WASHINGTON D.C. (Office of Ralph Abraham) - Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, honored two residents of Louisiana's 5th Congressional District for their recent induction into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction with a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, March 20.
Dr. Abraham recognized Ray Young of Wisner and Charles "Buck" Vandersteen of Alexandria for their decades of work contributing to the success of farming and forestry in Louisiana. Both were inducted into the hall of distinction earlier this month.
A transcript of Dr. Abraham's comments can be found below:
"I rise today to recognize two of my constituents, Ray Young of Wisner and Charles 'Buck' Vandersteen of Alexandria, for their recent induction into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction.
Since growing up on his family farm, Ray Young has dedicated his life and career to farming.
"After earning a degree in Agriculture from Louisiana Tech and a Masters in Entomology from LSU, Ray went on to pioneer the 'Stale Seed Bed Conservation Tillage System,' known today as no-till and used across the South to enhance crop production.
"In 1989, Ray presented to Congress an application to charter the Federal Land Bank of North Louisiana. He has served on the board of directors for the Federal Land Bank, as the Board Chairman of the Louisiana Land Bank, and as a leader of numerous state and federal agricultural organizations.
"Ray and his family still farm cotton, soybeans, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, corn, vegetables, cattle, hay, wheat and pine trees. He is a tremendous example of a Louisiana farmer making a life and a living off his land, and his insight is always valuable to me when I’m working on agriculture policy for our nation.
"Buck Vandersteen has spent 34 years presiding over the 4,000-plus members of the Louisiana Forestry Association, a past president of the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, and a past president of the National Council of Forestry Executives.
"During that time, Buck has helped pass the Forest Productivity Program to get part of the state’s severance taxes distributed to forest landowners as cost-share for replanting. It’s recognized as one of the top programs in the nation.
"He’s been instrumental in advancing forestry education at the Technical School and University levels so that we can have sustainable and productive working forests.
"Buck continues to serve the forestry industry today, and I look forward to working with him in my role on the Working Forest Caucus on behalf of foresters across our country.
"Mr. Speaker, Louisiana is one of the top agriculture states in the nation, and I am proud to serve on the Agriculture Committee here in Washington to represent our state’s farmers, foresters and ranchers.
But the real contributions to our state’s agricultural prowess can be traced back to folks like Ray Young and Buck Vandersteen, men who have spent their lives enhancing the industry that is so vital to Louisiana.
"Congratulations once again for being inducted into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. It is an honor that is well deserved.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back."