Mer Rouge farmer Harper Armstrong had never been acknowledged for his successful farming abilities, his leadership in agricultural organizations and the help he does in the community - until now. Armstrong was selected as the outstanding Producer of the Year for Northeast Louisiana in Jan., and now he's been nominated for the Louisiana Radio Network “Farmer of the Year.” He and two other farmers are in the running to receive this title, which is chosen by an independent panel of judges from the University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University
Armstrong said he found out he'd been nominated soon after receiving the Producer of the Year award.
“They called me on the phone and told me,” he said. “I felt it was a great honor to just have been nominated.”
Armstrong has a background in farming that proves he knows the trade well, so well in fact, he created an organization that teaches young farmers about farming.
Armstrong is currently the president of the Morehouse Black Farmers and Landowners Association, an organization he helped to develop along with other black farmers in Morehouse and surrounding Parishes. This organization offers minority producers the latest information on farm programs and farming practices.
Armstrong is also a vice president of the National Black Growers Council, which covers minority producers from throughout the south. Through the years Mr. Armstrong has served on many committees with the Farm Service Association, the Soil Conservation Service and the LSU Ag Center, serving as an advisor to all farm producers in Morehouse Parish.
LSU AgCenter extension agent Terry Erwin has much respect for Armstrong. Erwin told the Enterprise in Jan., “ I have worked closely with Mr. Armstrong for several decades. He has always been open to assisting our research demonstration methods by volunteering his time, labor, equipment, and his land so that other farmers could learn about hands on educational methods where the farmer could actually see how a particular practice or variety or pest control would work on his or her farm to increase profitability and allow our producers to continue to feed the world.”
Armstrong said he's been a farmer for 47 years. Whether he receives this award or not, he said he will continue to do what he's doing in Mer Rouge.
“I think the reason I was nominated is because of all the work I do in the community,” he said. “I try try to help young farmers who are just getting started. We have to teach our young people everything we know. I'll continue to put in the field days out at he farm and help my community in every way I can.”