Frances Gould | 11/14/2016 7:40:28 PM
(11/09/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – Since 1999, more than 100 Louisiana 4-H and FFA members have been recognized as first-place winners in the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor program through the LSU AgCenter livestock and horse shows.
The program started with a $60,000 endowment from Gerry Lane Enterprises in 1998, and now the endowment has been strengthened by a $75,000 gift from the company.
With the contribution, Gerry Lane Enterprises also will be a Corporate Title Sponsor for the 2017 LSU AgCenter Livestock Show.
“We added to the fund this year because as the investment income from the initial endowment has fallen off in the past few years,” said Eric Lane, president of Gerry Lane Enterprises. “This contribution and subsequent ones will assure the endowment income will be up to the level necessary to fully fund the program.”
The initial contribution was given by Lane’s father, Gerry Lane, who founded Gerry Lane Enterprises, which operates several automobile dealerships in the Baton Rouge area. Mr. Lane passed away at age 82 in 2013.
The Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards were introduced at the 1999 livestock show. Since that time, the recipients have included outstanding young people who competed in beef cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goat, horse and dairy cattle divisions.
“The endowment grew out of tradition,” Eric Lane said about his parents. Gerry Lane was raised on a ranch in Oklahoma, and his wife, Faye Lane, was a 4-H member growing up in the cotton business in Tallulah, Louisiana.
The Lane businesses support several organizations, and 4-H has been included for many years.
Eric Lane recalls supplying vehicles for the 4-H auto mechanics projects at short course in Baton Rouge. And the livestock support dates back to the auctions at the State Livestock Show.
“I can’t think of a better thing to support than the 4-H program,” Lane said. “It teaches kids responsibility. 4-H develops the kind of people I want to hire in this business.”
The Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor program is open to exhibitors in grades nine through 12 and includes a résumé, a written test, judging, a skills test and an interview. The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth’s knowledge of the livestock industry, practical exercises demonstrating skills and the ability to communicate effectively.
“The LSU AgCenter is pleased to have the Gerry Lane family as a longtime friend and a generous supporter of the livestock program,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture. “Mr. Gerry Lane was interested in recognizing outstanding young people and was committed to the AgCenter mission to develop leaders for tomorrow.”
Eric Lane, third from left, presents a check for $75,000 to the LSU AgCenter Livestock Show to add to the endowment that supports the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor program. Flanking a bronzed bust of Gerry Lane are, from left, Dwayne Nunez, livestock show manager; Lindsey Kelly, AgCenter director of development; Eric Lane; Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture; Vickie Hutchinson, livestock show public relations director. Photo by Rick Bogren