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La. agriculture leader candidates talk climate, farm aid

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana’s Republican agriculture commissioner defended his performance against two farmers challenging him in the fall election.

Incumbent Mike Strain says the state’s agriculture and forestry industries have doubled in value during his tenure. He says he’s streamlined the department he took over in 2008, paid down debt and held prominent national positions.

He’s a veterinarian. He faces four opponents on the Oct. 12 ballot. Two Democrats squared off with Strain at a candidate forum Monday. They’re New Orleans vegetable and flower farmer Marguerite Green and Lettsworth tree farmer Peter Williams.

Green says Louisiana’s agriculture commissioner needs to do more to help farmers respond to climate change, such as diversifying crops and selling more products locally.

Williams says farmers need more support and resources from the agriculture department.

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