Thursday, July 31, 2014

Register for Online Data Bases

Online data bases have become popular. People can search on their phones, i-pads or computers wherever they are and whenever they have the time. If you are not listed they will not find you.

Below are some popular data bases to consider:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Agritourism Workshop Planned for Hammond, LA on October 30, 2014

Join us at the LSU AgCenter's Hammond Research Station located at 21549 Old Covington Hwy., in Hammond   for an agritourism workshop on Thursday, October 30, 2014 from 8 am to 3 pm.

This one-day workshop will provide landowners, agritourism operators and tourism officials with information on how to start, grow and market a tourism venture on agricultural lands. Experts in the field will share their success stories. See brochure for registration information. Clik on agenda for more details.

Registration is $15 for an individual or $20 per couple prior to October 20th; same day registration available for $20 per individual or $25 per couple.

For more information contact: Sandra Benjamin or Dora Ann Hatch .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

California Tourism and Agriculture Groups Join Forces to Promote Agritourism

A new  partnership has been announced  between California Grown, which promotes California Agriculture, and Visit California, which promotes tourism, to promote agritourism in the state.  Kudos to both groups!

Read more by clicking here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Guide Available for Developing Business Plans for Farms and Rural Businesses

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses is an excellent book for beginners or those who have been in business for years.

The book guides you through the process of building a business. For information on how you can obtain a copy, click here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Plant Diagnostic Center at LSU AgCenter

The Plant Diagnostic Center is a one-stop shop for all your plant health problems. Services available through the center include plant disease diagnosis (biotic and abiotic causes), insect and mite diagnosis/identification (plant related only), nematode diagnosis/ identification and weed identification.

The staff of the Plant Diagnostic Center has the training and experience to help you solve your problems (at least those associated with your unhealthy plants). Before you submit a sample, however, we suggest you contact your local LSU AgCenter extension agent. Agents are familiar with many of the common plant problems that we encounter and can help evaluate the situation as well as collect and submit the appropriate samples.

Click here for a brochure on how to use the center.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bed and Breakfasts on Farms Offer Extra Income

Earning extra cash by offering overnight stays on your farm or ranch are quite popular. Guests do not expect luxury accommodations but do expect clean accommodations.  They also expect  to learn more about farming and ranching during their stay.

Allow guests to help with the chores and if possible pick fresh produce from your garden. Then take the experience inside and allow them to participate in the food preparation. Cooking what you have just picked will be a real thrill for those who normally buy off the grocery shelves.

If this idea appeals to you, consult the Small Business Development Center in your region for information on business licensing, business taxes, labor law requirements, environmental protection requirements and more.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Watermelon Festival Slated July 24-27 in Farmerville

Thursday, July 24th
7:00 am Treasure Hunt –Sponsored by Louisiana Lottery
Listen to Z107.5

6:00 pm Baby, Tiny, Little and Junior Miss Watermelon Pageant @ Union Parish HS Auditorium

7:00 pm Union Parish Voter’s League Banquet @ Farmerville Recreation Center

Friday, July 25th
7:00 am Treasure Hunt –Sponsored by Louisiana Lottery
Listen to Z107.5

5 pm-til Arts/Crafts/Food

5:00 pm Tennis Tournament @
Lake D’Arbonne State Park

6:00 pm Festival Opening

6-8:00 pmWatermelon Story Time

6:30 pm Arm Wrestling Sign-up

7:00 pm Best dressed watermelon contest, Courthouse Square

8:00 pm Introduction Queens
Courthouse Square

8:00 pm Street Dance
Courthouse Square

Saturday, July 26th
6:30am Watermelon Festival 5K Registration
Edward Jones 318-368-9000

7:00 am Treasure Hunt –Sponsored by Louisiana Lottery
Listen to Z107.5

7:00 am Watermelon Growers

8:00 am Arts/Crafts/Food
Courthouse Square

8:00 am Golf Tournament
Lake D’Arbonne Country Club 318-368-2474

8:00 am Louisiana Motorcycle Melon Run, Courthouse Square Annex,

8:00 am Watermelon Quality Contest, LSU Extension Office, Rafash Brew 318-368-9935

9:00 am Watermelon Festival Parade, Main Street

10:00 am Watermelon Auction
Courthouse Square

10-2 pm Watermelon Story time

11:30am Tricycle and Bicycle Races
Courthouse Square

12:00pm Marion State Bank Watermelon eating contest
Courthouse Square

12:00pm Marion State Bank Watermelon seed spitting Courthouse Square

12:00 pm Introduction of Queens
Courthouse Square

7:00 pm Teen Princess, Outstanding Teen and Miss Watermelon Pageant @ UPHS Auditorium

8pm-7am D’arbonne Watermelon Fishing Tournament
Lake D’Arbonne, 318-368-0666, 318-235-1039

Sunday, July 27th 2pm–4pm Kayak Races, Ramp Rd

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Registration Open for Yellow Rails and Rice Festival in October

Thornwell, Louisiana, site of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival, was named the "Yellow Rail Capital of the World by the Louisiana Legislature in April of 2013.

Registration is now open for the sixth annual festival which begins on October 29 and runs through November 2, 2014. 

Rice farmers and birders have worked on this event to make it an extraordinary experience for those who attend. The festival attracts people from all over the United States and across the world.

For more information on how to register, click here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Southern Christmas Tree Association Meets in August

The Southern Christmas Tree Association's (SCTA) 2014 annual meeting will be August 1 - 3, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Birmingham-Homewood located at 492 Wildwood Circle North, Homewood, Alabama 35209 (I-65, Exit 255 Lakeshore Drive). Telephone 205.942.6070.  

The farm hosts are Paul and Carolyn Beavers of Beavers Tree Farm ( in Jefferson County near Trafford, Alabama (10093 Bradford Trafford Road, Trafford 35172; Telephone: 205.681.4494).  It is about a 45 minute drive north on I-65 north of the Holiday Inn.  

To learn more about the meeting, contact: 
MICHAEL BUCHART, Executive Secretary
12263 Brookshire Avenue, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70815 USA
E-mail:; Telephone: 225.505.6335

USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. 

Harden also unveiled, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed. For more on the topic click here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pay to Play on the Farm

Recent changes in the way people travel can also benefit farmers. Reportedly, 30% of tourists say they “seek knowledge” on vacations. These travelers would enjoy the experience of talking with a farmer and better yet working alongside the farmer. They want to return home and share with friends their experiences of plowing a field, harvesting a crop or herding livestock. There is no need to create an experience, tourists are quite happy to “experience” the everyday real life of a farmer or rancher. Having guests share their experiences verbally with others is a great way to market your business.  Better yet, with your permission, if they share via social media sites, your marketing potential increases.

Charge for these experiences, tourists are willing to pay for the added value.  Daycares and summer programs for children are constantly looking for summertime opportunities to add to their calendar of events. Enjoying a day on the farm might be just the type of program to encourage parents to sign up with a particular daycare.

Finally, work with others to create more tourism opportunities focused on agriculture. The more opportunities, the more tourists travel to your area. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Add Value for More Income

When we talk about adding value, we are talking about enhancing the original product by adding something to the product so that there is a new use and new market for the product. When this happens, the product becomes more valuable for both the consumer and seller.  For example, value can be added to corn picked from the field by creating corn relish, canned or frozen corn, shelled corn for animal feed or as an additive to livestock feed. This type of value added is in the processing.

Value can also be added by providing a service or experience to the product. This is often seen on farm tours. The farmer plants acres in sunflowers and adds an experience, i.e. a sunflower tour or a horticultural design class. In Caddo Parish the Sunflower Trail & Festival is one such example. This trail spans a 30 mile stretch though the farming communities of Dixie, Belcher and Gilliam. Acreage along the road is planted in sunflowers and some farmers allow picking of sunflowers during the festival.

That same sunflower field would also be the perfect setting for a wedding. This could lead to photography and catering opportunities. If a building structure is located on the property consider offering an overnight accommodation to the bride and groom or rent it to others.