Charles J. Graham, Melanson, Rebecca, Sanderlin, Randy S. | 3/29/2005 1:52:13 AM
The Pecan Station, comprising about 100 acres, was established in 1930 by an act of Congress and placed under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture. Seventeen cultivars of pecan trees were planted in 1930. These trees were spaced on 50 ft. x 50 ft. centers, and data were taken beginning in 1935. From 1943-1946, 25 additional cultivars were planted. Production records from these trees were begun in 1951. A few of these 25 were the same cultivars planted in 1930 and were to be used as standard cultivars for comparison. Trees planted in 1930 were thinned in 1951 by removing one-half of the trees.
In 1973, the USDA closed its operation at the station, and interested growers and others working with their congressmen were able to convince all agencies involved to transfer the station to the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station. In December of 1973 Dr. Jere McBride was appointed resident director. Dr. McBride was responsible for staffing the station and building it up to a level comparable to other experiment stations in the system. The Pecan Station was the first unit to have faculty with joint appointments between the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station beginning in 1973. This initial trial of joint appointments was successful and has since been expanded to include other units of the LSU AgCenter. In 2002, the LSU Board of Regents along with AgCenter Chancellor Dr. William Richardson merged the Pecan Research Station into the Northwest Region for more efficient administrative operation and to better serve the citizens in the region.
The Pecan Station has about 80 acres of research orchards – approximately 50 acres are currently producing nuts – and faculty members for horticulture and plant pathology research and extension work.