January 26, 2024
The Agriculture Fisheries and Land Management Council
About the Council’s Work
The Agriculture Fisheries and Land Management Council was established at the request of Governor-elect Jeff Landry to discuss issues facing the agricultural community and to propose solutions for those issues. This council was led by Joel Broussard and included voices from across the agricultural and wildlife spectrum in Louisiana. The findings listed below represent the recommendations made by the council. Agriculture
Louisiana agriculture has been the backbone of our economy long before statehood in 1812. If you travel along some of our state rural roads today, you might be jarred into thinking you have gone back in time. For too long, this industry has been an afterthought and taken for granted.
1. A reliable and modern infrastructure is needed in order to make strides towards improving the state’s agricultural economy. Louisiana needs this infrastructure for delivery of agricultural commodities. We need increased investments in bridges, inland ports, and additional rail systems. A strong statewide infrastructure is needed to support regional and export development.
2. Louisiana seafood is facing a crisis thanks to imported seafood improperly labeled from foreign countries. It’s not only an attack on our agricultural commodities, it is an attack on a culture and heritage. The state’s commercial fishermen need to know that help is on the way as imported seafood has caused untold damage in Louisiana. State labeling laws protect both business owners and consumers.
3. The LSU Ag Center has long been a complementary part of the agricultural presence in the state. LSU Ag Centers are a vast network throughout the state dedicated to the improvement and advancement of Agriculture. They lead research in a variety of developments including agronomic practices, digital and precision ag crop practices, and pest management. Unfortunately, they have faced budget reductions, closings, repurposing, and total elimination of certain programs.
4. Louisiana’s two land-grant universities must work collaboratively towards securing Louisiana’s agricultural future and producing tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.
While the rights of landowners must always be the first consideration given when looking to develop new industry in the state, the balance of fair coemption must also be taken into consideration. The government, be it state or federal, should not be in the business of picking winners or losers. The recently passed Biden Inflation Reduction Act, included massive subsidies for solar development. These subsidies allow utility scale solar developers to compete against agriculture producers from an unfair vantage point.
1. The council suggests that there be a study of the long-term environmental and monetary impacts of converting Louisiana’s agricultural lands for industrial use like large scale solar or wind production. It is imperative to understand the impacts of potentially losing thousands of acres of high production agricultural lands to industrial use.
2. Foreign national interest in Louisiana lands must never outweigh the Louisiana citizen or our national security. Serious consideration must be given to enacting state laws that address the aggressive policy of some foreign countries related to land acquisition in the U.S.
Wildlife and Fisheries
The Department of wildlife and Fisheries have become a bureaucracy that is out of touch with the needs and wants of Louisiana’s hunters and fishermen. We are losing sight of the Louisiana heritage that defines this state as the “Sportsman’s Paradise”.
1. Returning Louisiana to the undisputed “Sportsman’s Paradise” is rooted in teaching conservation in all our state high schools. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is the proper conduit for this.
2. The hunting and fishing licensing process in Louisiana is antiquated and in need of a reboot, many states do it better. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, merely duplicate what works in other states.
3. As solar and wind generation facilities encroach on wildlife habitats, a full understanding of those impacts must be studied by Wildlife and Fisheries. Regulations, where needed must be implemented either through regulatory process or legislative action.