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Master Farmer Program

Master Farmer Program

John Pitre
State Resource Conservationist

The Louisiana Master Farmer Program helps agricultural producers voluntarily address the environmental concerns related to production agriculture, as well as enhance their production and resource management skills that will be critical for the continued viability of Louisiana agriculture. This program involves producers becoming more knowledgeable about environmental stewardship, resource-based production and resource management through a voluntary producer certification process.

The Master Farmer Program began in 2001 as a way for farmers to learn up-to-date, research-based conservation practices in a comprehensive manner. It is a partnership of five agricultural entities – NRCS, Louisiana State University Ag Center, Louisiana Farm Bureau,Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association andLouisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, which has the authority by law through the Commissioner of Agriculture to approve the certification.

A Louisiana Master Farmer should:
 Louisiana Master Farmer Program
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and dedication to environmental stewardship
  • Demonstrate mastery levels of conservation-based production
  • Demonstrate resource management through the implementation of a comprehensive conservation plan
  • Promote the success of local-level conservation to the agricultural community and public and private interests

Featured Story - July 2011 NRCS Louisiana Conservation Update:

Louisiana Master Farmer Story

Cecil Ramagos
Iberville Parish, Louisiana

“Being a Certified Master Farmer lets everyone know that you understand the basics of being a good land steward and are utilizing this knowledge on your farming operation. Certified Master Farmers also receive additional points when competing for Environmental Quality Incentives Program financial assistance. ”
- Cecil Ramagos

Getting an Edge in Farming

Iberville Parish Farmer Certified as Master Farmer

Cecil Ramagos, a third generation sugarcane farmer, carries on his family’s farming tradition with help from his daughter, Katie; sons Matt, Andy, and Ben; and wife Sally on their 1,479 acre sugarcane farm in Iberville Parish.

In farming it is important to have an “edge.” Ramagos’ edge is the Master Farmer Program. Cecil Ramagos was certified as a Louisiana Master Farmer in 2011.

To become a Master Farmer, the farmer must complete a Resource Management System (RMS) plan on their operation. Ramagos worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Lower Delta Soil and Water Conservation District to develop his RMS plan. His plan addresses crop residue, crop rotation, grade stabilization structures, precision land forming, nutrient and pest management, and field borders.

“The Master Farmer Program allows farmers to understand what they are doing on their farms and makes sure that the right practices are being planned and implemented,” said NRCS District Conservationist, Jerry Hall.

Read More... July 2011 Conservation Update (PDF; 1.6 MB)

What is Conservation Planning

Conservation planning is a voluntary natural resource problem solving and management process. The NRCS objective in conservation planning is to help the client achieve sound use and management of soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources to prevent their degradation, assure their sustained use and productivity, and comply with regulatory requirements while considering economic and social needs.

...More Info

Master Farmer Program Publications and Forms

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat (PDF; 231 KB)

Conservation Handbill - What is Conservation Planning Full Version Document (PDF; 231 KB)

Master Farmer Program Operation and Procedures Manual (PDF; 55 KB)

Application for Louisiana Master Farmer Certification (PDF; 39 KB)

Louisiana Master Farmer Certification of Land Control (PDF; 83 KB)