CEO Roundtables applications available

Applications are being accepted through March 31 for CEO Roundtables, a state-sponsored program that brings executives together to share experiences and help solve business problems.

Beginning in July, the Louisiana Economic Development department will convene roundtables of 15 to 18 qualified decision-makers from companies with annual revenue of $600,000 to $50 million and staff sizes of five to 99 people.

Sites for the CEO Roundtables will be determined based upon demand. Past roundtables have been held in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, Ruston, Schriever and Shreveport.

At each regional roundtable, a facilitator guides business leaders through problem-solving in marketing, strategic planning, organizational structure, cybersecurity, business continuity and other issues. Participants meet 10 times a year and also benefit from peer-to-peer learning and networking.

“CEO Roundtables provide a forum for Louisiana business leaders in complementary industries to share best practices and openly discuss their most challenging issues,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. "At the same time, LED can discover impediments to small business growth and bring suggested policy improvements to the administration or Legislature. Generating constructive feedback is key to continuous improvement.”

Applications are at

Proposals sought for nonprofit grants

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is accepting proposals from Louisiana nonprofits for projects that improve the health and lives of Louisianians.

The foundation will award grants through four programs:

  • New Horizons grants up to $25,000 to support innovative approaches that solve or more effectively address issues related to health, education and well-being.
  • Special Projects grants up to $100,000 as one-time investments in growing successful programs and increasing their impact.
  • Collective Impact grants up to $1 million to fund grassroots coalitions working together to solve community issues in health, education and well-being over three years.
  • Angels of Change grants up to $250,000 to fund collaborations between past honorees of The Angel Award and community partners who are working together to solve issues in health, education and well-being.

Deadlines are quarterly and require a letter of intent to apply. The deadlines for 2020 are March 1, June 1, Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. Information is as

3 La. parishes eligible for disaster loans

Agricultural producers who lost property in three Louisiana parishes contiguous to primary natural disaster areas in Mississippi could be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture physical loss loans.

The parishes are East Feliciana, St. Helena and Tangipahoa.

Emergency loans are available to those who incurred losses due to high winds and tornadoes that occurred on Dec. 16. Approval is limited to applicants who suffered severe physical losses only, including the loss of buildings and livestock. Applications are due Sept. 10.

Physical loss loans can help producers repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property essential to the success of the agricultural operation, including livestock losses. Examples of property commonly affected include essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops and hay.

Information is available at

Master Cattleman classes starting 

The LSU AgCenter will host a series of Louisiana Master Cattleman classes beginning March 10 in Many for cattle producers who want to improve beef cattle management.

Topics will include animal health; cattle nutrition; reproduction; breeding and selection; pasture agronomy and weed management; economics and marketing; beef handling and end product; and Beef Quality Assurance Certification.

Classes will be held Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for 10 weeks at the Sabine Parish AgCenter office located at 1125 W. Mississippi Ave.

A $125 tuition fee is required, which covers curriculum and handouts, meals and a Master Cattleman metal farm sign upon completion of the course.

Registration must be received by Feb. 18. For information, contact AgCenter extension agent Lee Faulk at or (318) 245-4200 or AgCenter extension agent Chris Pearce at or (318) 256-3406.

Forestry forums planned across state 

A series of forestry forums are scheduled this month across Louisiana.

  • The 30th annual Florida Parishes Forestry Forum will be held at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 18 at the University Center at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

Topics include navigating present-day markets; forestland investment and risk; ways to increase timber sales; and how to use land management and cost-share programs. Registration is $25 per person. For information or registration, contact Whitney Wallace at 985-748-9381 or

  • The LSU AgCenter Cenla Forestry Forum will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the State Evacuation Shelter in Alexandria.

Topics include extension forestry and wildlife educational programming; Natural Resources Conservation Service feral swine eradication and control pilot program; estate planning for timberland owners; Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry news on the Forest Productivity Program cost share, arson enforcement and budget updates; forest insect pests; trucking safety issues, insurance rates and team safe trucking; issues affecting forestry in Louisiana; and the Louisiana FFA program and forestry industry-based certification requirements.

Early registration is $25 per person and by Feb. 14, and $40 afterward and at the door. For information, contact Robbie Hutchins at (318) 767-3968 or

  • The LSU AgCenter and Southwest Louisiana Forestry Association will hold a forum from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 29 at the War Memorial Civic Center, 250 West 7th St., in DeRidder.

Topics include the state of Louisiana forestry; an update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service; update from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; creating a prescribed burn association; limited liability corporations; drones in forestry; and forest insects. Registration is $25 per household. The cost includes annual membership dues for the Southwest Louisiana Forestry Association.

For information, contact AgCenter agent Keith Hawkins at (337) 463-7006 or

Super Tax Day event scheduled

Capital Area United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program will be hosting Super Tax Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 15 at the East Baton Rouge Main Library at 7711 Goodwood Blvd., in Baton Rouge.

The Entergy-sponsored event will include free tax assistance by IRS-certified volunteers and free workshops on financial education and other resources. No appointments are necessary.

For tax preparation, attendees should bring a photo ID for you and your spouse, if filing jointly; Social Security Card or ITN for each family member of your household; W-2 forms for all jobs, all 1099 or 1098 forms and information on other income received; child care provider name, address and tax ID number; checking and savings account numbers; last year’s tax return; 1095-A Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, if applicable; and other relevant information about income and expenses.

If an individual has business taxes, rental income, or sold property or stocks the VITA tax preparers will not be able to provide tax service on these forms. Volunteers will also limit tax preparation to 2019 returns during Super Tax Day. Prior years can be prepared any other time at one of the VITA locations throughout the greater Baton Rouge Area.

The VITA program provides free tax preparation throughout the year to individuals in the community, especially low-income workers, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. 

For more information about VITA sites and services, call 2-1-1 or visit

The CBD Shop opens in Denham

The CBD Shop has opened at 419 S. Range Ave., Suite D, in Denham Springs.

Established in 2017, this is the third location for owners and founders Nicholle and Buddy Popp, who have locations in Mandeville and Covington. The co-owner and managing partner at the Denham Springs location is Melissa Gravios.

St. Tammany group to address housing

The Leadership St. Tammany Alumni Foundation will examine affordable housing issues affecting St. Tammany Parish during its semiannual meeting scheduled Feb. 18 at Benedicts Plantation, 1144 N. Causeway Blvd., in Mandeville.

Breakfast and registration start at 7 a.m., with the program going from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

The program will address the problem of affordable housing, highlight some creative solutions that are being implemented by nonprofit groups and governmental agencies and paint a picture for the audience of what affordable housing is and looks like.

Speakers are Keith Cunningham, Louisiana Housing Corp.; Shiloh Moates, of msh Architects; Bryan Burns, West 30s Redemption Co.; Jeff St. Romain, Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West; and Victor Smeltz, Volunteers of America and Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corp.

The event is for Leadership St. Tammany alumni, current class participants and invited guests. The event is free for “Friend Sponsors” and lifetime members and $35 for alumni, Class of 2020 and guests.

Registration is at