On Monday, the Vermilion Parish School Board moved to cancel the agricultural lease on Section 16, Township 13 South, Range 2 West, and to convert the land to a hunting lease.
The tenant, Kirby Trahan, currently holds about 380 acres and said he tried to grow rice on 112 acres, but was unable to because of salt on the land.
“This year,” Trahan said, “I was ready to get in, but the water was there at my back door. You have to at least put water three times on your rice to get it where you want it. I assumed the water was good at the time. Well, I come back with the second one, and it didn’t pay me, sir.”
Prior to the June 14 meeting, any attempts to contact Trahan were ignored, and Board Member Anthony Fontana sought to cancel the lease at the June 3 school board meeting because of Trahan’s “noncompliance and noncooperation.” The original agreement for the end of the lease was set for the end of 2011.
Following Trahan’s explanation as to why he could not cultivate any rice on the land, Fontana moved on to ask why Trahan did not return any phone calls the school board made to him.
“I’m wrong there, sir. I’m guilty. I’m sorry. If I could do it over, I’d do it over, but I’m wrong, sir,” Trahan said.
Conversation led to turning the land into a hunting lease when Board Member Angela Faulk agreed with Fontana that the land is not suitable for growing crop.
Board Attorney Calvin Woodruff said, “If you decided to convert it, we need to advertise it, we need approval, we need to get the ad going–get it in the paper. I’d like to run it a month, but it’s not required to run a month–to make sure we get the word out. So, you’d look at probably the first meeting in August before you could award it.”
Board Member Ricky LeBouef asked Trahan if he would be interested in leasing the land again as a hunting lease, and Trahan said he would.
After discussion of turning the land into a hunting lease, Fontana made a movement, “to terminate the lease–effective Jan. 1–convert it to a hunting and grazing lease, and put it out for bid.”
Board Member Chris Mayard seconded the motion, and all but Board Members Bill Searle and Ricky LeBouef agreed to cancel the agricultural lease.
At the end of the meeting, Woodruff and Supervisor of Section 16 Lands Kirk Soileau said there will still need to be a discussion on the length of the hunting lease for this particular piece of land.