(06/24/2022) CROWLEY, La.--2022 has presented Louisiana rice farmers with a few new faces to get to know among the faculty at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.
Agricultural economist Kurt Guidry is not a new face to the facility where he has serves as the AgCenter’s Southwest Regional Director. Over the past year, the AgCenter added resident coordinator of the Rice Research Station to his resume. In his new title, Guidry was instrumental in the interview and intake processes for all of the new researchers.
“I am confident that our new faculty members will continue the tradition of exemplary research and extension work started by their predecessors,” Guidry said. “All of our new researchers bring new viewpoints and methodologies that will prove to be a great benefit to the AgCenter, and the Louisiana rice industry, as a whole.”
Among the new faculty members joining the LSU AgCenter roster this year are Connor Webster, weed science; Felipe Dalla Lana, plant pathology; Irish Pabuayon, agronomy; and Roberto Neto, quantitative genetics.
Connor Webster has accepted the role of rice extension weed specialist. The new role brings no interruption in Webster’s previous work at LSU, where, last month, he earned a doctoral degree in plant, environmental management and soil science. Webster continues research into the efficacies of herbicide labels Loyant and Gambit, as well as exploring weed control with RiceTec’s Max-Ace system — a herbicide-tolerant inbred line. He succeeds Eric Webster, who served the LSU AgCenter for 24 years before accepting a position with the University of Wyoming’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Felipe Dalla Lana joined the AgCenter faculty as rice pathologist in February. He earned a doctorate from Ohio State University in plant pathology. Before joining the AgCenter, he served as a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State University. His previous work includes research in fungicide efficacy for crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans. Dalla Lana is taking over rice pathology research from Donald Groth, who retired in 2021 after 37 years with the LSU AgCenter.
Irish Pabuayon will be taking the lead of the Rice Research Station’s agronomy project. She most recently served as a postdoctoral research associate at Texas Tech University—where last year she completed her doctoral studies in plant and soil science. While in Lubbock, her work included studies of crops including rice, upland cotton and oilseeds. She is taking the reins as rice agronomist from Dustin Harrell, who, in mid- 2021, accepted a position as director of the California Rice Experiment Station.
Roberto Neto is set to fill a previously unfilled position at the Rice Research Station as the facility’s quantitative genetics researcher. Neto, who specializes in quantitative genetics and plant breeding, is joining the AgCenter faculty after serving as a senior scientist with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. His formal education credentials include a doctorate in genetics and breeding from the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil). At the IRRI, Neto leads the biometrics, data management and software development teams. Neto is set to join the faculty in August.