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Monday, September 01, 2014
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Future of agriculture looks positive; valued at $11.8 billion

Last Modified: Thursday, June 26, 2014 6:28 PM

By Doris Maricle / American Press

WELSH — The future of agriculture is looking bright in Louisiana.

Speaking at the Jeff Davis Business Alliance’s 21st annual Farmer’s Appreciation Breakfast on Tuesday, state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said the future of agriculture is positive in production and economic development.

Growing demand from worldwide consumers could mean a farming boom. And as the largest exporter of agriculture products, Louisiana is already poised to play an important role in the movement.

“We’re doing good, and we are going to do good as long as we continue to do hard work and proper investments,” he said.

More than 250,000 people in Louisiana work in agriculture, making it the largest industry in the state, he said.

“Agriculture is the foundation of our society and our nation,” he said. “Before any country can be great, we must be great in agriculture first.”

Seven years ago agriculture was valued at $5.9 billion. This year it is $11.8 billion, Strain said.

This year rice is expected to see record production — $659 million in rice with more than 1,000 producers, he said. The average rice production is 7,300 pounds per acre, Strain said.

“In the next 15-20 years we are talking about 1,600 pounds of rice (per acre), 600 of bushel corn (per acre), 150 bushel of beans (per acre), 2,000 pounds of cotton per acre and $300-$400 million a year for crawfish,” he said.

Overall the strength of commodities is good, Strain said.

“Rice prices need to come up a little more, and they are going to,” he said. “Sugar prices are coming up and are expected to stabilize.”

Corn prices are moving back up the last few weeks because of drought in the Midwest, and wheat prices have moved up, he said.

The U.S. is expected to increase its export of agricultural commodities by 30 percent in the next two years to meet growing demand by the middle class outside the United States, he said.

“That means the value of everything is going to grow, including land,” Strain said.

The demand is continuing to grow and will grow as the rest of the world continues to grow, he said.

The worldwide population is expected to expand to 2.2 billion by 2050 and 2.5 billion by 2060, and that growth will require the U.S. to increase its export capacity by 30 percent, he said.

“These are not pie-in-the-sky goals,” he said. “These are attainable, scientific goals and mandates.”

“When you look at the supply and demand, there is a reason we are seeing the strong growth in demand. ... Demand is currently growing faster than supply worldwide, and we have the ability to meet these demands because we are one of the bread baskets of the world and we’re sitting in some of the most fertile land with availability of it. That is going to drive our economy.”

Posted By: Doug On: 6/27/2014

Title: Rice Production?

If the average rice production currently is at 7,300 pounds per acre, and in 15-20 years the projection is 1,600 pounds per acre, how is that agricultural growth?

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