Schneider and Levy leave AgCenter posts

Olivia McClure, Gould, Frances I., Blanchard, Tobie M.  |  11/9/2017 9:39:36 PM

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LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Ray Schneider examines plants in south Louisiana. Photo by Mark Claesgens
LSU AgCenter soybean specialist Ronnie Levy speaks at a field day at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center. Photo by Olivia McClure

Two longtime LSU AgCenter faculty members whose research and outreach efforts helped advance the Louisiana agriculture industry have retired.

State soybean specialist Ronnie Levy and plant pathologist Ray Schneider both took part in several projects funded by the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board.

Levy, an agronomist, who worked at the AgCenter for 38 years, spent the early years of his extension career as a 4-H agent in Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis parishes. In 1986, he became a county agent in Acadia Parish, and in 2008, he was named soybean specialist.

In his most recent role, Levy appeared on the program of countless field days and producer meetings to give updates on the state’s soybean crop. He also undertook projects aimed at identifying management strategies that would help farmers boost soybean production. This included studies on planting dates, seeding rates and soil fertility.

Levy also was involved in the AgCenter on-farm demonstration program, which allows researchers to study how well crop varieties perform on Louisiana farms.

Todd Spivey replaced Levy as the state soybean specialist. Levy will remain with the AgCenter on a part-time basis as the interim director of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program.

Schneider came to the AgCenter in 1984 and had worked at other institutions before then. In 2004, he was the first to identify Asian soybean rust, which can lead to major yield losses, in Louisiana and all of North America.

Schneider’s research on the destructive disease drew international attention. His work led to improved fungicide efficacy and better methods for monitoring populations of the pathogen that causes Asian soybean rust.

With help from the numerous graduate students he trained, Schneider studied soybean disease management strategies from many angles. Among his most recent Soybean Board-funded projects were optimizing fungicide usage, learning more about the genetics of the pathogen that causes Cercospora leaf blight and using foliar iron applications to suppress Cercospora.

Olivia McClure

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