AgCenter News

Kenyan scientists learn post-harvest, marketing

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The AgCenter and Egerton University in Nakuru, Kenya, are joining forces to develop a program to improve economic development and poverty reduction in rural areas of the African nation.

During the first three weeks of October, Egerton University agronomy professor Anthony Kibe and senior lecturer Mariam Mwangi spent time in the United States in a post-harvest horticulture training program they will be able to use in their country, said David Picha, training leader and director of AgCenter International Programs.

The program is designed to benefit the private sector, particularly small-scale Kenyan farm­ers and female stakeholders in the horticul­ture sector.

The Kenyans met with Tara Smith, resident director of Sweet Potato Station in Chase, to learn about research projects at the station.

Bioprocessing researchers look forward to next steps

As it reached the end of a five-year grant, the AgCenter gathered participants in the Sustain­able Bioproducts Initiative to summarize their work and look forward to how to apply what they learned to new endeavors.

The initiative grew out of a $17.3 million grant to speed up the process for developing bio­fuels and biochemicals from energycane and sweet sorghum. The funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported research in transforming energycane, a relative of sug­arcane, and sweet sorghum into high-value products using existing agricultural practices and processing facilities in Louisiana.

The project involved a team of university and industry partners led by the AgCenter who are improving the regular production of bio­mass for economically viable conversion to bio­fuels and bioenergy using existing refinery infrastructure.

AgCenter agents earn national awards

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Several AgCenter professionals were honored at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences 2016 annual meeting.

The Distinguished Service Award was pre­sented to Mandy Armentor, of Vermilion Parish, and first place Communicator Award for Pho­tography was awarded to area nutrition agent Layne Langley.

The national first place Communicator Award Educational Publication was presented to a northeast Louisiana team led by area nutri­tion agent Cathy Agan. Other members were agents Terri Crawford, Brittney Seay, Alethia Lawrence, Ashley Powell, Betsy Crigler, Monica Stewart and Karol Osborne; Elma Sue McCal­lum, AgCenter Communications; and Sandra May and Diane Sasser, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

The team developed a brochure, “Take Time With Your Kids,” to encourage healthful physi­cal activity and nutrition for parents of young children.

Healthy Communities initiative works to improve rural health

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As three rural parishes wrapped up their first year participating in the AgCenter-led Healthy Com­munities project, community members are now making plans for how they will make sustainable changes to improve residents’ health in 2017.

A grassroots effort to improve life in rural Lou­isiana by making healthful foods and recre­ation opportunities more accessible, the project was launched in West Carroll Parish in 2013 and expanded to St. Helena, Madison, West Feliciana and Tensas parishes when the AgCenter received a two-year, $1.45 million grant from the U.S. Cen­ters for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016.

The Healthy Communities concept will soon be implemented statewide through AgCenter fam­ily and consumer sciences programs, although the focus will remain on the selected parishes.

Youth activities have included opportunities for students to participate in Southern University Ag Center-led gardening workshops to plant school gardens.

AgCenter, College announce award winners

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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agri­culture announced the winners of their annual faculty and staff awards at a ceremony held Dec. 13 at the LSU Student Union Theater.

Ernest Girouard received the Floyd S. Edmis­ton Award for his work as the coordinator of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program.

Tina Goebel, Central Region 4-H coordina­tor and extension parish chair in Allen Parish, received the Extension Excellence Award for helping increase retention rates of 4-H youth in the 10-parish area.

Yi-Jun Xu, a professor in the School of Renew­able Natural Resources who specializes in hydrologic and biogeochemical modeling, received the G&H Seed Company Inc. Research Award in recognition of exemplary work in the past five years.

Plant pathologist Jeff Hoy received the Doyle Chambers Research Award in recognition of 32 years with the AgCenter focusing on sugarcane diseases.

The Denver T. and Ferne Loupe Extension Team Award was given to a team that has taught yoga to 4-H youth as well as a high school foot­ball team. The team includes state 4-H agent Jessica Stroope, parish 4-H agents Esther Boe, Brooke Lafargue, Joanna Strong, Betsy Crigler, Lekeisha Lucas-Powell, Elizabeth Lynn, Kori Meyers and Ashley Powell and parish nutrition agent Vicky Green.

A group of researchers who study the effects of insecticides on both mosquitoes and non-tar­geted organisms, such as honeybees and fire­flies, won the Tipton Team Research Award. They are insecticide toxicologist James Ottea, medical entomologist Kristin Healy and insect physiologist Daniel Swale.

Christina Zito Hebert, a 4-H agent in Iberville Parish, received the Rosalie Bivin 4-H Youth Development Award for her work with special needs students.

Gary Whatley, research farm supervisor at the Central Research Station in Baton Rouge, received the Ganelle Bullock Outstanding Ser­vice Award. Mitch Boudreaux, a research associ­ate and coordinator in the School of Animal Sci­ences, was named the winner of the Outstand­ing Service Award for Associates.

Marlene Janes, a professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences who specializes in food safety issues, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher. Kris­tin Stair, an assistant professor in the Depart­ment of Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher.

Georgianna Tuuri, an associate professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, received the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award.

College of Agriculture Tiger Athletic Founda­tion Outstanding Teacher Awards were pre­sented to Michele Ball, an instructor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Kristin Healy, a medical entomologist.

Glen Gentry, associate professor and coordi­nator of research at the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station in Clinton, was the winner of the 2016 Article of the Year for Louisiana Agri­culture magazine.

Growers learn ways to profit from pumpkin patches


Kylie Miller, right, AgCenter agent in Concor­dia Parish, and AgCenter fruit and vegetable specialist Kiki Fontenot gave instructions at a workshop at the Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph on how to be successful at grow­ing a pumpkin patch for fun and profit. Taking an agritourism approach is one way to enhance profits on the farm, Fontenot said. Farmers can earn more per pumpkin by operating a corn-type maze and pumpkin patch to attract fami­lies and school groups.

AgCenter faculty receive awards

Two AgCenter professors were recognized as regional award winners at the annual meeting of Epilon Sigma Phi, the national organization for extension professionals.

Nematologist Charles Overstreet was selected for the Distinguished Ser­vice Award, and family life educator Diane Sasser received the Continued Excellence Award.


Overstreet was cited for his outstanding research in applied nematology – in particular the man­agement of the reniform and other nematodes in crops grown in Louisiana – and for his service to Latin American agriculture.


The state leader of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed), Sasser has led a successful nutrition education social marketing campaign, promoted the use of iPads for teaching nutrition education to youth and initiated a nutrition education texting service for parents of school-aged children.

AgCenter professor awarded honorary degree in Thailand


Witoon Prinyawiwatkul, professor in the AgCenter School of Nutrition and Food Sci­ences, has been awarded an honorary doc­toral degree from Kasetsart University, Bang­kok, Thailand.

The degree was conferred at a ceremony at the university, where Prinyawiwatkul has contrib­uted to curriculum development and revision of higher education in food science and tech­nology for the past 20 years.

At the AgCenter, Prinyawiwatkul, who holds the Horace J. Davis Endowed Professorship, conducts research on food product development from Louisiana agricultural, seafood and aquaculture byproducts and wastes from processing plants.

Researchers awarded technology transfer grants

Two AgCenter researchers were recently awarded more than $42,000 in grant funding that will help them promote their inventions to industry partners.

The grants are from the LSU LIFT2 Fund, which began in 2014 to stimulate technology transfer between LSU and the marketplace. LIFT grants help researchers cover the costs of any addi­tional work that is needed to demonstrate an invention is ready for the market.


Frank Bastian, a professor in the AgCenter School of Animal Sciences, is work­ing to develop a live test for chronic wasting dis­ease, which can cause neurodegeneration, ema­ciation and, ultimately, death in animals such as deer and elk. Testing normally requires harvest­ing brain matter from a dead animal, and the infected material is contagious to other animals.


Changyoon Jeong, a water quality specialistat the Red River Research Station, hopes to cre­ate an affordable sys­tem that can obtain a more complete picture of carbon dioxide emis­sions from agricultural environments.

Linscombe receives Rice Industry Award

Steve Linscombe, who holds the American Cyanamid Professorship for Excellence in Plant Genetics, Breeding and Variety Development, received the Rice Industry Award at the 2016 USA Rice Outlook Conference for his work as rice breeder and director of the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.


Linscombe has worked for the LSU AgCenter for 34 years, and his breeding work has resulted in 24 new varieties. He said the cooperative research between the LSU AgCenter and uni­versities in other U.S. rice-producing states is essential to making progress for rice farmers.

Linscombe said the Louisiana check-off system that funds research and promotion is vital to his work and the Louisiana rice industry. “Our rice leadership has really stepped up to the plate to make sure those research and promotion funds drive our programs well into the future.”

1/18/2018 9:02:20 PM
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