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Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association

By Allen Owings, LNLA executive secretary

Baton Rouge-The Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association continued its service to the green industry in 2003 with a number of new projects. A buyer's guide for 2004/2005 is being planned, significant research funding was provided to the LSU Ag Center for ornamental research facility improvements, and a number of educational events were held around the state. LNLA continues its efforts with the annual Gulf States Horticultural Expo in Mobile, AL, as a cooperative effort with the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association, and the Alabama Nurserymen's Association.

The 2003 Nursery/Landscape Expo was held August 15-17 in Dallas, TX. Attendance this year was 10,101 with attendees coming from 43 states and six foreign countries. Included in the attendees were growers (26%), retailers (24%), landscapers (33%), suppliers (8%) and others (9%). There were 1,659 exhibit spaces occupied by 743 exhibitors. 2004 dates for the Nursery/Landscape Expo at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX are August 20-22.

Regina Bracy is the new resident coordinator of the Hammond Research Station at the LSU AgCenter, one of 19 similar stations across the state. The Hammond Research Station has served the strawberry and vegetable industries in the southeastern part of the state for over 80 years. Bracy is the first woman named as a research station coordinator for the LSU Ag Center.

"My father started out as an (LSU AgCenter) extension agent in Concordia Parish. He worked there for a few years, and then was hired here at the station," Bracy explained. "So I moved to the station when I was two years old and lived here until I went to college."

The LSU Ag Center's Hammond Research Station traditionally has been a fruit and truck crop experiment station. "We don't want to neglect our roots, which are fruits and vegetables," Bracy said. "We still want to do strawberries and vegetables and serve our growers in those areas, but we need to expand our research and extension activities to address the landscape horticulture industry."

Surface Water Issue to Get More Attention in Coming Years

LSU AgCenter water resource specialist Dr. Bill Branch and several AgCenter watershed agents recently echoed the need for Louisiana to address the depletion of its aquifers and reduce consumption of groundwater during a technical training session at the 18th annual meeting of the Louisiana Rural Water Association.

"Water levels in parts of the Sparta, Chicot and Southern Hills aquifer systems are declining at rates greater than one foot per year," Branch said during the July 16 session. "And concern for sustainability of these aquifers is driving the current effort to establish groundwater management policy in Louisiana."

Realizing that people in Alexandria are concerned about the city's study to determine the feasibility of using surface water from the Red River, Branch pointed out that citizens in the city of New Orleans have been drinking water from the Mississippi River for years, and that its water has won blind taste tests.

"Most large users who can shift from using groundwater to surface water sources should consider doing so," Branch said.

LSU AgCenter watershed agent Margaret Frey reported that some rice farmers have cut irrigation water pumping cost by 50 percent or more by using surface water in place of groundwater from their wells. Many have constructed water collection and storage reservoirs on their farms.

Labor Department to Inspect Louisiana Ag Commodities

Some Louisiana agricultural producers have been targeted by the U.S. Department of Labor this year and next for violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. At the recent Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in New Orleans, speakers mentioned that officials with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage-Hour Division would be traveling around the state checking for infractions of the act. This will cover wage-hour type situations, housing, and transportation. The primary targeted commodity groups are cotton, strawberry and sugar cane producers. Nursery growers should also be aware that inspectors will be in the state.

Foret Scholarship Established at SNA

The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund at the Southern Nursery Association was recently presented a $25,000 contribution to establish the Dr. James A. and Fay Foret Sr. scholarship fund to keep the memory of Dr. Foret and his contributions to the horticulture industry alive.

Dr. Foret was executive secretary of the Louisiana Association of Nurserymen (now Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association) from 1954 to1986. He was a longtime professor and head of the horticulture department at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette. At the end of his career at USL (now University of Louisiana-Lafayette) he served as dean of the college of agriculture. Dr. Foret retired from USL in 1981.

Congratulations to Louisiana Nursery of Baton Rouge for their 83rd place ranking in Nursery Retailer's Top 100 Lawn and Garden Retailers.

Beth Perkins and Ruth Chauff of Banting's Nursery in Bridge City (Jefferson Parish) were named the corecipients of the LNLA Nurseryperson of the Year for 2003 during the recent membership meeting held during the Gulf States Horticultural Expo in Mobile.

During the expo, LNLA awarded scholarships to Karen Blackburn (Southeastern Louisiana University), Heather Pecot (Louisiana State University), Russell Harris (Louisiana State University), Julie Fullenwider (Louisiana Tech University), and Timothy Quebedeaux (Louisiana State University). Cody Arceneaux, sales manager at Live Oak Gardens in New Iberia, was named the LNLA Young Nurseryperson of the Year for 2003. Marshall Mugnier, owner of Marshall's Nursery in Lafayette, was the 2003 recipient of the James A. Foret award for career contributions to Louisiana's green industry.

Louisiana Gardener's Guide Revised

The best-selling gardening book for Louisiana residents, the Louisiana Gardener's Guide, is now updated with new plants, added information and a new full-color format. Originally released in 1997, the Louisiana Gardener's Guide: Revised Edition (Cool Springs Press, $24.99), authored by Dan Gill and Joe White, now provides the most current gardening advice, tips and techniques for gardeners in Louisiana.

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December 14, 2019, 7:39 am PDT

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