The Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the LSU AgCenter. Its faculty can be found in 11 academic departments, where scientists conduct research and hold joint teaching appointments in the LSU College of Agriculture, and 20 research stations across Louisiana, where resident faculty develop new knowledge and technology to help our producers provide our state and the nation with a vast array of food, fiber and fuel.
The experiment station also includes the Audubon Sugar Institute, which focuses on sugar processing and biofuel production, and the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, which is jointly operated with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and focuses on analysis of feed, fertilizer, food and pesticides for regulatory and research purposes.
The need for research from state agricultural experiment stations is as important now as it has ever been. The constantly-expanding world population demands that we increase our food and fiber production. The key to sustaining agricultural production to meet the expanding population is through research to refine existing technologies, develop new technology and advance knowledge. As agricultural research and development meets the challenges of the future, we must be mindful of the environment. All of us want cleaner water and air, sustainable forests, a stable coastline, and other outdoor amenities.
Agricultural research in Louisiana is dynamic, and its breadth is extensive. The traditional areas are plant variety development, improved animal and plant production, environmentally sound pest management, forest management and wood product development, natural resources conservation and management, food technology and safety, and agricultural economics. However, off-shoots of traditional research have led to exciting discoveries in human disease diagnostics and treatment and recycling technology for contaminated wood products.
The research conducted contributes substantially to economic development in our state. Too often, these contributions are taken for granted. For example, the rice industry that sustains much of the economy of southwest Louisiana has benefited greatly from the research emanating from the Rice Research Station and several departments on campus. For over 100 years, research at the station has brought forth new varieties, better cultural practices and improved pest control.
Recent contributions to economic development include technology for the oil drilling business that has led to a start-up business and new jobs for Louisiana and the construction of a new sweet potato processing plant near our Sweet Potato Research Station in northeast Louisiana. Read more about these two projects and other research highlights on the back page of this issue.
We try with this magazine to bring you the latest developments in our research and extension programs. Because the magazine content is online, it can be always at your finger tips if you want to search for a specific topic. Please contact me if you want more information.
David J. Boethel
(This article was published in the spring 2010 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)