FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2019
Contact: Kaleb Harmon
Louisiana Democratic Party Releases Statement on Mike Strain Candidacy
Baton Rouge, LA – On Tuesday, commissioner Mike Strain officially filed his candidacy for Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry commissioner.
“We’re proud to have strong Democrats running to fight for an agricultural industry that family farms can thrive in, businesses can grow in, and Louisiana can excel in,” Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party said. “These Democrats stand up for Louisiana’s small family farms and have a proven record of working for our farmers, our industries, and the issues and initiatives that are most critical to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Mike Strain has made it clear that his priority is not to Louisiana’s agriculture community and not to the laws our Democratically elected legislature passed. We are confident that, come January, we’ll have someone serving as the Agriculture Commissioner who’s committed to the people of Louisiana, not actively working against them.”
While serving as Agriculture Commissioner, Mike Strain has led the department through one failure after another. Strain wholeheartedly endorsed the Trump trade war that led to a 78% drop in U.S. soybean exports. Louisiana’s most valuable crop is soybeans making up $564,720,000 of our farming economy.
Strain also failed to provide for our farmers who were hurt from the trade war. While he sat by and did nothing, more than half of Trump’s trade-war aid went to the top 10% largest farmers. 90% of Louisiana’s farms are small family farms, meaning most farmers in our state saw little help in recovering from the devastating trade war thanks to Strain’s complacency.
Strain has proven his incompetence as Agriculture Commissioner after spending four years trying to implement medical marijuana farming in Louisiana. The process was delayed by years due to his inability to successfully manage his department or follow the rules the state legislature laid out. He failed to find a third party willing to test the medical marijuana strains, overstepped his authority as the department’s commissioner after issuing emergency orders according to the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee, and placed an unnecessary burden on Louisiana’s colleges and universities who are legally allowed to grow the crop by burying them under endless amounts of red tape.
In August of 2018, Strain endorsed Trump’s trade war claiming that it will leave Louisiana “in a much better place” and that “we have to stand up and support the President and the administration”.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced that American soybean sales from America to China fell from $14.2B in 2016 to $3.1B in 2018, a 78% drop.
According to the USDA, soybeans are Louisiana’s most valuable crop taking up 1,340,000 acres of farmland and making up $564,720,000 of Louisiana’s farming economy.
In June of 2019, the Environmental Working Group discovered that 54% of federal trade-war aid went to just 10% of all farmers. The USDA’s farming census also found that 90% of Louisiana farms are small family farms.
In 2015, Louisiana passed a law that allowed Louisiana colleges and universities to grow medical marijuana on campus. Since then, as Agriculture Commissioner, Mike Strain failed to find a third party group to test medical marijuana strains, issued emergency orders against LSU AgCenter which was later ruled against by the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee, and placed extreme requirements on LSU AgCenter who argued were too hard to adhere to.