Master Farmer Program

Louisiana Master Farmer Program

The Louisiana Master Farmer Program helps agricultural producers address environmental concerns and enhance production through best management practices for sustainability of Louisiana agriculture.

The Louisiana Master Farmer Program helps agricultural producers voluntarily address environmental concerns while also helping them enhance the production and resource management skills they need for the continued sustainability of Louisiana agriculture. The program helps producers across a wide range of agricultural and natural resource enterprises by teaching them more about environmental stewardship, conservation-based production techniques and resource management. The program uses a comprehensive approach that includes classroom instruction, observation of LSU AgCenter research-based, best management practices and implementation of a comprehensive conservation plan. It also involves a voluntary producer certification process. A producer does not have to complete the phases in any particular order but must complete all three to be certified.

Phase 1

Producer attends classroom instruction on environmental stewardship issues related to:

  • The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972.
  • National and Louisiana water quality standards.
  • Effects of nonpoint source pollution on the coastal zone and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Best management practices, also known as BMPs.
  • Role of conservation districts in conservation planning and implementation.
  • Resource conservation planning processes.
  • Farm Bill conservation programs.
  • Spill prevention control and countermeasures, or SPCC.
  • Any other environmental or conservation-related topics, such as prescribed burning, septic systems or knowing your watershed.

Phase 2

Producer attends a conservation education field day where specific best management practices are demonstrated and discussed. This also may include pasture walks, soil quality workshops and other commodity-specific demonstrations.

Phase 3

A producer must request a Resource Management System (RMS) plan through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and their local Soil and Water Conservation District. This plan includes a comprehensive summary of all resource concerns on land which the producer has control and goals to address those concerns. Once this plan is complete and necessary practices implemented, the producer may then apply for Master Farmer Certification from the LDAF Commissioner of Agriculture and is presumed to be in compliance with Louisiana’s soil and water conservation requirements.

Continuing Education – Certification is granted for five years, with six hours of continuing education credits required per year and a current RMS-level conservation plan.

Enroll in the Master Farmer Program

Contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension Service or local USDA NRCS office.

For information regarding the Master Farmer program:

Program partners include:

  • Louisiana Cattleman’s Association
  • Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF)
  • Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation
  • Louisiana State University AgCenter
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)