Friday, February 18, 2011

River Guide, John Ruskey, To Speak in Winnsboro, February 23, 2011; 2-4 P.M.

John Ruskey, a river guide and canoe builder, will speak about identifying criteria for canoeing and kayaking trails on Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the LSU AgCenter’s Scott Research and Extension Center in Winnsboro. (Directions below)

Ruskey of Clarksdale, Miss., designs and builds canoes with a particular finesse in giant voyager style canoes and hand-hewn dugouts. In 1998 he started Quapaw Canoe Company to open access to the splendors of the Mississippi River. Quapaw provides guided expeditions by kayak, canoe and stand-up paddle boards on the Lower Mississippi River and some of its tributaries, including the Big Sunflower, Yazoo, Coldwater, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha and the lower reaches of the White and Arkansas rivers and the Atchafalaya River.

Ruskey will discuss the potential for paddling businesses in Louisiana, how he formed his company, his business plan and lessons learned.

This event is FREE and open to the public. For more information contact Dora Ann Hatch at (318) 927-9654 Ext. 229 or e-mail her at

Directions:The LSU AgCenter’s Tom H. Scott Research & Extension Center is located at 212A Macon Ridge Road, immediately south of Winnsboro on Highway 15, across from Dennis Crain Dodge. The office is on the west side of the highway. Call (318) 435-2903 for assistance.  We are in the first building on the right after entering the LSU AgCenter property.

Monday, February 14, 2011

USDA Animal Welfare Act Applies to Agritourism Operations with Animals

I have just recently learned that agritourism operators who use animals as part of their agritourism venture are subject to the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act regulations.

If your agritourism venture charges people to see animals, pet them or feed them you need a license as an exhibitor. If you do not have a license from USDA and are engaging in this practice, you could be subject to a $10,000 fine.

To safeguard your operation, you should call Dr. Lynn Bourgeios, veterinary medical officer with USDA animal care. Dr. Bourgeois can be reached by calling his office at (985) 537-0691 or by calling his cell at (240) 461-9182. He travels the state, so please leave a message. In the event that none of these numbers work call Mike Long at (970) 494-7471 to learn how to become certified. If no answer, call the main number (970) 494-7478 and ask to speak with someone concerning USDA certification under the Animal Welfare Act.

The process requires completion of an application and an inspection. During the inspection, officials will check on husbandry issues, veterinary care program, where animals live and review how animal food is stored.

Please call USDA if you are not licensed so you can begin pre-certification so that you can continue your operation without concerns over fines.

If you need further assistance, please contact me at (318) 927-9654 Ext. 229 or

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soil Testing Available

To get the highest yield from your garden, do a soil test. Soil testing and Lab Analysis are available from the LSU AgCenter. The Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Laboratory (STPAL) offers a variety of soil tests and plant tissue diagnostic tests to meet your planning needs for profitable production. Fees charged at STPAL are cheaper than any commercial laboratory on similar tests.

Contact your local Extension Service for details.