The Louisiana Radio Network recently announced Mer Rouge farmer Harper Armstrong is the winner of the 16th annual Louisiana Farmer of the Year award. Not knowing he had won, Armstrong found out at the organizations's banquet at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge Thursday night, where former Gov. Buddy Roemer served as the guest speaker.
News of Harper Armstrong's farming accomplishments in Morehouse Parish has not fallen on deaf ears. As a matter of fact, the Mer Rouge resident attributes word of mouth as the reasoning behind his two recent Farmer of the Year titles, after farming 40 years and never receiving that honor.
In Jan. Armstrong was awarded, by Sen. Francis Thompson, the Outstanding Agricultural Producer of the Year.
"I'm not doing anything different than I've done in the past," Armstrong said. "I think people are noticing what all I'm doing in the farm community and they're telling others about it."
Armstrong is currently the president of the Morehouse Black Farmers and Landowners Association. This organization, which he helped develop, gives minority producers the latest information on farm programs and farming practices that enable them to continue farming. He is also the vice president of the National Black Growers Council, which covers minority producers throughout the South.
Through the years, Armstrong has served on many committees, such as the Farm Service Association, the Soil Conservation Service and the LSU Ag Center, where he served as an advisor to farm producers in Morehouse parish.
Southern University Ag Center Extension Agent Odis Hill said he's proud to have worked many years with Armstrong.
"On behalf of LSU and Southern University Ag Center, we're very appreciative of everything Mr. Armstrong has done to work with us over the years," Hill said.
As the 2013 Farmer of the Year, Armstrong will receive $1,000 and 100 hours' use of a CaseIH Magnum tractor from title sponsor Progressive Tractor & Implement Co.
Armstrong said he's happy to have won the Farmer of the Year title, but he's also happy that people are noticing what he and other black farmers are doing in Moehouse Parish.
"This was a great honor," he said. "I think people are recognizing what I'm doing in the community. I'm going to continue doing what I've been doing and I know I'll have the support of my community and other farmers."