La. ag economy tops $11.4 billion in 2012

Agriculture pumped $11.4 billion into the Louisiana economy in 2012, thanks to a combination of record prices and high yields in many sectors.

“It was a year of records,” John Westra, an economist with the LSU AgCenter, said during a speech Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club.

Westra unveiled the state’s Ag Summary, a compilation of statistics from 2010 and 2011.

The impact of the state’s agricultural economy grew by 6.5 percent from 2011 to 2012, in large part because of high prices for corn and soybeans. A drought that dried up much of the Midwest caused prices to spike for those commodities, while Louisiana farmers lucked out and had good weather, Westra said. At the same time, there were record high yields per acre in corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, rice, sweet potatoes and sugar cane.