David J. Boethel, Morgan, Johnny W. | 4/18/2007 11:14:48 PM
Family and friends of the late Bob R. Jones recently celebrated the renaming of the LSU AgCenter’s Idlewild Research Station to honor his legacy.
The celebration included an April 12 reception at the research station near Clinton, which was officially renamed the Bob R. Jones Idlewild Research Station by the LSU Board of Supervisors late last year.
Speakers at the reception reminded those in attendance how important Jones felt the research at the station was to the state. Jones’ son, Tom "Spec" Jones IV, said his dad was a cattleman and was instrumental in the creation of the research station.
"The state owned the property and was planning to develop the land as a state park, but my dad was a friend of then Gov. Earl K. Long, and he persuaded the governor to veto that bill and instead donate the land to LSU," Tom Jones said, adding that his father was one of LSU’s biggest supporters.
The Bob R. Jones Idlewild Research Station sits on an 1,800-acre tract of land with rolling hills and hardwood bottoms. The topography of the land played a major role in the persistence of Bob Jones that the land needed to be used by the university.
His daughter, Ann Reiley Jones, who was also in attendance at the reception said her father appreciated the value of agricultural research.
"My dad never actually worked for the LSU AgCenter, but as an LSU graduate and a Texas A&M veterinary medicine student, he understood the importance of having a research station that was close to the campus," she said.
Tom Jones also said his father was instrumental in bringing some of the first registered Brahman cattle into the state and was also involved in developing the Gelbray breed, which is a cross between the Brahman and Gelbvieh breeds.
Dr. David Boethel, an LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of its Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, thanked all who attended the reception and extended special thanks to Dr. H. Rouse Caffey, LSU AgCenter chancellor emeritus, for playing a vital role in making the name change a reality.
"This station has been renamed the Bob R. Jones Idlewild Research Station in honor of a generous LSU AgCenter promoter and contributor," Boethel said. "The impetus for this change came from many people, but one who saw it through to reality was our former chancellor Dr. Caffey."
Boethel said this name change for the research station is one of several modifications that are coming to the station. He told the group about the wildlife research now being conducted at the station and announced what is now in the works.
"One of the things that we are looking at doing here at the station is to create an endowed fund in order to support wildlife research and education programs for Louisiana, and the region as well, which would also include southern Mississippi," Boethel said.
Boethel, who is originally from Texas, said he would like to see a program here that could be modeled after the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M.
"That program operates on about 25 percent state funds, and the rest comes in the form of private donations from people who have a love for wildlife and the outdoors," he said.
In addition to the name change at the Clinton location, two other LSU AgCenter research stations also received new names during the past year.
The former St. Gabriel Research Station is now officially the Sugar Research Station, and the former Citrus Research Station at Port Sulphur has now become the Coastal Area Research Station. The focus of that station has changed from citrus research to coastal restoration issues.
For more information on LSU AgCenter programs visit its Web site at www.lsugacenter.com.