Don Labonte, Carney, Jr., William A., Carney, Caren
W.A. Callegari Environmental Center
268E Knapp Hall
110 LSU Union Square
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Laboratory & Training Site
1300 Dean Lee Baton Rouge, LA 70820
Department research addresses water quality issues in agriculture and urban settings and toxicology, and applied research in pest management and urban entomology along with agriculture, municipal solid waste and biofuel.
The Callegari Center is responsible for education programs, service and outreach activities in water quality, solid waste, pesticide operator certification and biodiesel for farmers, homeowners and pest control operators.
The natural decomposition of organic matter in soils may take years to generate beneficial, stable soil organic matter — humus. In contrast, composting is a controlled process that uses microorganisms found in nature to transform large quantities of organic materials into a humus-like substance called compost. Quality compost may be produced in a few months and provides numerous environmentally beneficial applications.
The Callegari Center laboratory uses a series of large reactors and simulation models to predict large-scale results. The center handles materials that would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration.
The Callegari Center serves as the home for the Louisiana Master Farmer Program, which helps agricultural producers voluntarily address the environmental concerns related to production agriculture, as well as enhance their production and resource-management skills that will be critical for the continued viability of Louisiana agriculture. This program helps producers become more knowledgeable about environmental stewardship, resource-based production and resource management through a voluntary producer certification process.
Integral to the Master Farmer Program is the Callegari Center’s analytical services for water quality. In addition to serving agricultural interests, the laboratories provide research capabilities for AgCenter scientists, private industry and local governments.
The laboratories can perform more than 40 analytical procedures from simple to sophisticated to determine the chemicals in water and solid and semi-solid materials.
In addition to analytical capabilities, the Callegari Center provides support to individuals concerning a wide range of environmental issues based on sound analytical results.
Significance of Programs
The W.A. Callegari Environmental Center is the LSU AgCenter’s research and training facility for composting organic waste and for water and air quality. Located on an eight-acre site on the Central Research Station south of Baton Rouge, the Callegari Center serves researchers, agricultural producers, private companies, governmental agencies and the general public in the areas of composting, water quality, air quality and bioenergy.
As a part of the LSU AgCenter, our focus is public service. The knowledgeable faculty and staff at the W. A. Callegari Environmental Center can provide support to individuals concerning a wide range of environmental issues.
In response to public concern about sugarcane burning, the Callegari Center worked with the American Sugar Cane League and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to develop smoke management guidelines for sugarcane harvesting. The guidelines are intended to manage smoke and ash from sugarcane prescribed burning operations to lessen their effects on public health and welfare.
Burning sugarcane in the field gives producers lower production costs, efficient harvesting and less material to transport to mills. The AgCenter developed the training curriculum, and hundreds of Louisiana sugarcane farmers have been acknowledged as certified prescribed-burn managers.
The Callegari Center has taken an active part in the AgCenter’s research into bioenergy – the development of alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. In addition to laboratory evaluations, AgCenter researchers are planting test plots of different crops that could be used as feedstock for biofuels. Along with traditional food crops such as corn, soybeans, sugarcane, sorghum and sunflowers, scientists are evaluating non-food crops such as rape seed, Chinese tallow and palm oil.
Plans at the Callegari Center envision constructing a biodiesel plant, including a seed press, and establishing laboratories to characterize the fuel products and measure quality control.