La. Rice Research Board funds new AgCenter research chair

At its November meeting, the Louisiana Rice Research Board provided an additional $500,000 earmarked for a research chair, bringing the total to $2 million set aside from Colombian Free Trade Agreement money that must be earmarked for rice research in Louisiana.

The additional funding establishes the endowment as a super chair, the only one in the LSU AgCenter and one of only a few in the LSU system.

“This will be the first one of this magnitude for the LSU AgCenter,” said Dr. Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter associate vice president for plants, soils and water resources.

Interest generated by the account will be used to enhance efforts at the rice station, and the board’s allocation will not be touched.

“These funds will exist in perpetuity to support the research at the rice research station,” Leonard said.

The board allocated $1.5 million earlier in 2019 for the chair. That included $1 million in January and $500,000 at the annual field day at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in June. Leonard said most super chairs have been supplemented by the Board of Regents, but this chair is totally funded by the LRRB.

Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said the money will be used to pay for research projects.

“It took years of hard work by a lot of people to get this established,” Groth said.

Research money on all levels is decreasing, Groth said, and the chair funds will be a significant boost to research at the rice research station.

“It will go to overall station support,” Groth said, explaining that the board will be briefed on how it will be spent. “We’ll keep track of what it’s spent on and present that information to the board each year.”

Richard Fontenot, board chairman, said planning for the chair began in 2015.

“This endowment has been in the works for a long time and now that it is official, I feel good knowing the rice industry will continue to benefit from world-class research that will come out of LSU thanks to this strengthened research program,” he said.

12/19/2019 9:14:48 PM
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