Local farm to be featured on ‘America’s Heartland’ show

Blanchard Brothers Farms of western St. Mary Parish will be featured on an upcoming episode of “America’s Heartland,” the long-running magazine-style, half-hour series produced by KVIE, Sacramento, Calif.

“America’s Heartland” celebrates the nation’s agriculture and agricultralists.

Blanchard Brothers Farms is a participant in the Master Farmer program, a voluntary program that helps educate producers to manage their natural resources and address existing resource concerns, according to Patra Ghergich, district conservationist.

Ghergich said there are three parts to the program: attending a class on water quality issues and regulations and what conservation practices could be used to help reduce agricultural production’s negative impacts on Louisiana’s environment; touring a “model farm” or a farm that has already addressed all identified resource concerns and are willing to educate other farmers; and meeting with the USDA-NRCS to identify existing resource concerns throughout the farm and develop a plan to address those concerns with conservation practices.

Once all resource concerns have been addressed and the conservation plan has been completed, Ghergich said, the farm can submit an application to become a master farmer to the Commissioner of Agriculture. They then receive priority for Farm Bill programs and are set apart from other farmers because they have taken the initiative to reduce negative environmental impacts before they are mandated to do so through new laws and regulations.

The “America’s Heartland” episode is tentatively scheduled to air this fall. It is distributed by American Public Television.

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