Federal funds OKd for Bollinger cutters

Bollinger Shipyards will build four more Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters for the United States Coast Guard at its Lockport facility with funding approved in a federal spending bill for fiscal year 2021.

The approval increases the total number of funded boats to 64.

The program has had a total economic impact of $1.2 billion since inception and directly supports 650 jobs in southeast Louisiana, and indirectly supports 1,690 jobs from operations and capital investment. It has an annual economic impact on gross domestic product of $202 million, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Maritime Administration on the economic importance of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry. Bollinger sources over 271,000 different items for the cutters, consisting of 282 million components and parts from 965 suppliers in 37 states.

“More than 600 of our 1,500-plus employees have important roles related to the FRC program," said Bollinger Shipyards President and CEO Ben Bordelon

In addition to construction of the Fast Response Cutters, Bollinger is now participating in industry studies for five programs, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter program, the U.S. Navy’s Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform program, Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance program, Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle program and  Light Amphibious Warship program.

Agencies developing crop grower program

The LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry are developing an information program on water testing and management to help specialty crop growers meet federal and market-driven requirements.

The program will target 200 Louisiana fruit and vegetable growers in improving the safety of their commodities. The program is funded by a $59,370 specialty crop block grant from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The effort is being led by Allison Dumas, the forestry department's agriculture specialist program manager for federal produce safety, and AgCenter food safety specialist Achuyt Adhikari. 

Dumas said large farms have the resources to undertake training and implement regulatory and market-driven food safety requirements related to water testing, but small and medium-sized farms have limited technical and financial resources.

The program, rolling out this month, will provide information on the safe use of agricultural water in growing, harvesting and handling fresh produce along with water analysis testing kits, free water analysis and recommendations on agricultural water quality mitigation practices.

The federal Food Safety Modernization Act requires farmers to take preventive measures against food safety risks. While it exempts many smaller operations from various aspects of some rules, once the program is widespread, produce buyers will require the same safety procedures of all growers regardless of size.

Keep La. Beautiful seeking grant applicants

Keep Louisiana Beautiful is accepting letters of intent until March 5 from organizations seeking funding from its 2021-2022 Healthy Community Grant program.

KLB funds projects and programs that have a measurable, sustainable impact on one or more focus areas: litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and reusing, litter enforcement and environmental education. Reimbursement grants from $2,500 to $8,000 are available to statewide nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, schools and universities, and Keep America Beautiful affiliates.

Letters of intent can be submitted via email at keeplouisianabeautiful.org/grants or by mail to 902 Coffee St., Mandeville, LA 70448 no later than March 5.  After a review and selection process, invited applicants will submit a formal grant application via an online portal by April 15. The funding cycle for the Healthy Communities Grant will run from Aug. 1, 2021, to May 1, 2022.