A local agricultural agent has received a top honor for his dedicated efforts in assisting and improving area agricultural and natural resource efforts along the Teche.
LSU Ag Center Iberia Parish extension agent Blair Hebert received the Distinguished Service Award for career achievement by the Louisiana County Agricultural Agents Association at their 72 annual meeting held in Ruston June 3-5. He will also serve as president of the organization for the upcoming year.
Hebert’s areas of service includes sugarcane, livestock, and row crops.
“I was just lucky enough to have my name on the ballot this year and enough of my peers thought I deserve the recognition, “ Hebert said. “I’m completely humbled and proud.”
About 50 members took part in the voting process giving Hebert a nod for all the work he does during the year.
The list is long.
“We help when they want to figure out soil types, how to recover from a freeze like the one we had in January, certifications and recertifications that help them with things like applying pesticides and making sure there is a certified burn manager on every farm,” Hebert said.
The county agent also provides educational resources for area producers and brings in scientists from LSU to help answer questions about crop production growers may have.
“The whole goal in my opinion of the LSU Ag Center extension service is to take all the information that has been researched by us and get that to our producers,” Hebert said.
“There’s the green thumb side of it but there’s also the economic and business size of it. They have to pay their bills and were trying to keep them in business and make them as productive as we can.”
Hebert’s passion for assisting farmers is inspired by his own experience.
“I grew up on a farm and my dad was an ag teacher,” Hebert said.
“I know how much the county agents helped my family’s farm. I think one of the things that make us one of the greatest countries to live in is that we have a good agricultural system we have enough for food and shelter and we have enough to export.”
Hebert said that our local agricultural products have a global reach and some of the information he provides to farmer’s include passing along information on federal regulations and standards in relation to things like the farm bill and bringing in workers from other countries.
His job training and role with the association includes attending national conferences where local, state and federal requirements are discussed.
As the newly appointed president of the LCAAA, Hebert said his next goal in assisting farmers is to research how technology is impacting the industry.
“Whether that is using computers to assist in semiautomatic driving equipment,” Hebert said
“Finding out how drones will come into play, how can we use technology to better fertilize and apply pesticides, and how to make emissions better and make power equipment more efficient.”
“The association is just trying to provide our members with opportunity to be the best they can be” Hebert said.