News Release Distributed 12/16/13
BATON ROUGE, La. – Faculty and staff members at the LSU AgCenter and the Southern University Agricultural Center received awards for exceptional extension and research programs at a joint annual conference on Dec. 16-17.
Top individual LSU AgCenter faculty awards went to Dorin Boldor, a biological engineer; Dan Gill, extension horticulturist; Mike Hebert, extension agent in Lafourche Parish; and Don LaBonte, sweet potato breeder.
The two AgCenter teams winning awards were the Acadiana Beef Cattle Educational Program team from southwest Louisiana and a team of researchers from the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.
The six AgCenter faculty awards were:
G & H Seed Company, Inc., Research Award: Dorin Boldor, an associate professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, uses advanced microwave technology to produce biofuels from nonfood crops such as tallow tree seeds. This microwave technology makes it easier to extract the oil from the feedstock and convert the biomass to biofuel.
Floyd S. Edmiston Award: Dan Gill is one of the state’s most recognizable horticulturists with his Get It Growing newspaper columns and television and radio segments. He has played a pivotal role in the advancement of the Louisiana Super Plants program, which promotes outstanding plants for Louisiana landscapes.
Extension Excellence Award: Mike Hebert was recognized for his work in Lafourche Parish with primary responsibilities in cattle and sugarcane production. He has been an agent in Lafourche Parish for more than 35 years and has implemented a nationally recognized farm safety program.
Doyle Chambers Research Award: Don LaBonte has been involved with breeding sweet potatoes at the AgCenter since 1988. He has recently helped introduce two varieties that may supplant Beauregard, a variety released in 1987, which is the industry standard. The variety Orleans is a sweeter variety when compared to Beauregard, and the variety 07-146 is geared toward the processing sector with yields up to 20 percent higher than Beauregard.
Denver T. and Ferne Loupe Extension Team Award: The Acadiana Beef Cattle Educational Program Team is responsible for coordinating numerous field days in the region and encouraging producers to adapt new techniques and strategies, which have led to improved cattle herds. Extension team members are Vince Deshotel, St. Landry Parish; Stan Dutile, Lafayette Parish; Jimmy Flanagan, St. Mary Parish; Andrew Granger, Vermilion Parish; and Blair Hebert, Iberia Parish. Researchers on the team are Guillermo Scaglia and Wayne Wyatt, both animal scientists at the Iberia Research Station in Jeanerette.
Tipton Team Research Award: This award went to scientists studying the many uses for nanoparticles – particles 1,000 times smaller than a human hair – in agricultural, food and medical applications. Nanotechnology has the potential to destroy cancer cells, reduce pesticide drift in agricultural fields, improve food safety and treat catastrophic wounds. The team includes Carlos Astete, assistant professor; Dorin Boldor, associate professor; Dan Hayes, assistant professor; Todd Monroe, professor; Cristina Sabliov, associate professor; and Subramaniam Sathivel, associate professor. All are in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Sathivel also has an appointment in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Another AgCenter award, the Rosalie Bivin 4-H Youth Development Faculty Award, went to Jonas Augustine, program assistant, and Kali Zammit, assistant agent in St. Charles Parish. Both are involved in educating young people about the importance of Louisiana wetlands and the role wetlands play in the ecosystem. Augustine and Zammit conduct field days and coordinate wetland plantings in St. Charles and adjoining parishes.
Two AgCenter awards were presented to outstanding staff. The Ganelle Bullock Staff Outstanding Service Award went to Robert “Lou” Lamendola, electrician master at the Central Research Station in Baton Rouge. The Outstanding Service Award for Associates went to Lawrence M. White III, research associate at the Rice Research Station in Crowley.
In addition, Mike Salassi, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, was given the award for outstanding article for 2013 in Louisiana Agriculture, a quarterly magazine published by the AgCenter. His article concerned the economic consequences of storm damage on rice production.
The Southern University Agricultural Center recognized two individuals, Dawn Mellion-Patin, extension specialist, and Renita Marshall, animal science researcher.
Mellion-Patin received the Outstanding Specialist Award for work with socially disadvantaged, limited-resource agricultural producers and their families. She has been awarded $4.9 million in competitive grant funding to conduct extension programs, such as the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute and Wisteria Alliance Project. During 2013, she worked with the Farmer to Farmer Program, which is a joint effort with the University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape, South Africa; Florida A&M University in Tallahassee; and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Marshall received the Outstanding Researcher Award for her contribution to the field of small-scale livestock production. Marshall has published extensively and garnered more than $2.6 million in federal funding. One of her projects is JAGS in AG, which is designed to introduce young people to the world of agricultural research.