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Hometown Heroes - John Denison

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 7:15 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - An Iowa rice farmer who served over 30 years as a Calcasieu Parish School Board member is now a member of the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. John Denison lives on land settled by his ancestors.

“My grandfather homesteaded here in 1890, where we sit here among these live oak and pecan trees,” said Denison. “He came down here to work in the sawmills as well as homestead 160 acres to start farming rice.”

On his farm off Denison road north of Iowa, John Denison has not only kept up with current farming trends, he's benefited from them. He and his wife Carolyn, who suffered a stroke last year, have almost quadrupled production since 1957.

“I spent a lifetime representing the rice industry and being on the school board. I witnessed the evolution from threshing machines to modern 35 foot combines.”

Denison was first appointed to the Calcasieu Parish School Board in 1965, a crucial time for southwest Louisiana schools.

“I witnessed a lot of evolution there. Witnessed the integration of our school system. I served as president during those times and appeared in district court many times with various plans of integration and also the consolidation of the Lake Charles school district with Calcasieu.”

While Denison has made plans to keep the farm operations going in the future, he has no plans to retire anytime soon.

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