Endowment for American Sugar Cane League Chair in Sugar Production Grows to $1 million

A man stands in front of sugarcane stalks holding a piece of paper and microphone while another man stands in the background.

LSU AgCenter sugarcane breeder Collins Kimbeng, right, talks about the process of developing two new sugarcane varieties, L 15-306 and HoL 15-508, during the annual field day at the AgCenter Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel on July 20, 2022. Fellow AgCenter sugarcane breeder Michael Pontif examines the leaves of L 15-306 at left. Photo by Olivia McClure

The Louisiana Board of Regents has matched a donation from the American Sugar Cane League to bring the endowment for an LSU AgCenter chair in sugar production to $1 million. The board’s $400,000 contribution will be paired with the league’s donation of $600,000 to establish the endowment in 2017.

The chair was created to support faculty members who demonstrate excellence in research areas related to improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the production segment of the Louisiana sugar industry.

“This chair will help us recruit and retain highly specialized sugarcane research expertise at the AgCenter, which is vital to the continued economic viability of the Louisiana sugarcane industry and to educating and training the next generation of sugar experts,” said Mike Salassi, LSU AgCenter associate vice president.

The donations from the league and the board show the commitment each have to sustaining one of the oldest agricultural ventures in the state.

Jim Simon, general manager of the American Sugar Cane League, said establishing a chair in sugarcane research helps sustain sugarcane’s viability as the top row crop in Louisiana.

“The farmers and millers that comprise the American Sugar Cane League understand exactly what research has done for the Louisiana sugar industry,” Simon said. “Sugarcane farmers and millers expect results, and the LSU AgCenter has a strong history of delivering the kind of research outcomes that keep us competitive.”

Sugar production in Louisiana dates back to the 1750s.

The relationship between the LSU AgCenter and the American Sugar Cane League started in 1926, when an agreement was made among the league, the AgCenter and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The American Sugar Cane League is now 100 years old and over the past century, we’ve learned that research is the lifeblood of our industry,” said Simon. “Because of our investment in research, much of it with LSU, we’ve had the tools to double sugar production over the last 40 years.”

11/28/2022 9:26:29 PM
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