Harper Armstrong Named Louisiana Farmer of the Year

By: Amos S. Eno
Posted on:03/25/2013 Updated:03/29/2013

Armstrong, a Morehouse Parish farmer for over forty years, was chosen from a group of three finalists as Louisiana Farmer of the year in 2013 in a competition sponsored by the Louisisana AgriNews Network, the Louisiana Farm Bureau, the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The other finalists were Donald Berken, of Welsh, in Jefferson Parish, and Gerald Wood, of St. James, in St. James Parish.

Operating on around 2,500 acres outside of Bastrop, Armstrong has farmed corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat, although the crops he grows varies year to year with market prices. For example, his farm has primarily been a cotton operation until last year, when he stopped growing cotton and grew corn, soybeans and wheat instead. In his 47 years farming, there have been many technological advances that changed the farming landscape. Bigger and better equipment has double, or in some places tripled, crops yields.

Armstrong was born into a farming family, and has loved every aspect of farming, from working outside to driving and repairing tractors, since he was a child. His farm continues to be a family operation today. His wife Louis manages the farms finances and his daughter Ashley works side by side with him in the field. Asked when he would retire, Armstrong said, “farmers don’t retire, they die. So I guess I’ll be doing something I love, farming, for the rest of my life.”

For 20 years, Armstrong supplemented his income by working for Southern Natural Gas, but today his work outside of his own farmer is to help the broader farming community. He is the assistant chairman of the National Black Growers Council, President of the Morehouse Black Farmers and Landowners Association, and a board member of the Ag Advisory Board and the Morehouse Activity Center.

Armstrong received $1,000 and 100 hours use of a Case IH Magnum Tractor for being named Louisiana Farmer of the Year. As finalists, Berken and Wood each received $500.