August 30, 2021
An outstanding corn harvest and good prices are leaving Louisiana farmers with a sense of optimism as the state moves into the fall harvest.
Farm Press recently sat down with Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association Executive Vice President, Bobby Skeen to discuss the growing season and issues the organization is currently addressing.
Farm Press: What are the expectations for the 2021 harvest?
Bobby Skeen: Our growers are cautiously optimistic about their crops across the board. The corn harvest has been outstanding and the prices have been very complimentary.
To date, we’ve had very little soybean harvest, but what has been harvested has been very promising.
We have not harvested any cotton, yet, but from the growers that I have talked to, it is looking very good, too.
We’ve had a lot of rain in the growing season, which has eliminated the need for a lot of supplemental irrigation. We started off planting in wet, cool conditions and were delayed heavily, but the crops have certainly rebounded favorably, thus far.
We did have some heavy rains, but nothing to the extent that they did in Mississippi and Arkansas. We caught some of it but nothing to the extent that they did in Mississippi.
Bobby Skeen, Executive Vice President of the Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association. (LCGA)
FP: What is currently keeping the LCGA busy?
BS: With LCGA being a multi-commodity trade organization, we stay very busy trying to keep up with what’s going on in the cotton industry, as well as the corn, soybean and even the sorghum industries. Our farmers are diverse farmers and are involved in growing all of these commodities.
It’s an ongoing task on keeping our members abreast of the issues amongst the other state and national commodity organizations.
FP: Are there any policy issues you see developing that the LCGA will need to address?
BS: We are working to maintain a great relationship with our state legislators and our sister organizations across the state of Louisiana.
I think all states take for granted that their legislatures are experienced or knowledgeable about the agricultural industry in their state, but that's often not true.
That's why we are hoping to host a legislative field day at the end of September, depending on what the COVID situation looks like at that time.
COVID is pretty bad here, as well as Arkansas and Mississippi. We've got the mask mandate back on, but we're really hoping we're able to do the field day.
In addition to that, we have been working closely, monitoring the river dredging on the Mississippi River near Lake Providence with the US Army Corps of Engineers.
FP: Is there a consensus among your growers regarding what needs to be addressed a new farm bill?
BS: Being a multi-commodity organization, we have to work to find the similarities in the needs/interests of the different commodity groups as they apply to our individual members. In doing this, we push for strong support commodity/title programs, protecting base acres, a beneficial ARC/PLC program, etc.
FP: Do you have any comments about Louisiana ag in general that you would like to address?
BS: Louisiana’s agricultural industry is strong, even for a smaller state. We are fortunate in our location and proximity to the Mississippi River to have good options for our grain to go. Where we have become a smaller cotton producing state, we still maintain the necessary infrastructure to support our cotton industry. As with other states in the Delta, we are blessed in that we are able to grow what the markets tell us we need to grow. Other areas and states do not have that luxury.
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