In 1885, the Bureau of Agriculture and the LSU Board of Supervisors jointly began to support the Agricultural Experiment Station. That same year the state began mandating chemical analysis of feeds, fertilizers and pesticides, which was conducted by experiment station chemists. The next year, the legislature set the joint agreement into law and named the director of the station as the state chemist. The state also funded positions for professional chemists at each of the three original station sites: Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Calhoun. These positions became the core of what is now known as the Agricultural Chemistry Department. Today, all the positions are located in Baton Rouge at the new Agricultural Chemistry Building.
The department is still a joint effort between the LSU AgCenter's Experiment Station and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF). The LDAF is provided with chemical analyses used to ensure that feed, fertilizers, lime and pesticides actually meet established guidelines and label claims as required by state law. The experiment station is provided with analyses for the 20 experiment station departments in Baton Rouge and the 18 research stations located throughout the state, as well as divisions of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.
The department's move to a new building was completed in February 1995. New state-of-the-art equipment was obtained in all sections of the department to meet the needs of researchers, manufacturers and the public. Most of this equipment is computer-controlled with automatic samplers that allow for more analyses in the same amount of time. Analysts also serve as a resource to their fellow scientists both locally and nationwide by answering questions on methodology and equipment used in the department.
The mission of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry is to provide accurate and defensible analytical chemistry results in the following areas:
1. Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station research
2. Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service agricultural production problems
3. Official Regulatory Laboratory for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (For more info, please see the LDAF Web site)
4. Analytical analyses of agricultural and certain household chemicals for the general public
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture