College of Ag News

Linda Benedict  |  3/19/2015 9:05:07 PM

Plant pathologist wins award

Raymond Schneider, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, received the American Phytopathological Society’s Southern Division Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award at its annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 2.

Schneider has been involved in disease management strategies for soybeans for much of his 40-year career. He was the first person in North America to find Asian soybean rust in 2004.

Schneider said he believes the relationship between plant nutrition and disease to be the next battleground in combating plant diseases, and he and his graduate students are devoting much of their research in this area. This type of research also serves as good preparation for his students.

“We have a nationwide reputation for conducting mission-oriented research. Our students are sought after because they have the thought process and a strong overview of the research process,” he said. Craig Gautreaux

Mosquito control group endows entomology scholarship

The Louisiana Mosquito Control Association (LMCA) has established an endowed scholarship in the LSU AgCenter Department of Entomology. LMCA is endowing a total of four scholarships across Louisiana, including the one at LSU.

Tim Schowalter, entomology department head, said with Louisiana’s history of insectborne diseases, the importance of medical entomology is crucial when finding ways to manage insects.

“The biggest benefit of the scholarship is the substantial increase in graduate stipends, which creates additional recruiting incentives for the top students,” Schowalter said.

The LMCA scholarship endowment is open to LSU graduate students studying entomology with a focus on mosquito research. The student must be full-time and achieve a 3.0 grade point average or higher. The first scholarship will be awarded in the spring of 2016. Brandy Orlando

LSU, Southern agriculture group hooks up with Haiti

Carl Motsenbocker and a group from Louisiana State University and Southern University returned from Haiti in January with ideas on how to engage LSU students and the community in developing sustainable agriculture projects in the Caribbean country.

Motsenbocker, a horticulture professor in the LSU College of Agriculture, traveled to Haiti with Ann Savage, an LSU AgCenter sustainable agriculture extension associate, Mile Berhane, a research associate with Southern University, and Anna Claire Ferchaud, a College of Agriculture senior studying natural resource ecology and management. The group left Baton Rouge for Haiti on Jan. 1 and was there for 10 days.

Motsenbocker describes the trip as a sustainable agriculture excursion to look at the local food systems in Haiti, assess needs at three Haitian sites and work with collaborators to support agricultural development. The group was also exploring opportunities for student and faculty exchanges.

“One of my goals is to develop a sustainable agriculture and food systems class that I will teach in spring 2016, with an optional trip to Haiti during spring break,” Motsenbocker said.

LSU has several projects in Haiti with multiple goals engaging faculty and students from various LSU colleges. “The project with the College of Agriculture is to collaborate with locals and provide the education and the tools that may be needed and to support their work in their communities,” he said. Tobie Blanchard

Students trade tape measures for body scanners

Apparel design students in the LSU College of Agriculture are trading in their tape measures for new technologies. Students in Casey Stannard’s apparel product design class were using a 3- and 4-D body scanner to scan models to get quick and accurate measurements in just six seconds.

“I’m really trying to get the students used to the concept, so when they do go out to a more high-tech company, they will at least know what a body scan looks like,” Stannard said.

Students can take the measurements from the scanner and plug them into computer- aided pattern-making software. From there they can create garments that will have a better fit on the model than if it had been done by hand.

“Last semester I took a pattern-making class, and we did it all by hand. And doing it in the computer is a lot faster; you are able to produce more garments,” said Nicole Stephens, a junior in apparel design.

Assistant professor Laurel Romeo was operating the scanner and will use the scans of the models as part of a research project.  Tobie Blanchard

Ag consultants award three $2,000 scholarships

The Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association presented $2,000 scholarships to three LSU College of Agriculture students.

The undergraduate scholarship – funded by Young and Young Farms, RiceTec and CPS – was given to Luke Habetz, an agribusiness major. Matthew Foster, who graduated from LSU in 2012 with a B.S. in plant and soil systems, received a graduate student scholarship. He is pursuing a master’s degree in agronomy with a concentration in weed science. His scholarship was funded by Dow AgriScience. The Ph.D. scholarship was presented to Maryam Shahrtash, who is studying plant health in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology. Her scholarship is funded by the Louisiana Land Bank. Rick Bogren

Exchange set up with Slovak University

Thirteen students from Slovak University of Agriculture visited LSU as part of a partnership between their university and the LSU AgCenter and LSU College of Agriculture.

The collaboration started last year when Louisiana faculty visited the campus in Nitra, Slovakia. This past fall their faculty visited LSU.

“We want to establish a long-term relationship between the two universities with research, teaching, study abroad and outreach opportunities,” said David Picha, director of LSU AgCenter International Programs.

College of Agriculture students will visit the Slovakian university in June. The university has about 10,000 students and is the only university offering an agriculture curriculum in Slovakia.

“We are inspired by the spirit of your campus,” said Lucia Richterová, a Ph.D. student studying economics and management. “This is what I envy. I wish to have a stronger student life, and we hope to bring that back to our campus.”

One striking difference between the two universities is students in Slovakia do not pay tuition. The Slovak students also said they have a grading system that goes from A to E, and their grade point averages are weighted opposite of the U.S. system. In Slovakia a 1.0 is an A average.

“The biggest value is that they can build this international network that they can have for the rest of their lives,” said Ivana Tregenza, coordinator with AgCenter International Programs.

When the LSU students visit Nitra in June, they will also go to Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Tobie Blanchard

Paper dresses raise awareness for heart disease

In four hours, LSU College of Agriculture Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising students turned paper hearts into dresses that were works of art. Six students participated in the American Heart Association’s Hemline for Hearts event at the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge in January. The students are members of the student fashion and merchandising organization Hemline@LSU. The competition raises awareness of the danger of heart disease and stroke to women but also helps the students showcase their talents. Tobie Blanchard

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