CROWLEY, La. — Louisiana rice farmers are invited to learn about the ins and outs of weathering the current farm crises at an informational meeting scheduled for 9 a.m., Dec. 2, at the Acadia Parish Extension Office in Crowley, La.

"We want to address the financial crisis facing Louisiana rice farmers, particularly those in the southwestern part of the state," said Dr. Johnny Saichuk, a rice specialist with the LSU AgCenter.

Saichuk said Louisiana rice farmers are facing low market prices, adverse weather conditions and an unfavorable federal farm bill.

"This is a desperate situation," Saichuk said. "This meeting is designed to help farmers make decisions, look at options and understand the farm programs."

Dr. Kurt Guidry, an economist with the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge, said the program will help answer questions producers have regarding what to do for next year given the financial crunch they're facing this fall.

Guidry said farmers will have to decide what crops to plant and how much of each to plant. "They'll have to decide the most profitable way to do things next year," he said.

The economist will present information on the options producers may have considering the current and projected market conditions and government programs. Other speakers will cover additional aspects of farm financial management and federal farm programs.

"While producers look to government programs to help with income support, there's really no good answer to poor prices," Guidry said of current depressed on-farm prices for rice.

"The cure for the rice industry is for prices to go up," he added. "In the meantime, we have to work with what we have and help producers maximize their situation."

Dr. Gerald Giesler, an economist with the LSU AgCenter, said the AgCenter will operate a special farm-planning program known as Farm Analysis and Resource Management — FARM, for short — in southwest Louisiana this winter.

Giesler said the program will provide producers with help to deal with their individual situations. "We're going to help the farmers get through this," he said.