Anders attends agriculture meeting

Published 12:03 am Monday, February 1, 2010

VIDALIA — It’s important to keep up to date with political and agricultural trends, and Rep. Andy Anders recently took a trip to Orlando, Fla., to do just that.

Anders traveled to Orlando for the Eighth Annual State Legislative Agricultural Chairs Summit, and he said the summit was an opportunity to learn about agricultural issues around the nation that could make their way to Concordia Parish.

“There are so many things coming down the pipelines dealing with water rights and animal rights,” Anders said. “With some of these things, if we don’t build a fence now I can see problems coming in down the road.”

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Water rights in rural areas were particularly discussed, he said.

“Lake St. John is a perfect example now that so much of it is populated, and there are still farmers who own land on the water’s edge, so who has the right to the water?,” he said.

“In a drought situation, you are having to pump, and if somebody comes along and said, ‘We have a right to this water,’ you lose the crop.”

Likewise, national laws have been passed that restrict what kind and even if fertilizer can be used around certain lakes.

“In Oklahoma, a local municipality passed a resolution restricting that and that put the farmers out of business,” Anders said. “We need to make sure the State of Louisiana and (Department of Agriculture and Forestry) Commissioner Mike Strain have control of that and not the local government.”

On the animal rights front, Anders said he heard about the proposed ban on the slaughter of horses, and how in some places people are fighting it. In some states the practice is already illegal.

“There are a lot of people who take very good care of horses, but sometimes somebody can’t care for them anymore and for whatever reason they can’t sell their horses, so they give them to somebody and they end up in inhumane hands,” he said. “It’s really no different than the slaughter of cattle or anything else, if you ask me.”

Anders is the chairman of the Louisiana House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.