The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Louisiana's harvests this year include record yields for at least five crops — corn, soybeans, cotton, grain sorghum and rice. Sugarcane is still being harvested, but could be near a record.
Economist Kurt Guidry says reasons include more irrigation, better crop varieties and luck with the weather.
Rice expert John Saichuk cautions that a rice disease called blast may have cut the harvest below the federal estimate of 6,500 pounds per acre. And AgCenter surveys put the record yield at last year's 6,717 pounds per acre.
Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 11 north Louisiana parishes as disaster areas because of drought.
He says he was notified Wednesday that four — Morehouse, Richland, Union and West Carroll — are primary natural disaster areas. The other seven — Caldwell, Claiborne, East Carroll, Franklin, Lincoln, Madison and Ouachita — were named because they're are adjacent to the primary disaster area.
Livestock exhibits are a popular part of farm country fairs, but they're coming with a warning this year: Don't pet the pigs. And wash your hands well after exhibiting swine.
Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain is relaying word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It says human cases of swine flu rose last week from 29 to 158. Most of the patients were children who probably were infected while raising, displaying or visiting pigs at the fairs.
The CDC says the H3N2v virus may spread more easily to humans than is usual for swine flu viruses.