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LSU AgCenter chief: Parish ag programs hit hard in state budget crunch

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LSU AgCenter
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The head of the LSU AgCenter discussed looming budget cuts with members of the Louisiana Forestry Association this week.

Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the Bayou State. But according to LSU AgCenter’s vice president for agriculture Bill Richardson his agency is running into tough times.

He told the executive committee of the Louisiana Forestry Association Tuesday that one research station has closed and three more are under review.

According to a news release, the agency has shed more than 400 employees over the past five years and one out of five parishes now shares agriculture agents.

The AgCenter has seen a $23 million budget cut in the past five years along with more than $12 million reallocated to meet state-mandated personnel requirements.

Richardson called the current Legislative cash crunch a turning point, and further significant reductions to its budget would ultimately reduce parish programs.

An LSU AgCenter economist is working with the Louisiana Forestry Association to evaluate potential results of new tax proposals from the legislature during the special session underway and during the regular session when it opens March 14.

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