Louisiana Master Farmer Program

Initiative promotes greater productivity and sustainability. 

⋅ BY OLIVIA McCLURE ⋅
LSU AgCenter

T

he Louisiana Master Farmer Program recognized three new graduates, two people who have completed recertification and the winner of the Outstanding Master Farmer Award at a Jan. 12 ceremony.

Rice farmer Trent Broussard, of Acadia Parish, was designated a Louisiana Master Farmer at a Jan. 12 ceremony. Pictured from left are Michael Salassi, director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station; Matt Lee, interim LSU vice president for agriculture; Broussard; Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; and Chad Kacir, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The event was held in Baton Rouge in conjunction with the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting.

The Master Farmer Program, administered by the LSU AgCenter, teaches those involved in agriculture about management practices that promote both greater productivity and sustainability. Since 2006, more than 360 people have been certified or recertified. About 3,800 have taken part in at least one phase of the program.

“Producers who are awarded this certification have gone through rigorous and lengthy requirements in order to meet state soil and water quality standards,” said Donna Gentry, coordinator of the program. “It takes a commitment of time, financial investment and long-term sustainability goals to complete the requirements of certification.”

“Louisiana is really stepping out ahead of other states in terms of helping farmers learn to voluntarily comply with environmental standards, and it’s because of the Master Farmer Program,” Matt Lee, interim LSU vice president for agriculture, said at the ceremony. “This has been a way for farmers to learn up-to-date, research-based conservation practices in a comprehensive manner. That’s consistent with the mission of the AgCenter, which is a large-scale scientific innovation platform that also has a cooperative extension service that translates those innovations out to ensure the sustainability and profitability of the agricultural enterprise.”

Congratulations are in order

To be certified as a Master Farmer, participants must attend classes on environmental stewardship and develop plans to improve conservation on their farms. In addition to experts from the AgCenter, sessions are taught by representatives of the Louisiana Farm Bureau, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

One of the newest graduates of the program is rice farmer Trent Broussard of D&B Farms Partnership in Acadia Parish. Rex Calhoun, of West Carroll Parish; and Roland Crymes, of Morehouse Parish, are also new graduates.

Participants must accrue continuing education credits and complete a recertification process every five years to maintain the Master Farmer designation. Recertified Master Farmers recognized at the ceremony include rice and soybean farmer Damian Bollich, of Morehouse Parish, and Raymond Fontenot, of Vermilion Parish.

Wesley Coffman, a Vernon Parish cattle producer, was named the Outstanding Master Farmer for 2022. Coffman has raised polled Herefords for 44 years and has held roles on boards for his soil and water conservation district, a local cattlemen’s group and parish Farm Bureau.

Gentry described Coffman as a “strong, outspoken advocate for land and water improvement for many years.” 


Olivia McClure is an associate communications specialist with LSU AgCenter.

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