certification program, and the support is evident in the growing number of producers enrolled."The program is a cooperative effort of the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Farm Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, she said.
As an example, LSU specialists Dr. Ron Sheffield and Dr. Don Boquet each gave brief presentations while in the Wiggers field with Dr. Mike Blazier, a LSU forestry researcher disucssed a coming generation of bio-fuels.
Steve Nipper and Jason Hardie of NRCS also addressed conservation issues.
Producers are required to complete three phases of the program and fulfill other necessary requirements, including eight hours of environmental instruction, attendance at a "model farm" or program field day where conservation-related topics are discussed and developing and implementing a comprehensive conservation plan on their entire farming operations, Morgan said."As of January 2009, 92 agricultural producers have completed these requirements and are certified," Morgan said. More than 2,500 producers are participating in the program.The remaining field days and workshops that will fulfill the Phase II requirement will be held on the following dates at the locations indicated:–July 22, Iberia-St. Mary-Vermilion Parish sugarcane tour at a location to be announced–August 20, LSU AgCenter's Dean Lee Research and Extension Station field day, Alexandria (row-crops)–October 1, LSU AgCenter's Hill Farm field day, Homer (cattle/forages)–Fall (TBA), Raymond Fontenot Farm, Abbeville (cattle)–Fall (TBA), Iberia Parish cattle field day, location to be announcedThese field days will also serve as continuing education credits for producers who already are certified, Morgan said.More information about these field days is available from Morgan at 318-613-9278 or firstname.lastname@example.org on the Internet at www.lsuagcenter.com/masterfarmer.