Local News

Rotary hears from Richard Fontenot on Ag Industry in Evangeline Parish

The Ville Platte Rotary Club heard from Richard Fontenot today (Tuesday) on the state of agriculture in our parish and state. Fontenot is a fourth generation farmer in the Vidrine area. His farming operation covers some 4000 acres with his brother Neal. He is currently Third Vice President with the Louisiana Farm Bureau and a member of the Louisiana Rice Research Board. Fontenot said as he was speaking, another category four storm is aiming at the Louisiana coast line this weekend. This would make the sixth named storm to hit Louisiana this year. He said Evangeline Parish was spared from Hurricane Laura. Fontenot said the after effects of storms such as mosquitos was a big problem to parish livestock owners. Over 100 head of cattle were lost locally due to the problem with mosquitos. In Evangeline Parish, 90 percent of the rice crop was complete when Laura hit while there was a minimal effect in soybeans. He said our neighbors to the west were hit hard. Timber is a 1.1 billion dollar industry in the state while agriculture brings in some $450 million dollars. Statewide, infrastructure was impacted including grain bins and rail cars. Some 70 percent of the Louisiana rice crop that is exported is shipped from the Port of Lake Charles. The port sustained significant damage. As far as ag prices, Fontenot said crawfish prices were fair despite the issue with Covid -19 impacting restaurants. Rice infrastructure was damaged while soybean farmers are hoping China will agree to the purchase of the promised crop. Fontenot was the guest of Rotarian Annie Fruge.

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