By Keith Hawkins, Area Extension Forester
A few months ago, the LSU AgCenter released the 2016 Louisiana Ag Summary, a compilation of the numbers and dollars of all the agricultural and forestry commodities of Louisiana including animal agriculture, crop production, and natural resource production. The Ag Summary presents the economic value of each parish and of each commodity.
A new feature of the Ag Summary is the use of dynamic maps to show various values of parishes. One map indicates that the west central parishes of Beauregard, Vernon and Sabine are the “Wood Basket” of Louisiana in 2016. These three parishes are in the top five timber producing parishes in the state.
Beauregard Parish leads the state in timber production with an economic value of $68,691,000 while its neighbor to the north, Vernon Parish, is the next most productive timber parish with an economic value of $62,188,000. Sabine Parish, a neighbor of Vernon Parish, sits in fourth place at $54,919,000. The total value of forest production for Louisiana is $9,018,080,000 so forest products is the largest commodity in the agricultural economy.
A summary from the AgCenter website states: “Forests cover about 50% of Louisiana's land area, making it the state's most common land use. Fifty-nine of the state's 64 parishes contain land capable of producing sufficient timber to support the state’s extensive forest products industry activities, provide habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunity, and other environmental benefits. The harvest of timber, historically Louisiana's top agricultural crop, has returned to pre-recession levels.”
For assistance, forest landowners can contact their local extension forester at the AgCenter or their service forester at the Louisiana Office of Forestry. In SW Louisiana, landowners can contact Keith Hawkins, firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-463-7006, or Jason Waguespack, email@example.com or 337-463-7801.