Effective Monday, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Radio Network has merged its farm broadcasting operations with the Louisiana Radio Network’s agrinews division to create one of the largest farm radio networks in the South.

Now known as the Louisiana Farm Bureau Agrinews Radio Network, the combined entity will have 42 affiliates in Louisiana and Mississippi. In a prepared announcement, LRN President Jim Engster said the merger represents the largest consolidation of Louisiana stations carrying farm news.

“Over the years we’ve worked closely with the Farm Bureau to provide our listeners with timely and accurate farm news and commodity prices,” Engster said. “This merger gives us both an opportunity to improve our farm news presence across the state.”

LRN launched the Louisiana Agrinews Network in 1976, offering several daily agriculture reports for the state’s farmers that was produced in cooperation with the Farm Bureau. In 1998 the Farm Bureau began the Louisiana Farm Bureau Radio Network with 22 affiliates statewide.

In 2008 the organizations began sharing farm news and commodities prices.

“This is an opportunity for us to increase public awareness of the important role farmers and ranchers play in our daily lives,” said Ronnie Anderson, president of the Louisiana Farm Bureau. “It’s also a chance to showcase the economic impact that farming has on our state while keeping residents updated on things going on in their communities.”

Neil Melancon, general manager of the Farm Bureau network, will share broadcasting duties with Don Molino, LRN’s farm director since 1987.

“We’ll each have the ability to get out into the field more often, bringing our listeners a wider range of stories than ever before,” Molino said. “For our affiliates, it means more concise broadcasts and greater local revenue-generating potential.”

The Louisiana Farm Bureau Agrinews Radio Network will host a companion website with podcasts of its daily radio reports as well as “The Bottom Line,” Melancon’s segment that airs on the Farm Bureau’s weekly TV show, “This Week in Louisiana Agriculture.” The site, www.LFBARN.com, will launch the week of Aug. 13.

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