Down on the bayou with the crawfish and cajuns

In the deep South, the “L” shape state that is home to Mike the Tiger at LSU is truly a place you should put on your bucket list to visit. Grassy marshes, water literally every where except in the houses, building and roads, people nicer than having a chocolate milkshake on a hot summer’s day.

Oak alley
Myself, Peyton and Shelby at Oak Alley Plantation.

Also, there really are such things as bayous! Being from the north, I always thought it was just something people sang about it songs you might find on Credence Clearwater Radio on Pandora. People live right on the bayous, and when you give directions, be sure to say “up the bayou” or “down the bayou” – not north, south, east or west.

I found this all out my spring break trip to Louisiana with two of my sweet grad school friends, one being from Southern Louisiana.

While we were there, not only were my eyes opened to a new style of southern culture, but also to the types of agriculture that are present in southern Louisiana. From the title of this blog post, I bet you can guess one of them, crawfish, and the other being rice.

While I was in Mobile for the SAAS conference about a month crawfishago, I did try crawfish but this time I was more interested in learning how they contribute to agriculture rather than eating them. I’ll be honest, my midwestern came out strong and believe I ate beef about every meal.

Aside from being a little freaked out because the crawfish stare back at you on your plate, I found crawfish and rice farming to be an extremely cool experience.

Peyton’s dear friend Jamie was kind enough to show us around her fiance’s crawfish and rice fields.

ponds 1
These are the ponds where the crawfish are caught.
crawfish cage
Jaime showed us a cage with crawfish in it to see how they got in with the bait.

The fields are flooded majority of the time while farmers harvest the crawfish. The ponds are about 2 feet deep and when you walk into one, you have to keep moving or you might find yourself stuck in the mud!

Crawfish burrow in the ground and find their way to the ponds for feeding. Uniquely designed cages are used to catch the crawfish. When the cages are set out, a small fish is placed in the cage to attract the crawfish. There are three holes in the cage that allow the craw fish to come in and enjoy the bait. Then, about every day or every other day, some one rides out on the peddle boat to collect the craw fish and get them ready to sell.

pump
This is the pump used to get the water off the ponds and fields as well as onto the field.

 

 

The engineering of the operation for both the crawfish and the rice comes from pumps that push the water on and takes the water off the field. These pumps are pretty amazing because they are going on 40 years old and still pumping and taking water off strong!

When it comes to the rice, it is planted by air dropping it onto the fields. Before the rice is planted, farmers take the water off of the fields and let the standing of rice get about two inches tall. After it has reach that height, the fields are flooded and the rice is ready to finish growing. When the rice is harvested, it is then taken to a mill to be sold similar to taking corn and soybeans to an elevator in the north.

rice.jpg
One of the rice fields that was just planted.

Of course, I did see some cows while I was there. Due to the heat, a majority of their cattle have Brahman influence.

The agriculture industry always amazes me every single day, and it was so neat to be able to experience a side of the industry that is new to me. I hope you were able to learn something new as well! If you have any further questions about the crawfish or rice industries, check out these links below or reach out.

Crawfish History from LSU AgCenter
Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board
LSU AgCenter – Rice

One last thing, I hope you have green on today so you do not get pinched! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Blessings,

Jess

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