The Louisiana State University research station in central Louisiana has found that various varieties of sugarcane survive in chilly weather. It is a good reminder of what a large and powerful part agriculture plays in our state’s economy and culture.

The research done at the Dean Lee Research Center showed steady yields and prices have prompted some Louisiana farmers to push the limits, planting sugarcane in what has traditionally been corn and soybean country.

“This is a farmer-driven project,” AgCenter sugarcane specialist Kenneth Gravois said. “The cold tolerance work in variety testing and weed control work done by Dr. (Al) Orgeron,” an AgCenter pest management specialist.

According to Dr. Mike Strain, DVM, the commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, agriculture is the largest industry in the state.

Our state’s agriculture products include cotton, soybeans, cattle, horses, sugarcane, poultry, eggs, dairy products, rice, forestry and aquaculture (seafood).

Louisiana’s farmers, foresters and fishermen contribute some $10 billion annually to the states economy.

Among the state’s many seafood products is crawfish. Louisiana is the biggest producer of crawfish in the world. And what would Louisiana be without its incredible world-famous cuisine and famous restaurants?

In addition, forestry is a massive industry in Louisiana, with 48 percent of the state comprising forest lands, or 13.8 million acres.

According to the Dept. of Agriculture, forestry is a renewable resource that provides the raw material for the second largest manufacturing employer — the forest products industry — with over 900 firms in 45 parishes directly employing over 25,000 people.

An additional 8,000 people are employed in harvesting and transportation of the resource. Other benefits of Louisiana’s forests are clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.

Beyond the economic impact, agriculture has always been a big part of Louisiana’s history, heritage and culture, with many of our most famous and important people coming from rural backgrounds.

Our state is truly blessed to have such an abundance of natural resources produced by farmers, foresters and fishermen, as well as agriculture’s contribution to our very unique Louisiana culture.

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