Karol Osborne | 6/12/2018 1:25:10 PM
(06/12/2018) RUSTON, La. -- The Louisiana County Agricultural Agents Association honored members for outstanding achievement at the 72nd annual meeting held June 3-5 in Ruston.
LSU AgCenter Iberia Parish extension agent Blair Hebert received the Distinguished Service Award for career achievement focusing on sugarcane, livestock and row crops.
William Afton, AgCenter horticulture agent in St. Tammany Parish, was honored with the Achievement Award for excellence working in fruit, vegetable and ornamental plant production with commercial producers, homeowners and the Louisiana Master Gardener program.
The conference theme, Diversity in Agriculture from Border to Border, set the stage for field tours and presentations targeting agronomy, horticulture and animal science programming across the state.
“The annual program provides vital professional development opportunities for agricultural agents and specialists working with Louisiana stakeholders to address critical issues in agriculture,” said Carol Pinnell-Alison, AgCenter Franklin Parish horticulture agent and outgoing LCAAA president.
About 60 agriculture and natural resource agents and specialists took part in the three-day conference that addressed commodity production technologies, pest management, wildlife ecology, water quality and commodity economic outlook.
Horticulture tours featured multiple locations along the Interstate 20 corridor, including the Louisiana Tech University green houses, Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant and Curry Farms near Start.
Agronomists looked at row crop techniques in Richland Parish, including skip-row cotton at Double M Farms, row rice production practices at Colvin Farms and peanut farming at the Trio Plantation.
The LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station, the Foster Farms poultry processing facility in Farmerville and Dugdale Farms near Choudrant hosted animal science-related tours.
Other awards presented at the closing ceremony included first place for research poster presentation given to Avoyelles Parish assistant agent Justin Dufour, and Al Orgeron, assistant professor from St. James Parish, received the second-place award.
New officers installed for 2018-19 are: Blair Hebert, extension agent in Iberia Parish; Sara Shields, extension agent in Pointe Coupee Parish; Lee Faulk, extension agent in Claiborne Parish; Jeremy Hebert, extension agent in Acadia Parish; and Bobby Soileau, director of Ag Leadership Development.
Board members elected from three districts include:
— Northern: Randall Mallette, Natchitoches Parish; Jason Holmes, Union Parish; Luke Stamper, Caldwell Parish.
— Central/Southwest: Dan Devenport, Lafayette Parish; Stuart Gauthier, St. Martin Parish; Todd Fontenot, Evangeline Parish.
— Southeast: Will Afton, St. Tammany Parish; Al Orgeron, St. James Parish, André Brock, St. John Parish.
The Louisiana County Agricultural Agents Association presented top awards to LSU AgCenter extension agents Blair Hebert, Iberia Parish,at left, and William Afton, St. Tammany Parish. Hebert was honored with the Distinguished Service Award, and Afton received the Achievement Award. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter