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Poultry Industry Important to Louisiana

08 May 2009

LOUISIANA, US - Including value-added products, the poultry industry is said to be worth $1.733 billion - good justification for taxpayer support of the industry, it is argued.

Louisiana has committed $50 million of taxpayer money to preserve agricultural industries and jobs in Union Parish, according to The Advertiser.

The article continues that some question the wisdom of this investment, and that is natural. But could we really afford to let the poultry industry leave north-east Louisiana, asks the author.

Louisiana agribusinesses generate more than $28 billion in food and fibre products and services to the state's economy. The value added from these sectors contribute more than $9.1 billion to our economy. It is hard to overstate the function the family farm plays in creating economic security for our nation. Farmers continue to produce despite the financial risks they undertake each year to provide the nation and world with safe food and energy.

In 2007, 243,000 Louisiana workers earned more than $4.5 billion from agriculture. More than nine per cent of our workers are employed in agriculture. In this time of economic uncertainty, no segment of the economy should be destabilised, especially one that employs nearly 10 per cent of Louisiana's population.

Louisiana's poultry production, valued at $884 million in 2007, is its leading animal enterprise. Factor in value-added products, and poultry production is worth $1.733 billion to Louisiana.

The industry contributes to the rural economic stability of Louisiana and is a significant economic driver to our urban communities. New Orleans is one of the largest domestic exporters of poultry and receives significant revenues from poultry.

Louisiana's rural communities face significant challenges to improve their local economies while producing food and fibre for local families. LSU AgCenter statistics reveal about 55 per cent of Louisiana parishes are considered non-metropolitan or rural. These parishes contribute $31 billion to our overall economy and 15 percent of the state's gross domestic product.

The production of agricultural commodities affects the economy of every parish of the state. The preservation of our farm economy is not only a matter of economic development but also our national security, concludes the article in The Advertiser.

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