The Louisiana Master Farmer Program
The Louisiana Master Farmer Program focuses on helping agricultural producers voluntarily address environmental concerns as well as helping them enhance the production and resource management skills they need for the continued sustainability of Louisiana agriculture. The program helps producers across a wide range of agricultural and natural resource enterprises by teaching them more about environmental stewardship, conservation-based production techniques and resource management. The program uses a comprehensive approach that includes classroom instruction, observation of LSU AgCenter research-based, best management practices and implementation of a comprehensive conservation plan. It also involves a voluntary producer certification process. To become Louisiana Master Farmer, a producer must complete three phases:
Producer attends classroom instruction on environmental stewardship issues related to:
The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972
National and Louisiana water quality standards
Total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs
Effects of nonpoint source pollution on the coastal zone and the Gulf of Mexico
Best management practices, also known as BMPs
Role of conservation districts in conservation planning and implementation
Resource conservation planning processes
Farm bill conservation programs
Spill prevention control and counter measures, or SPCC
Producer attends a conservation-based field day where specific best management practices are demonstrated and discussed. This also may include pasture walks, soil quality workshops and other commodity-specific demonstrations.
Because of the diversity and scope of agricultural production in Louisiana, the Master Farmer Program is expanding to meet the needs of the state’s agricultural producers more effectively. Producers now have two options to complete this phase.
Option 1 – The producer may request a state resource conservation plan through the LSU AgCenter.
Option 2 – The producer may request a resource management system plan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and local Soil and Water Conservation District.
Upon completion of all three phases of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program, producers are presumed to be in compliance with Louisiana’s soil and water conservation requirements.
Continuing Education – Certification is granted for five years, with six hours of continuing education credits required per year.
Contact Louisiana Master Farmer Program