Linda Benedict | 1/27/2012 2:30:17 AM
In 2012, we celebrated 125 years of research excellence at the LSU AgCenter through the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, which was established in 1887. That was the year Congress passed the Hatch Act, which provided federal funding to support agricultural experiment stations at the nation’s land-grant colleges. The year 2012 is also the 40th anniversary of the LSU AgCenter, which was established in 1972.
Scientists at the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station have achieved many milestones since the beginning, and the result has been the profitability and sustainability of agriculture in the state. In total, agriculture contributes more than $26 billion yearly to the state’s economy. Read about major milestones in research.
A consistent, enduring contribution of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station has been crop variety development. Researchers develop the crops that will successfully grow in Louisiana. This is a continual process because varieties – no matter how successful initially – over time become susceptible to the ubiquitous insect pests and diseases in Louisiana’s lush environment. Louisiana’s most successful crops include rice, sugarcane, cotton, soybeans, corn and sweet potatoes.
Developments in molecular biology, immunology and genetic engineering have given new dimensions to research on farm animal production. The AgCenter is recognized worldwide as a leader in assisted reproductive technologies for use in livestock improvement and biomedical applications. Successful animal reproduction is essential for meeting the demands of the food industry.
Our discoveries lead to start-up companies. The AgCenter is one of the nation’s best examples of how an institution of higher education can serve as a stimulus to economic growth. The Clearfield herbicide-resistant rice line developed through AgCenter research, for example, is one of the most successful university intellectual property efforts in the country. Over the past few years, royalty income from the Clearfield technology has been about $6 million annually.
Thanks to the continuing discoveries in the experiment station, Louisiana is poised for even greater prosperity in the future. For example, a new research priority is renewable energy. The AgCenter has taken a leading role by establishing the Louisiana Institute for Biofuels and Bioprocessing. Already this institute has garnered a five-year $17.2 million federal grant to speed up development of biofuels and biochemicals from sugarcane and sweet sorghum.
Our record is one of conducting research with practical, immediate application and in collaborative partnerships with business and industry. We will celebrate the anniversary in various ways:
–Watch a 6-minute video about 125 years of research on YouTube.
–The 60-minute documentary, "Louisiana's Frontline: 125 Years of Agricultural Research," aired on on LPB, Aug. 2, 7 p.m. You can watch the full documentary in two parts on YouTube. View Part 1. View Part 2.
–The spring 2012 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine is devoted to research milestones over the 125 years.
–On April 17, we celebrated the anniversary as part of the 25th anniversary of our intellectual property effort as we honored 17 new inductees into the Patent Club.
–The research stations held special ceremonies celebrating the anniversary during their 2012 field days.
–Read about the history of the Hatch Act, written by former assistant vice chancellor David Morrison.
–Read the AgCenter Lead on the history of cotton.
–Read the AgCenter Lead on the history of sugarcane.
The LSU AgCenter is one of 10 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research and extension programs that contribute to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through nutrition education and 4-H youth, family and community programs.