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LDAF transports hay to coastal areas for emergency needs (photos included)

December 17, 2009

(Click here for photos)

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry trucks have been dispatched to Monroe to pick up hay for delivery to coastal parishes where floods from excessive rainfall have threatened cattle, Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said.

Two 18-wheeler flatbed trucks used in the LDAF forest protection division will transport 40 to 44 large round bales of hay donated on Thursday by the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The hay is expected to be delivered on Friday, Dec. 18 to the Lafourche Parish Agriculture Building in Raceland and the Des Allemands Playground in St. Charles Parish.

“We have been monitoring the flooding all week and today we activated our emergency response system to deal with the request for assistance from St. Charles and Lafourche parishes,” Strain said.

LSU AgCenter Extension Agent Mike Hebert said it’s too soon to assess the flood threat level to cattle in the coastal parishes.

“There are about 26,000 head of cattle in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes but not all of them will be affected,” Hebert said. “But with the rain we’ve gotten and with rain expected today and tonight, some producers have an emergency situation.”

LSU AgCenter Extension Agent Rene Schmit said he estimated about 3,800 to 4,000 cattle have been stranded by high water for three days in St. Charles Parish.

Strain said cattlemen are moving their animals to higher ground but some herds become concentrated into areas that cannot support the increased numbers.

“We’ve taken some emergency measures to provide sustenance for cattle that may be affected by the weather,” Strain said.

Strain said Robert Joyner, executive vice-president of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, was instrumental in procuring the hay donation from ULM.

“The Cattlemen’s Association is part of our emergency response team and they are very important in securing resources to help people in the agricultural sector during times of emergency,” Strain said. “And the LSU AgCenter helps us identify the need in specific areas. We’re grateful for all their help.”