LSU Ag Center sponsors forest landowner forum during Ag Expo

Michael Blazier, Van Osdell, Mary Ann  |  1/28/2008 11:26:47 PM

News Release Distributed 01/25/08

The South remains the wood basket of the world, said William Hubbard, southern regional extension forester from Athens, Ga., at the Forest Landowner Forum held in West Monroe Jan. 19.

He asked the group to encourage youngsters to become interested in the land by spending more time in the woods and less in the game room.

The LSU AgCenter was one of the event sponsors.

Dr. Michael Blazier, assistant professor at the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station near Homer, said Louisiana has the potential to raise nonfood crops for biofuels.

“Forests have a lot of good characteristics for biofuel products,” Blazier said.

Switchgrass has been planted in tandem with trees on the research station, and Blazier is evaluating it as a source of biomass for producing ethanol and how it grows around and among a thinned stand of loblolly pine trees.

He said switchgrass is a perennial, which requires low amounts of fertilizer, requires little or no management, is tolerant to drought and floods, grows well in partial shade and produces high yields.

“Louisiana is well-suited with its great location, climate and infrastructure for biofuels,” Blazier said.

Carbon credit opportunities for forest landowners were addressed by Dr. Eric Taylor, an extension forestry specialist with Texas A&M University, Overton, Texas.

He discussed the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a voluntary, legally binding integrated trading system to reduce emissions of all six major greenhouse gases.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain explained the composition of his department and his budget.

“We provide assistance to youth involved in school agriculture programs such as 4-H,” he said. “We will harness the power of our land-grant universities and ag centers.”

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Contact: Michael Blazier at (318) 927-2578 or mblazier@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or mvanosdell@agcenter.lsu.edu

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