Sugar cane farmers, millers and producers – Rejoice! There is finally a podcast just for you. Two years ago, the American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A., Inc., located in Thibodaux, La., released its first podcast designed solely for the sugar cane industry.
“It’s not a typical podcast that’s telling stories,” explains Sam Irwin, public relations director for the ASCL. “It is information that’s very relevant to sugar cane farmers and millers. The podcast is not really intended for the general public – it is about research, sugar cane varieties and other topics that a sugar cane farmer or producer would love.”
About two years ago, Jim Simon, ASCL manager, approached Irwin to create a podcast for the sugar cane industry. Irwin began gathering topics of interest to sugar cane farmers and producers. Over the past year, he has recorded speakers at the ASCL’s annual meeting and field days, which are held in different sugar cane producing areas throughout Louisiana. “Every year, the farmers have the annual meeting in different locations,” Irwin explains. “In the summer, we have field days, and recently had them in Jeanerette, St. Martinville and Assumption Parish.”
For these field days, the county agent for the area compiles a list of speakers, typically researchers and teachers. Irwin records those talks and makes them available by podcast for the industry. “We might have more than a dozen,” Irwin says. “In fact, I’m in the middle of doing one right now, which is an update on the issues in the sugar cane industry on the national and international scenes.”
This June, Mike Deliberto, an LSU AgCenter economist who studies the national and international sugar industry, spoke with Irwin about the economic outlook of the current sugarcane crop year. In July, Irwin recorded ASCL agronomist Atticus Finger’s speech at the 50th Assumption Parish Sugarcane Field Day at E. G. Robichaux's farm near Napoleonville, La., to a group of producers and others about two new sugarcane varieties, Ho 12-615 and L 12-201, which were released to the commercial industry in 2019. Other podcast recordings include LSU AgCenter’s Assistant Professor Blake Wilson’s talk about some of the insect issues affecting the industry, and Associate Professor Brenda Tubana’s speech about research on ways to reduce nitrogen use in sugar cane fields, which could help with the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. “These topics really pertain to the nuts and bolts of sugar cane industry,” Irwin says.
Such relevant topics include a podcast from the State’s climatologist on what created the historical heavy rains in 2016, and the story of Iberia Parish’s long-time farming family, brothers Dudley, Wilson, Roy and J.C. Viator, who have three Bachelor of Science degrees, one Masters and three Ph.Ds among them.