(05/23/22) BATON ROUGE, La. — Officials with the LSU and Southern University agricultural centers have signed an agreement that aims to foster collaboration between the two institutions’ research and teaching programs.
The memorandum of understanding will expand an existing partnership that has focused primarily on extension work.
At a May 23 meeting where the documents were signed, leaders of the centers spoke of the need for increased cooperation on critical issues facing the agriculture industry as well as sharing resources and ideas to enhance students’ learning.
“This is a very exciting occasion,” said Luke Laborde, interim LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture. “We’ve had a long partnership in extension, and I’m really excited that we have the opportunity to expand this.”
Laborde said committees will be organized soon to identify joint initiatives. He’s hopeful that working together will increase the probability of receiving grant funding.
The LSU and Southern ag centers thus far have worked together on a variety of outreach programs, including the annual AgMagic educational exhibit for children; career preparation events and internships for college students; nutrition education through SNAP-Ed; and Coming Together for Racial Understanding forums.
While those efforts are valuable, “the distance has been far too great for too long” in other program areas, Laborde said.
Orlando McMeans, chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and dean of the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, said his institution and its counterpart at LSU have many complementary programs. Together, they can have even greater impact on the people of Louisiana, he said.
“I see this as an opportunity for how an 1862 and an 1890 should partner,” he said, referring to the 1862 act that created the land-grant university system, of which LSU is a part, and follow-up 1890 legislation that added historically black colleges and universities such as Southern to the system.
“I’m excited about this,” McMeans added. “I think the potential is great.”
Luke Laborde, interim LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, speaks during a meeting where a memorandum of understanding between the LSU AgCenter and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center was signed May 23, 2022. Looking on at right is Orlando McMeans, chancellor of the SU Ag Center and dean of the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter
Orlando McMeans, right, chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and dean of the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, smiles as Luke Laborde, interim LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, signs documents for a memorandum of understanding between the LSU and Southern University ag centers on May 23, 2022.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture