Ruben and Laura Dauzat want young people to follow their path into agriculture — and to the LSU College of Agriculture.
Both third-generation farmers and long-time supporters of the college, they have endowed the Laura and Ruben Dauzat Scholarship in Agriculture.
“It’s an honor for Laura and me to be able to do this,” Ruben Dauzat said. “We’ve been blessed, and we want to share our blessing.”
The Dauzats both graduated from the college. Ruben received a bachelor’s in agriculture mechanization and master’s in agricultural economics, and Laura earned her bachelor's degree in home economics. The pair met in college even though their hometowns were just 20 miles apart in Avoyelles Parish, where they reside now and grow row crops and cattle on their 1,200-acre Wayside Farms near Simmesport.
Their involvement with the LSU College of Agriculture and the LSU AgCenter didn’t end with their degrees. Ruben said they kept learning through involvement in the AgCenter Agriculture Leadership Program and Master Farmer Program.
Ruben Dauzat said these programs have helped them become better stewards of their land and advocates for agriculture. He employs conservation methods on their farm and was recognized for his work by being named the Outstanding Master Farmer of the Year for 2014 and inducted into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction in 2016.
The Dauzats raised three children on the farm, and all attended LSU.
“Laura and I felt obligated to give back, and what better way than to reach a young person,” Dauzat said.
They also hoped the scholarship would encourage young people to go into agriculture and even stay in Louisiana.
“The College of Agriculture prepared me for my career in agriculture, and it stayed with me,” he said. “Without LSU and the College of Agriculture, I don’t know where I would be.”
Nearly $10,000 was raised for College of Agriculture scholarships on Oct. 11, 2019, at the 6th annual Cocktails and Cuisine. More than 100 people attended the evening event at the Baton Rouge Gallery, which included a silent auction and music by John Gray’s Continuum. Attending were, left to right, Stacia Haynie, LSU provost; Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture; Martin Haymon, donor and retired executive in Petroleum Service Corporation; Lindsey Fussell, LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture senior director of development; and Frankie Gould, LSU AgCenter associate vice president for strategic communications and outreach relations. Photo by Tobie Blanchard
LSU College of Agriculture entomology graduate students set up learning stations for children attending Night at the Museum at the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum on Sept. 19, 2019. More than 1 million arthropods are housed in the museum on the LSU campus. Visitors to the event were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour and learned about this large group of creepy crawlers. Photo by Tobie Blanchard
The Gulf South Chapter of the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) is endowing a scholarship in the LSU College of Agriculture.
The GEAPS-Gulf South Chapter has supported a scholarship in the college for four years. Roy Baker, chapter president and operations manager at Zen-Noh Grain Corporation, said the chapter recently had a surplus and decided the money would be best served helping students.
“Endowing a scholarship is a way to invest the money and help students that might impact our industry in the future,” Baker said.
Benjamin Holden, a senior studying agricultural business, is a recipient of a GEAPS scholarship this year.
“I used the scholarship money to purchase my textbooks, which was a big help,” Holden said, adding that he is looking into opportunities working for GEAPS in Houston.
Six companies operate export grain elevators south of Baton Rouge. Representatives from those companies are members of GEAPS, which has more than 2,800 members in more than 20 countries.
The Gulf South Chapter is the first to have an endowed scholarship at a university, Baker said. The chapter also was named the GEAPS 2018 Outstanding Chapter.
GEAPS meetings include professional development, discussions of industry issues, such as high water or trade wars, and networking. LSU College of Agriculture students are often invited to attend meetings to learn more about the grain elevator industry and job opportunities.
“We like to get students involved so they understand what the industry is about and learn how it works,” Baker said.