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La. Farm Bureau/Radio Network‏

December 12, 2013

Drought Declaration For Northeast Louisiana

Wednesday, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., received notice from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 21 Louisiana parishes and seven contiguous parishes are now designated natural disaster areas as a result of the drought.

Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, De Soto, East Carroll, Grant, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll and Winn parishes are declared primary natural disaster areas. The seven parishes named as contiguous disaster areas are: Allen, Beauregard, Caldwell, Franklin, LaSalle, Rapides and Tensas.

Commissioner Mike Strain said, "As we all know, mother nature is extremely unpredictable. Those farmers who are falling on hard times as a result of the drought can now get some assistance to possibly alleviate some of the hardship."

A federal disaster designation makes farm operators in primary and contiguous areas eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes low interest FSA emergency loans.

Farmers and ranchers may get more information from their local FSA offices.

Rice Leadership Class Includes 2 From LA

The 2014 Rice Leadership Development Program class was named during the USA Rice Outlook Conference in St. Louis. The class is comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals who went through a lengthy and intense selection process, with a committee comprised of industry leaders and program alumni. Two Louisiana residents are included in the new class.

The new rice-producer class members are Derek Haigwood, Newport, AR; Jeremy Jones, England AR; Jon Munger, Yuba City, CA; Will Reneau, Beaumont, TX; and Clayton Schaefer, McCrory, AR. The new industry-related class members are Jonathon Hobbs of Russell Marine Group in Jefferson, LA; and A.J. Sabine of the Louisiana Farm Bureau in Baton Rouge, LA.

"The caliber of applicants made choosing this year's class especially difficult and that's a problem the rice industry likes to have," said Marvin Cochran, Chairman of the Rice Foundation. Cochran went on to thank everyone who applied to the program and encouraged the crowd to reach out to those not selected this time to suggest they apply again to the program next year.

The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry, with an emphasis on personal development and communication training. During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen their leadership skills.

John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc. and American Commodity Company are sponsors of the Rice Leadership Development Program through a grant to The Rice Foundation, and the USA Rice Federation manages the program

Negotiators Reach Deal on Budget

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray have announced an agreement to fund federal agencies through the fall of 2015. The deal would cancel half of the sequester cuts for the current fiscal year and includes 85-billion dollars in spending cuts and non-tax revenue. Ryan called the agreement a step in the right direction that protects the Pentagon from fresh cuts set to hit in January while trimming deficits by more than 20-billion dollars over the next decade. He said the package represents a clear improvement on the status quo by replacing one-time cuts to agency budgets with permanent savings from other programs. President Obama said it was a good sign that Democrats and Republicans were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision making to get this done. The House is on track to vote on the deal today - one day before the chamber's scheduled adjournment for the year. The Senate is expected to vote on the package next week. President Obama has said he'll sign it.

Dr. Steve Linscombe, Resident Director of the LSU AgCenter's Rice Research Station at Crowley, reported to the 2013 USA Rice Outlook Conference in St. Louis last week the research station is looking to release two new varieties in 2014 and at least one in 2015.

Accepting nominations for the 2014 Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction

We are accepting nominations for the 2014 Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. Nominations are open to anyone connected with Louisiana agriculture including any person who has passed away. Nomination forms can be found at our website. Just click on the logo at left.

A panel representing the Louisiana Farm Bureau Agri-News Radio Network, LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry will select the inductees. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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