Twenty five FFA teams from the area competed at a Forestry Career Development Event at the Kisatchie Ranger District Office Oct. 5. The top five teams qualified to compete at the State Competition Oct. 13 in Grant Parish. Over 100 students competed at the event, representing Beauregard, Vernon, Rapides, Grant, Natchitoches, Winn and LaSalle Parishes. The purpose of the event is to encourage student interest in and knowledge of the forrest of Louisiana, the south and the nation. Scientific management of Louisiana’s forest lands ensures a bounty of forest products, outdoor recreation, wildlife and soil and watershed protection for future generations of the state.
The event was divided into six sections:
- Tree Identification
- Measurement of Standing Trees-Saw Timber
- Forestry Tool Identification
- Compass Pacing Practicum
- Map Reading Practicum
- Written Test
First Place: Calvin
Second Place: Lakeview High School
Third Place: Natchitoches Central High School
Fourth Place: DeRidder
Fifth Place: DeRidder
Overall High Point Individual: Anthony Adams, Calvin
High Point Individual (Equipment Identification): Preston Tibet, NCHS
High Point Individual (Saw Logs): Raegan Wascom, East Beauregard
High Point Individual (Tree Identification): Preston Tibet, NCHS
High Point Individual (Thinning): Anthony Adams, Calvin
High Point Individual (Map Reading): Gabby Hasley, Winnfield
High Point Individual (Compass and Pacing): Kohl Ratliff, East Beauregard
Joshua Adams, a representative of the Agricultural Sciences and Forestry school at Louisiana Tech University, presented the Overall High Point Individual, Anthony Adams, with a $1,000 scholarship. WestRock Manufacturing Supplier sponsored the event, providing food and trophies to the students.
The impact of forestry and forest product industries in the economy in 2015 was $10.8 billion, according to the latest LSU AgCenter figures. Forests cover 14 million acres, about 50% of Louisiana’s land area, making it the state’s greatest single land use. Fifty-nine of the state’s 64 parishes contain land capable of producing sufficient timber to support forest-industry activities as well as provide habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunity, scenic beauty, and all the other environmental benefits timberlands provide.
Forestry-related employment accounted for 45,000 jobs in the state. Forest industries manufacturing employers in Louisiana provides about 13,714 jobs in 2016. Only a few years ago, the industry employed about 25,000 people. In addition, about 8,000 people are employed in the harvesting and transportation of timber.