February brought our last AgriPOWER XI session to the great state of Louisiana, and it didn’t disappoint. While we toured so many great places during our time, I’m going to highlight some of my favorites.
Our adventure started at the Cargill port. Although it was cold and pouring rain, it didn’t stop us from seeing everything that makes this place important to international grain shipping. The ships can haul anywhere from 1 million to 2.5 million bushels of grain internationally. The efficiency that goes into loading and unloading was equally impressive. This tour highlighted the importance of maintaining and updating our water way infrastructures in the United States. Our final stop of Thursday took us to St. James Parish where we toured a farm with multiple diverse crops such as sugar cane, crawfish and Perique tobacco which has been grown, harvested and sold over three generations.
Friday brought us to the Angola Prison, the largest maximum security prison in America. The director of agriculture for the prison system guided us around the 18,000 acres, showing how diversified their sustainability is for Louisiana’s prison system. Cattle are raised and sold at auction, vegetables are grown and consumed by the prisoners, and grain is grown. A prisoner rodeo, where civilians and their families come to enjoy the day of rodeos, carnival rides and food was my favorite. Prisoners sell wood crafts and other hobby items during the fair to earn money for their commissary, while paying the prison a percentage of their commission for religious maintenance. A tour of The Water Campus, which is focused on reduction of land loss in Louisiana, finished out the day.
Fellowship was had by all students as we finished out our tour of New Orleans, with grand parades celebrating Mardi Gras, while also enjoying local foods and flavors of the NOLA culture.
AgriPOWER takes on Louisiana–Session 6 blog by Vicki Vance