Richard Fontenot, a farmer from Ville Platte, La., was named the 2008 Louisiana Farmer of the Year at the 11th annual awards program and banquet held March 7 at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, La.

The fifth generation farmer produces rice, crawfish and soybean crops on 2,300 acres in Evangeline Parish.

He currently serves as Farm Bureau Parish president and is a member of the USA Rice Federation and of the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association.

Fontenot was also a 2007 Louisiana Farmer of the Year nominee.

As winner, Fontenot receives a $1,000 cash award.

Also nominated were Thomas LaBorde, a soybean, cattle and corn producer from Hamburg, La., and Eric Morrow, a strawberry farmer from Pontchatoula, La.

The winner was chosen by an independent panel of judges from Mississippi State University and the University of Arkansas.

The Farmer of the Year program is sponsored by the Louisiana Network in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, LSU Ag Center, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, the Louisiana Dodge Dealers and First South Farm Credit.