Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Funding For Louisiana Ag Centers
The Louisiana Radio Network continues its series of questions and answers with gubernatorial candidates. This time the questions center around agriculture and funding for the state's Ag Centers. These centers are primary sources of local knowledge on specific areas of Louisiana agriculture. Among the most notable around South Louisiana is the Rice Research Station in Crowley. Here is some of what four of the major candidates for the state's highest office had to say.
The reporters at the Louisiana Radio Network asked the following question of Jay Dardenne, John Bel Edwards, David Vitter, and Scott Angelle. The question was this.
" If elected, would you propose a budget that keeps funding levels for the Department of Agriculture and the LSU and Southern AgCenters at least at their current level?"
Here are some of the highlights of each candidate's response.
Jay Dardenne: Addressed the issue by stating that it was important to keep funding these centers because of agriculture's $12 billion dollar impact on the state's economy.
From big farming operations that spread out over thousands of acres, to smaller family farms. They're all a vital part of our economy and our culture.
John Bel Edwards: Discussed the fact that Ag Centers have already suffered under the hands of the budget knife. He said since 2008 funding for Ag Centers have been cut by 23%. His comments suggest that he does not support cuts for the Ag Centers and in fact believes more funding is due.
It is imperative for Louisiana's future that we turn the corner and start investing in our AgCenters. This is because agriculture and forestry make a significant contribution to our state's economy.
David Vitter; Addressed the issue by looking at the performance and staffing of the Ag Centers since 2008. His research showed that full time employment at the Ag Centers had decreased by 31% in that time frame.
That leaves high priority research and food safety programs among others, understaffed. So we need to reverse that and I will reverse that.
Scott Angelle: Made the connection that as Louisiana farmers go so goes Louisiana. His comments suggested that he would make agriculture a high priority and keeping the Ag Centers operating at a high level would be part of that plan.
When our farmers thrive, I believe we all thrive. I believe in the family and I believe in the Family Forum. Therefore, agriculture will play a vital role in my administration's economic development plan.
Voters will go to the polls on October 24th to select our state's next Governor. Information for this story was taken in part from a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network on Sunday June 29, 2015.