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Newsroom: 2012

Specialist: Stigma on Seafood Lingers
The Advocate, June 23, 2012

Despite consumer worries in the year since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, repeated studies show seafood caught in the Gulf of Mexico is perfectly safe, a LSU AgCenter seafood technology specialist said Monday.
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U.S. Northern Region Woody Biomass Assessment Featured on Journal of Forestry
June 4, 2012

An assessment of the regional physical availability of woody biomass as an energy feedstock in the U.S. Northern Region conducted by MU Department of Forestry and US Forest Service researchers is the central article featured in the May issue of the Journal of Forestry. The article highlights the potential of woody biomass to produce power in combination with conservation goals. It also stresses the limitations of woody biomass energy utilization stemming from its spatial dispersion and low energy density. Wood energy currently accounts for about 22% of the renewable energy generated in the US. Findings from this assessment indicate that a maximum of 19% of current coal-based electricity consumption in the Northern Region could potentially be produced with woody biomass from timberland without jeopardizing the forest resource.

The article entitled “Regional Assessment of Woody Biomass Physical Availability as an Energy Feedstock for Combined Combustion in the US Northern Region” was authored by Michael E. Goerndt, Francisco X. Aguilar, Patrick Miles, Stephen Shifley, Nianfu Song, and Hank Stelzer.

Louisiana Sea Grant Releases Socioeconomic Study on the Recreational For-Hire Fishing Industry in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico  
Louisiana Sea Grant Newsroom, April 20 , 2012

A recent study by Louisiana Sea Grant is providing an insightful glimpse into the business and policy workings of the recreational for-hire (RFH) fishing sector in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The report, titled “Economic and Attitudinal Perspectives of the Recreational For-Hire Fishing Industry in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico,” is based on a 2010 survey of RFH operations in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Florida. 
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Seafood Industry Braces for New Guest Worker Rules  
The Louisiana Weekly, April 16, 2012

Local seafood processors—al­ready threatened by inexpensive imports—say their operating costs are about to rise because of new U.S. Department of Labor rules. Two months ago, the feds issued 575 pages of regulations for guest worker visas, and processors are worried about what they’ve read....What will the new rules cost the industry? LSU agricultural economics professors Kurt Guidry, Matthew Fannin and Michael Salassi completed a study on impacts last month. “For the seafood industry, including crawfish processing, we found the estimated, weighted-average increase in wage rates would be roughly 26 percent,” Guidry said. “But, depending on the job title, the average increase in the wage rate could be anywhere from as low as 3 percent to as high as 67 percent.”
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Louisiana Agriculture Tops $10.7 Billion
The Advocate, March 28, 2012

Agriculture was worth $10.7 billion to the state’s economy last year, a 7 percent increase from 2010 that was a strong improvement over the past few years, according to the LSU AgCenter. Agriculture production in Louisiana last topped the $10 billion mark in total value in 2007, said John Westra, an AgCenter economist, in an LSU AgCenter news release.  Despite an unusual production year in 2011 with drought and flooding, row crops including feed grains, sugar cane, cotton, wheat and soybeans gained significant value last year, Westra said.

The LSU AgCenter Explores Biofuels as an Alternative Crop for Growers 
LSU AgCenter, March 2, 2012

Research scientists and extension specialists from the LSU AgCenter are participating in federally-funded research and extension efforts to explore the potential that biofuel crops may hold for Louisiana producers. These efforts have great potential to expand the energy production portfolio of Louisiana. 
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Timber Market Recovery Hinges on Economy and Housing Upturn
Delta Farm Press, February 17, 2012

“Everyone is asking, what’s it going to take to see an increase in demand for our southern pine and hardwood timber,” says James Henderson, Mississippi State University assistant Extension professor for forest economics and management, who spoke at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s Winter Commodity Conference at Jackson. “We want to see increased residential construction, we want to see the supply of existing homes on the market come down, and we want to see the unemployment rate drop — economic growth means more jobs and more people buying houses.”
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LSU AgCenter and LSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Awarded Three Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowships
LSU Media Center, February 6, 2012

A group of faculty from the LSU AgCenter and LSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness was recently awarded $238,500 from the Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship, or NNF, Grants Program to provide three Ph.D. fellowships beginning in August 2012. The department was one of only 12 recipients of this prestigious fellowship, which are awarded in the areas of food and agricultural sciences....Detre said that the department would use the fellowship to recruit Ph.D. students to conduct research and extension activities related to improving the resiliency and economic viability of rural communities and their stakeholders – agribusinesses, farmers and governmental agencies – in response to natural disaster and environmental risks, particularly in the Delta and Gulf Coast regions.

Experts Urge Patience at Louisiana Forestry Forum
Delta Farm Press, February 2, 2012

With excess houses on the market and no immediate sign of increased housing construction, forestland owners and others were told to be patient at the 2012 Ag Expo Forestry Forum presented by the LSU AgCenter Jan. 20 at the West Monroe Convention Center.

LSU AgCenter forest economist Mike Dunn said the current situation for those in the forest industry will not change much in the near future. As long as the housing industry is flat, the forestry industry won’t be improving much.“The economy continues to struggle. Unemployment is still high, and the housing market is still mired in recession because of too much existing inventory resulting from foreclosures.”
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Red Light Ahead: Preparing Local Governments Financially for the Next Disaster 
Choices Magazine, Winter 2012

Local governments across the United States face ongoing financial vulnerabilities — macroeconomic conditions, natural disaster risk, and poor fiscal planning—in meeting the basic functions of providing public services such as roads, water, sewer, and education. The effects of these financial vulnerabilities can be seen when examining the financial conditions of local governments.
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