Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain took questions from the media Tuesday after filing to run for reelection at the Secretary of State’s Office. Strain discussed a variety of issues from climate change to trade deal with China.
Strain says some of the issues Louisiana farmers are now seeing is the ability to grow crops in a latitude further north than the crops’ typical for the area. “We’re seeing that across the United States and in Canada and so one we’re looking at such things as olives and avocados and those other types of marketable crops.”
Another big issue the department has faced the last four year has been the approval of medical marijuana. Strain says his department began to tackle tentative rules and regulations for hemp crops within a week of legislative passage, measures that are being taken in advance of the feds publishing their rules for the crop.
On an international level, new trade deals have been inked with various countries, but it’s the trade war with China that has many farmers in Louisiana stuck in the middle. “We’re putting as much pressure as we can on our Chinese friends right, but they are going to come to the table, they have to come to the table, it’s hurting their economy terribly, and we are ready to sign a deal but it has to be a fair deal.”
Louisiana accounts for one percent of the soybean production in the US, with 60% of the national export being sent to China.