Karol Osborne | 11/5/2018 5:12:57 PM
(11/05/18) SHREVEPORT, La. — Valerie West has joined the LSU AgCenter as Northwest Region forestry agent. West has significant forest biology expertise and comes to the AgCenter from a highly regarded forestry program at Mississippi State University.
An environmental biology graduate of Humboldt State University in California, West received a graduate degree in forestry from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Her work toward a doctorate degree at Mississippi State University is ongoing, and she will defend her dissertation on silviculture and loblolly pine genetics soon.
West said opportunities to assist with extension work while at Mississippi State fired her up to do more technology support.
“The challenge of the day-to-day variation and helping people find the solutions they need to meet their goals is exciting,” she said.
West worked previously for Weyerhaeuser Company for 12 years, first doing productivity research covering territories west of the Mississippi river, including southern Louisiana and Mississippi. She later moved to the Webster and Bienville parish area in Louisiana to work with loblolly pine seed production before moving to Mississippi to continue her studies.
Happy to be back in northwest Louisiana, West said she is looking forward to continuing many of the ongoing programs already in place and beginning some new initiatives to benefit area landowners.
“I want to make sure I don’t let the standards slip,” she said. West replaces Ricky Kilpatrick, who retired recently after 34 years as an AgCenter area forestry agent.
West said she was fortunate to have time to work with Kilpatrick for a month before his retirement, which helped her build a template to work from.
West has already received numerous calls from landowners who are looking to manage small timber tracts and are unfamiliar with costs associated with timber harvest.
“If you don’t have enough value on your acreage, then it can be a challenge,” she said, adding that she can provide a list of forestry consultants who can help coordinate those efforts.
She is also working with AgCenter wildlife specialists to disseminate information on hunting and transportation regulations regarding feral hogs, preventative measures to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer populations, and general hunter safety tips.
Valerie West can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 965-2326.