Mike Strain

Ted Jackson / nola.com

Governor Edwards and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain continue their listening tour with farmers today with stops in Ferriday and Slaughter. The tour started earlier this week as the two elected officials held meetings in Mooringsport and Bastrop to hear about concerns within the agriculture industry. Edwards says producers are worried that state budget cuts are impacting agriculture research at LSU and Southern.

 

Edwards says soybean farmers are also pushing for funding so the Red River can be dredged in northwest Louisiana to help with shipping costs.

Governor Edwards and Louisiana Ag Commissioner Mike Strain will start a listening tour across several rural communities today.  The tour will allow members of the agricultural community an opportunity to ask questions and to discuss their concerns.  Strain says they want to know the challenges farmers face.

 

Strain says it’s important he and Governor Edwards get in front of the farmers throughout the Bayou State and address their concerns since they are a large part of our economy.

 

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With the decline in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, any hope of exporting Louisiana goods is shrinking. State Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain says working on the issues between the two nations is of top priority.

A year ago, Governor John Bel Edwards and Strain led a delegation from Louisiana to Cuba to strengthen the relationship between the Bayou State and the island nation. Strain says its disappointing to see the U.S. order Cuban diplomats out of their embassy. 

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5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will hold a listening session on Friday morning at Rayville High School to receive input from farmers and ag leaders on what they want included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Abraham wants to know what is working and what could be improved.

The Farm Bill is the primary legislation that sets the agriculture and food policy for the country. Abraham says cotton was left out of the mix in this current Farm Bill and that industry has suffered major hits because of it.

The floods that inundated Louisiana in August also damaged rice harvested as seed for this year's planting. 

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says he's temporarily relaxed certification requirements to ensure farmers can buy enough for a chance at a good crop. 

Department seed programs director Lester Cannon says farmers will have to buy more of some lots to make up for the problem, but sellers will drop the price to make up for it. 

Emerald Harris / ULM

The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s annual spring Commencement Ceremony was held today in Fant-Ewing Coliseum in front of adoring family and friends, and ULM faculty, staff, and administration. Over 730 students earned degrees.

Dr. Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.

Strain’s ultimate message was for students to pursue their dreams, get involved, and appreciate those who helped them along the way.