AgCenter appoints new sweet potato specialist

(05/23/23) CHASE, La. — The LSU AgCenter has named Cole Gregorie, who has more than a decade of sweet potato research experience, as a statewide extension specialist for the crop effective June 15.

Gregorie has been a research associate at the AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station in Chase since 2010. In his new role, he will be responsible for outreach efforts supporting producers.

“I am extremely grateful and excited for this new opportunity,” Gregorie said. “I have been fortunate to work with many of our producers and industry representatives in my previous research-based appointment and I look forward to building on those relationships as well as creating new ones in this position. Planting will be wrapping up in mid-June across the state so my first goal will be to get out and meet with our producers to get a sense of how the season is going.”

Gregorie holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from LSU and is currently pursuing a doctorate in agronomy.

As a research associate, he has been involved in several aspects of sweet potato research, including plant physiology, entomology, nematology, weed management, agronomic practices, greenhouse management and plant breeding. He also has worked with the AgCenter Foundation Seed Program, which provides virus-tested, clean seed to domestic and international producers.

“Mr. Gregorie is a team player and is well suited for this new role,” said Melissa Cater, director of the AgCenter Northeast Region. “We look forward to the programming he will offer in support of both the sweet potato industry and our field-based agents.”

“Sweet potatoes are a signature crop in Louisiana, and Mr. Gregorie has the experience and skill set needed to realize success as the state sweet potato specialist,” said Tara Smith, director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service and coordinator of the Sweet Potato Research Station. “He has existing relationships with our producers and industry and has been and will continue to be an integral component of our LSU AgCenter sweet potato research and extension team in this new role.”

Myrl Sistrunk, an AgCenter extension associate who for years has been a primary point of contact for sweet potato issues, will continue to work with the sweet potato extension program, Smith said.

Louisiana has about 7,000 acres of sweet potatoes, with production clustered in northeastern and south-central parishes. Including value-added processing, the industry is worth more than $77 million annually, according to the latest AgCenter figures.

Cole Gregorie at field day.

Cole Gregorie at a field day. LSU AgCenter file photo

5/23/2023 1:15:29 PM
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