LSU AgCenter receives $1.26 million in federal grants

Linda F. Benedict, Bogren, Richard C.

The LSU AgCenter has received grants totaling nearly $1.26 million during the past few months.

"These grants are examples of the type of funds and the importance of the research our faculty members undertake," said Chancellor Bill Richardson. "They also indicate how the state’s investment in the LSU AgCenter can be leveraged into additional funds that benefit the state of Louisiana."

The recent grants include: – $117,400 for three grants from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to support research in specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts and nursery and horticultural crops. Pecan scab disease research received a two-year grant for $22,400 to study a new control for the disease. It will be conducted by Charlie Graham, a plant physiologist at the Pecan Research and Extension Station in Shreveport. Sweet potato weed management options in commercial sweet potato production are being funded by a three-year grant for $67,000. The research will be conducted by Donnie Miller, weed scientist, and Tara Smith, sweet potato specialist. Youth outreach programs received a two-year grant for $28,000 to educational materials for children intended to increase their awareness of agriculture, particularly specialty crops. Frankie Gould, communications director, will oversee production of these materials.

– $600,000 from the National Science Foundation to make upgrades in the biotechnology laboratories in Harry D. Wilson Laboratory building on the LSU campus. This grant is from a $300 million fund of federal stimulus dollars called the Academic Research Infrastructure Program Recovery and Reinvestment being distributed to research institutions across the country to enhance their capacity to conduct research, according to John Russin, associate vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter.

– $13,750 from the USDA to screen for one year the AgCenter citrus variety collection for several potentially destructive diseases. The grant was awarded by the USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to support the AgCenter’s involvement in the national Citrus Clean Plant Network. The research will be conducted by Don Ferrin, plant pathologist.
– $424,000 from the National Science Foundation to support developing a database and image library at the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum. Victoria Bayless, curator, and Chris Carlton, director of the arthropod museum, will produce an online database of entomological diversity that will serve as a taxonomic identification tool useful throughout the South.

– $21,350 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program to support a one-day conference for farmers markets in Louisiana. The grant will enhance and broaden the skills and information network of market managers and key vendors at Louisiana farmers markets, said Carl Motsenbocker, horticulturist. LSU AgCenter economist Roger Hinson is assisting with this project.
– $79,000 is the AgCenter’s share of a grant to study dispersant toxicity to organisms critical to the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. The funding comes from the National Science Foundation. Other participants include Modular Genetics Inc., Columbia University and Iowa State University. The grant supports work on the production and testing of biodispersants that might be used to replace the chemical dispersants used for oil spill management, according to Andy Nyman in the School of Renewable Natural Resources.

Rick Bogren

This article was published in the fall 2010 issues of Louisiana Agriculture Magazine.

1/3/2011 10:11:31 PM
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