WWL>Topics>>1-30 2:10pm Angela, La. crops battle through storm.

1-30 2:10pm Angela, La. crops battle through storm.

Jan 30, 2014|

What's the impact of the hard freeze on this year's strawberry crops? Stressful on the crops. Won't know until they uncover the crops. Worst tonight and tomorrow morning. They've been harvesting since mid-November. Contingent on the weather they are trying to protect the blooms from the frost. They only produce so many blooms during it's life cycle. Our Guests: Dr. Mike Strain, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry, Ricky Becnell, The unofficial spokesperson for the citrus industry here, who grows citrus trees for Plaquemines Parish. He is one of the owners and president of Saxon Becnell and Sons. Also, Lizzie Liuzza of Liuzza farms with 75 to 100 acres of strawberries.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

I love talking to those people the last hour it just reminds me that we are such survivors and this wasn't in the end of the world but it was. A different event for us missed two days of really paying attention and not and you know people just do it and they do it right and all is well. Now we often think of our area's main businesses as tourism and oil and gas in the port in the is definitely are huge. But we must not forget there were also a region that produces crops like strawberries and citrus and produced wheat poultry cattle. So how did the -- storm event affect them. Who better to ask the doctor Mike strained it was the Louisiana commissioner of agriculture and forestry doctor -- thank you so much for joining us. -- -- -- -- I'm doing just fine and I think you probably have the best job in the state. I absolutely do you know it's pretty good year you know and know each -- -- -- practicing veterinarian on the North Shore you know what a place. Or a veterinarian and former -- -- commissioner of agriculture it just doesn't get any better than this. And I sense that and it was a very magical time on the North Shore backed down and -- we're really truly learned in my appreciation for. All those who do agricultural things for a business much less for fun in the tremendous respect I have for them. Thank you thank agriculture as the number one business in Louisiana. And it has grown in the last four years over 27%. -- and now in excess of eleven point four billion dollars and it's continued to grow. You know science technology innovation and so many people now going back to the land as you have seen. Novelty and the rural areas but in the suburban and and then urban areas as well. And the local agriculture is gonna continue to be one of the fastest growing areas in agriculture. As we work perhaps you know fresh products local products. Well also called portable fresh photos and other things affordability. Is going to be an issue you know what my main goals is to continue increasing. Productions so that. All about citizens -- board to have a good guy. And we need that and I'm so happy to see. You know an expansion of some farmers markets so glad to the restaurants are really pushing violent. It really all they really are so proud of them you know an eagle and -- and other restaurants when they walk out that semester. We have fresh salads from locals almost market we have you know a fresh caller we have fresh -- you know fresh local centrist. An openly and that's what we have produced locally. And they tell you that would mean when they walk out to tell you you know what's on the menu for the but I. And I could say it is very well received and that makes it it makes a big difference especially now with our consumers and accusing also. For a local farmers and you know the people supply and almost market. Absolutely which brings us to our subject today about. How this big freeze may have affected some of those and it why don't we start without people think about the sugar cane. Sugar -- church is at two billion dollar a year industry we it's absolutely. You know just huge its overall that would put things is that. You know overall it went pretty -- you know the cold weather in general we have until August a little earlier. And you -- and move the central operations -- -- and to get that into the milk the previous cold but right now up and we're very lucky we're gonna it will remain to be seen how we come out that whichever. That's sugar cane is an amazing crop one of the things we can actually have some benefits far. Because dealing with some of the disease is that may have been in and acted. By the cold insects. You'll end their roster in the other things up and sugar -- going to be OK I admit slopes some of some of the growth. But I think overall sugar and it's going to be OK what what remarkable things about sugar. Is that in times of stress the plant actually as a way to. Increased content of the children actually can ride with some degree of stress it's a remarkable port does -- Well plans no more than you think that's that's the amazing thing about plants at that. They can do you know these pressures in -- they are -- very rudimentary but -- logical systems. And you know whether or not distortion or distort store or want to grow you know -- the course as you know what it's governed by temperature it's governed -- Daylight as you know we talk about plant physiology you know you don't think about his politics or talk about human medicine journal of medicine. Plant physiology it is in and of itself a very complex during but the plants. You know. They survive in the plants it will survive and it's it's amazing thing to study -- that's been there are really something exciting for meat comeback album you know. From the mammalian medicine's side and now go to work you know in areas will be split scientists look at this it's incredible. You know I'm I've brandy because. I have friends up north and I say you understand that in the New Orleans area at weaken growth thing is twelve months a year. And that's foreign to a lot of people how lucky we are to have that growth period. We all would very blessed that we -- it's such diversification. And you can look across this state and you can see where we have shipped anywhere we have right where we -- grow crops where we September. All the different types pop culture that is not only temperature dependent but saw the -- our diversity it was great. Strip and we are very blessed and one of the things when you talk about the cold. When it's cold across the United States one of the advantages that we haven't Louisiana that we won't -- We will not see into the ground early we will -- harvest. Earlier and stop talking about the plantation option of the -- the beings. You know and cotton and other products that we will have an advantage and that we will have product itself. To look for weeks before being -- -- informers do that we can command a better price. That is beautiful how about a week -- Well -- Thank goodness most coveted in the dormant state issue when we talk about we went a week so this particular weapon that would have probably crop. You know it's an incidences say you get up in the midwest where it is down you know in the single digits you know four days a week on -- I think all wall. -- week is going to be pretty good it's a little too early to tell with the overall final estimate has but. The week has already dormant right now and so once it warmed up in the wheat crop will take off. But I can say that we talk about it but waves of grain at least significant weak production -- wow -- better and that is going to be a growing trend. As we've worked at have a crop in the ground at all times different type so I'll help but week in rotation with corn and beans and some of the other product you can see more moral lead and we did. Let me -- just out of curiosity the people who are now farming like this. I'm not talk about backyard farmers who I would consider myself and it. -- big farmers are they. Are they multi generational are these like what I offense it is multi well. It well yet and -- it is multi generational. Our agriculture -- tell everybody agriculture is that it's not like a light switch you don't turn on the ball like a marriage which many years in the long that you -- The better more -- would become the best way agriculture has. You know when you take -- second third fourth generation almost they are not only married to the land but agriculture took them is as an intense science. As a practice of medicine is to a position it is buried and we're talking about. No launch on we're talking about many millions of dollars per year in income and an expenditure. Highest degree of birds and technology but you can possibly imagine now is in the business so our response. But on the second and you have a new generation. Of entrepreneur knows who else. City that the future for business and development is going to be an agriculture and agro sciences because it is great continuously. -- Sustainable. Natural resource. And that is going to be greater demand as we move forward feed the growing world population. So you can also have a new generation of agricultural list who are quote we called the Wall Street agriculture social coming into agricultural. And then you have another group of young people that that have not been went to the land but once they come and get involved in agriculture. And state forever. You know and heartsick you know as farmers will always forms may not be -- assault today but -- -- -- told the salt and law. And so it's it's a whole adventure but it's really really really change I tell everybody can look back -- -- all of you know we're no longer eighty acres and a -- and -- at its very intense and it's changing a lot. And one of the things that you sing with a high technology that probably this type of cold weather we haven't had. The devastating loss about crops you know we have if you start looking at how we adapt so that cardinal cold weather tolerant crops. But also how and I -- our business. Our strawberry business and all the other businesses we got ways now to protect their crops. And so that many of the many different and we're doing. Is that so we can adapt that we have to adapt because of in most cases the very high you know capital investment that we have. You've heard it here that agriculture is the number one. Industry in the state of Louisiana eleven point four billion dollars. So how did those today's ice and -- affect all of that and who better to answer the doctor Mike strain the Louisiana commissioner of agriculture and forestry. And again thank you for joining us. Let's talk a little bit about is I've heard that crawfish. Could be impact more for the Super Bowl. Yes what happens when he gets called properties go back down to that borrows. And of course you know and the guys across station -- cold blooded so what's gonna happen it -- the -- growth and development you know. -- fourteen days and so what happens is that. It's is that the web as apple warmup for the sport feeding what we can catching up -- that they -- you don't defeat. And so hopefully if we can get so warm weather starting this weekend that we can hole. Somewhat whether -- -- have more properties and imports which can happen the Super Bowl spot majority app and stop it indicates a few more so. I'm with you again. And what's gonna happen is that we're gonna still have a wonderful property scrub we're not collusion and cooperation. It's just that they're going to be delayed you know seven working days but I think we've been canceled one point crawfish this year. I can hear the people now mechanisms aren't always what it with a they -- what about our -- Well that the price of product you know we you know we have a lot of educational via truck cattle all the cattle producers. They're very very good at that would you'll probably have. A few losses to -- can't be involved but by our dialogue with the gets cold we know we we put up a collared black cattlemen's association. That it put that seed and hay and that that animal that incredible room and an animal. You know that they have -- they have either have called hydrates. They get together and they and they related evidently generate a lot of heat internally. -- -- of these particular weather conditions. So bicycle with telephone at a time feed them up it won't let me say they have to be careful or wet cold overcast days. As special -- own lunch when a pastor so that you don't give it to some toxicity but most of all forms. No now part of middle Papeete at a time and how to manage that we spent about someone management I think by and large we're very -- it's not like in Colorado. Well though well we've lost battle because ultimately suffocated from the snow. There's no soul or so fast they they they stayed in place sitting crawl out of -- deliberate -- and -- that. Now the cold wet weather but it does tend to you know really evaporate some weight all the cattle so you'll have a little bit of weight loss. But as well you put have a Monique good are they going to be just fine. It was so sand. The drought that's been taking place in Texas and other places I heard an incredible figure and I know you would know better than -- that. Not to like twelve million head of cattle removed. -- just don't have water. Well the other thing that you have now we have the lowest number of cattle. Since World War II the actual mobile tablet even. No notes in UB prices rise. Yes that's a reflection of the overall arc of the number opt -- will try to build hurts now but climate change is real the drought is real and if you look and started back historically you seem to have been cultures that have lived out in the west in the midwest. And the -- beer and most of that in Lebanon properly. Piece of the so what are cattle with how we rebuild them hurts. But we have some very big concerns about the availability of water in the -- in the midwest. Especially between now in the next thirty years and that's -- out. You know makes -- cattle business here very very good but overall the cattle business but a very pit stop I was looking at something last night. And we look at that land and it's. -- you know from -- so -- -- you know we have art I'm here and we don't truly understanding -- you know we can think about it we can watch it on TV we can read about but it -- -- there. It's hard to understand how bad that is -- -- cracks in the soul it's gonna -- -- yes a -- and just remember. Israel and Lebanon won't -- which uniforms went about a. Yes it is real -- you sent. Yes it is let's talk about poultry. -- the biggest simple traditional poultry that the -- that means you very unique houses total. Total environmental control but when it's cold like this happens is that people all over. Has been quietly bought a lot of pro and deep that they don't -- them don't have. Accessed through natural gas and -- that and -- at all it would all have actually gets that is normally. Propane and butane and the cost to keep both houses warm. That cost is that all Obama poultry on themselves and astronomy unity can be quite expensive. So what happens when that happened on cold days of poultry farms they really have to spend a lot to keep those chickens is exactly the right temperature and of course is what's amazing to have all these different. Monitor systems and that all important 4000 generator systems. So the biggest problem in the poultry industry is that the poultry farmers or going to make less money because they had -- spent so much more energy. -- -- just to keep thinking about it. I'm thinking about or are they don't live in your son of course they're gonna live that it. And I -- at what cost and so when you open is all the -- technology is I think we have a very very hot summer after an air conditioners. You know in the cooling systems and all of those facilities. With the -- to keep that -- ever since in the future and embarrassment for the are the temperature and not -- a specific. Temperature range. You know I think every child in every city should go to a farm once in their life to save that's it it doesn't come in cellophane wrap from grocery store. But these are real products. I think I don't think so and I think when you -- reform -- -- seats. You know both the circle of life everything from the plants in the animals -- in -- in the water that people. And the trees in the sky in the Condit knew that -- -- you broader understanding. Of our -- and our relationship to the -- And that's one of the things that you know being born and raised on reform. You know it yet justice keen awareness. That we two would just -- elements -- and how how that all inter acts together. So the simple things that we take for granted war water's not that the program that on all of the win. -- -- -- You know the of the -- of the animals all of our all those many different issues and then when you see that route coastal south. You know in the in -- in your basketball matter you know from a tiny seat all prompt a transplant. And how long it takes to get that to -- although it takes to get you know proper -- well in the watermelons strawberries and all the things that have to go through. To get to -- at least they had to go to. The -- -- -- just -- and then you get a bit better appreciation for all those veteran Bob -- tremendous process. Now that was beautifully said I'm gonna ask you before we go to the newsroom. Somebody asked can we -- something that could protect our coastline. Yes we can't we don't work you know about it the department -- and fortunately had a multi media project for instance we were trying to develop. Salt tolerant cypress trees you know you've thanks -- -- get into your -- you'd think the five -- can live and solve all that's not the case. Cyprus does not do well in the Marshall would try to develop that so that we in the exceed and we create. Coastal ports don't think about that despite disputed that Lebanon. -- now that's a desert so that's a very big important -- the other thing. But -- that technology and we are so we're doing with different types of grasses and other products aware they will be so -- that. I'm not necessarily require so would be so -- and so they can live in that environment and -- create. That. Ecosystem because as you know the boss is a very complicated ecosystem a organic matter. We have to recreate that egregious conduct update isn't gonna work. And so we're working on many things are in the ten amateur ranks and has. Quote from the colts' direction our agency many agencies saw. We need to support that science and technology. And that's an -- exciting announcement very soon about research projects are no we're working. What -- universities and I was to do that I have a great. Do hope that we or going to at least far and away agents to stop the erosion coast. Because you know we're not going to be the Mississippi River you know we're gonna do that not particularly down. So we have to be innovative and we have to read all that complex and it is a complex ecosystem. If anybody can do it it can't do because your enthusiasm comes right through this is such a great state to growth things in and yet we also want we have to face the weather and so we had to kind of brutal days. And we're just talking about what affected you have on various crops. And of course we're talking to doctor Mike strange who was the at agriculture commissioner for the state. And we're now joined by Ricky -- who was the unofficial spokesman for the citrus industry. He grows citrus trees for plot elements parish and one of the owners and president of Saxon mostly this -- on now and -- and I thank you for joining has written. Well. Not allowing them more and more I am seeing just regular people have a couple of citrus trees in their yard. I mean it is we are perfect for that. So I'm just wondering is on another gonna be listening is as well how were you affected. Well being true that was all those trees. What's what's probably strokes and especially it was a small prudent. Or whistle and then that. Not much sugar packet -- -- don't have much you can't get. So that true probably actually droves. But the larger pointy -- with the ticker -- And you know baker. Skin and larger there there probably -- to still be fine. Now the tree itself. I don't think we. Fixed it stay the temperature that would actually kill -- streaks. Now four out of folks. Across the late. And might -- a little different story. You know that some -- -- Mort hint there that a variety. That grapefruit at the ligaments. Built streets made a -- And really severely hurt yet not old. But in -- -- -- would say yes you know. He quit to trim the tree. Because -- go to the old little -- Stage. All where. It's -- kind of market channel all we -- get -- definition line. What's going to turn around and which still that of the green. So don't. -- Nextel all -- let's not be eight feet and let's not do any trend means. Until late march. When that tree pitch. Turn in to. See where you can actually. Sustained their original. And then you'll a clear cut definition. -- -- it right in the great. Is what we would call it where some other disputed somewhat that is green I would cut. Like an orange will go into the green -- so it's. So it's not. It's like any torture that his continued spit in your should be worried so it's -- -- if you're below. Into the green well it kind of cut that port ball. Okay did did you go out and check all your trees today. Com I did not get the opportunity to go for -- this morning but. These temperatures did not it would not into cold air ops yet you look. And what what it's. You know like a couple weeks ago. You talk about a plot -- -- and doctor strain any thoughts from new honest. -- Definitely. Know that yet -- -- you know and it's climate commissioner. And you know on the -- or have those trees of course which bought from you I'll wrap them up and up kept them wrapped. And of course they have no look normal like it's you know I have a group which are not look I'm really. Really nurse and take care those trees. And of course -- want to warms up we're gonna take you know the covers all those trees so they can go ahead and -- out. And then will -- watchable the next Barbara so. But you know what we help people on the North -- as we you know we wrap our trees so we cover them up the -- and make sure that you don't. Cut them up say like with a bit clean and leave that this queen on is that right Rickie when he gets warm because that will fall on the tree that it's too hot. And so we -- is coming up the nurse -- on the North Shore. I guess it where you know where we've lost those trees will be buying more trees and or replacing those but probably some great. And that the latest -- more or more I'll be taken -- to topple trees. I think that you're correct on that that. That that wrapping in all these steel. He had this terrible days when execs -- Astronomical poll it. You know if you don't lose your tree net to beat -- you'll definitely lose -- it Smart out there if we don't get -- all. But I'm still optimistic. That. What we have point four -- that we have not. Weeks and beaten her. So yeah we have some old product out there and every once back York but plenty of huge trees sister outlook didn't. Mother statute is. -- Sizes that -- it is. Like a basketball -- it's gonna take quite a bit of cold weather community outwards to completely. -- that tree so. I'll be surprised. Yeah it's all about what you -- that yet and it's completely. -- that something else to on the you know while we're doing this rule that we have to be extremely mindful of diseases. That we had seen. Where all of the insects and different types of diseases. We should tell all of our listeners. That wind from whom. That they should use some tight -- Clorox some type of alcohol. -- sterilize all of while proving. -- equipment. Before and -- there and it should alert on each individual tree. So that Whitney and not spreading in the right spot. -- -- -- for one street to that next. In it one more thing to -- while -- that this opportunity. We've been working so all -- They understood screen missiles area. USB. All the while France with our Irish government. You know that we know and gas called councilman with doing aerial spraying. What it's sold -- an important. That every -- will realize. That you can not to eat any treat it like -- this. Two Florida local theater in California and bringing. To our host city is it is -- kids these agricultural rules and regulations or. Ready -- diseases and inspect. So. That we really have to be mine all in there really aren't. Yeah Speedo and then vice -- bit Angela yeah you know we cannot create this week and a true. It's much as we're proud problem and say -- I'm -- bring -- that -- two -- interest. And and we have high bidders reducing standards and our country bar. Probable state of the year. Texas Arizona and California. Golden -- that is still only stage. It can not get transferred. Once interest free into the next. -- I appreciate that information and I appreciate all of your information we should never forget that agriculture is a very big this as the number one business in the state. Within a whole hour much so enjoyed getting to talk to doctor Mike strain about how the big freeze sort of affected so many of our crops and we're now joined. But -- -- news out of -- use of farms 75200. Acres of gorgeous strawberries. And I have to say our beloved geeks cousin by marriage. And we're not gonna hold that against you. -- -- limited -- aren't telling you I'm married. I'm fine thank you how -- your strawberries. Called. Home and the car yet. Recovered. And we we don't even airing an agreement that discreetly at cause. Until at least another day long conference -- on this afternoon latency and and two Miley and we ought to be evident well -- see what's going on outfit underneath there. What do you -- -- So why aren't caught at a bar that was ever cover it almost looks like. They actually like you -- that I mean a bit light blanket and aren't as hot -- -- and Bob -- Owl. And it does care about it appear pretty easy and -- really grow out of like that you didn't hear you you lot think it will pare back. I'm not everything in the sunlight and arm your child and you're trying to keep the Arafat are packing our white flowers on the -- -- the return. So. At what point did you say. We've got to get into protective mode. Well we all bottle and it all well and we lack it today and I. Will you know. Saw little link -- -- Because it'll turn angle on what kind of rocked -- coming -- -- out there and cover and protect them relieved and congress and covering -- They pretty much the same covered as the continent and then -- partly or. So really it means that your labor cost her up. Yes it is very very late and then on it takes it's a little or like crap that you gave the cover everything -- All. It is definitely very laboring yes and. I'm sure hoping that when you uncover them tonight and tomorrow that everything is. Perky and happy to let him. I'll -- you can't. I weakened and it -- this -- apparently it. In years past when you've had issues maybe not as profound as this but if you. Did you did you get to save 50% of the crop seven. -- -- -- -- In and we had earmarked for a couple of weeks ago I got down in the flow bikes -- putting greens. And we covered pool in the old -- we -- we lock keeper -- say -- -- -- about twelve output and I look -- not. Not that bad we're gonna go over the -- -- as parents you. And the growing season is from what to watch. We got pregnant and -- -- and it will start. Tried really hard. Around usually around our middle to the end of November. -- -- in the winter we have a -- winners and apartment. During December January February at its heart -- like -- -- -- failed to. Get much out of the break out of the question in undercurrent. But look on the wagering that did you what happened on that. Well we're gonna keep very optimistic thoughts going for you I really appreciate you joining us there are problems there. But doctor strain let's talk briefly about. How was it nursery crops mean everybody now is at home looking at their firm that that the dust and I have all these nurseries how did they protect themselves. Well again I'm most you've been -- will have a copper. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So hopefully they won't have significant that we won't know for a few days are really for a few weeks when -- start looking at the plants. But once you know we have that doubles side of that that many people gonna have to replace. You know that's probably something that whole -- did not cover them and a big key number. Remember repeat something that -- back now set and all of you know different products use a cool concept -- she years. You know get the and even -- that's different types of plants along the same. You know along the same area Pete and about our you know target hole or whatever you can use one part Clorox -- or water. You can use our colleague -- these other things but just stop the transmission of these diseases many of these diseases. But you can inoculate one plant to the other would be by the -- So that's at exercise some caution. -- from a reputable source. And then of course if you see something won't talk to somebody in a pops in my village -- again it's a call you think you're starting the city. These these plants -- because the whole key for us is early detection. But also to stop the transmission. And spread of the disease is whether or not you know it's going to be -- centrist plans. Or -- all the owners or whatever the plans also. We need to exercise some caution. But generally there's probably won't be quiet a lot. Just particle so that's gonna have to be replaced. So hopefully -- notre cops even though they had expense. All money you know proceeding took labored for covering that they're gonna have -- local business group again. And replacing that's what would Newport. Well again I cannot thank you enough for spending this hour with this Helen and I have decided that you have to be irregular -- -- is a (%expletive) what you are to thank you. And I want to say it your right cult people and that and center is the greatest risk. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So it printed eligible southern accent at all that research you know we talk about reform bill a big part that the bill. It's research it's extension. What we have stalkers that you go all the salute you around -- -- -- newly formed and it's twenty million dollars in it. RB surged to figure out how to deal with the centrists you know somebody who -- -- to beat them on the things. And the other part about reform bill is that it allows us in those foreign markets we export. A majority exportable products worldwide you know we -- a leader and corn and beans and -- protocol is many signs. Those foreign markets hold up Americans price but also bring -- hoard dollars -- -- -- we've talked about we agriculture. We are predominantly when you talk about -- crop went export market so on built very very important course next week we expected to come out of the senate. Thank you so much Doctor Strange we will have you back. Thank you wanna think Ricky Beck knelt down apartment spare cash for all of his thoughts -- citrus. And illicit life is a north across the lake with her beautiful strawberries and we're gonna wish her well with them when she uncovers them tonight and tomorrow. And of course doctor Mike -- as the commissioner of agriculture and forestry. You'll learn a lot to -- I think what we've learned is how special the statins to have the products can produce. Very quickly have a cute story. Years ago we called Johnny. Gallon Johnny Dallas like mr. tomato can. -- Saint Bernard and years ago I interviewed him once. During a freeze like this and -- and long time ago and he hit made individual sweaters. For like. A thousand tomato plants and he hired these young kids and they replacing the sweaters over every plant and he saved. He we called him today and he says everything's fine with tomatoes so I just wanted to shout out to John. Please stay with this and please give us a call because our next hour is Dan gill who is the -- doctor if you've -- anything you're worried about call --