LSU AgCenter, LSU College of Agriculture announce faculty, staff award winners

Kenneth Gautreaux  |  12/12/2018 9:51:36 PM

(12/12/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture announced the winners of their annual faculty and staff awards during their annual conference ceremony held Dec. 11 at the LSU Student Union Theater.

Charles Hebert, 4-H youth development agent from Lafayette Parish, was named the winner of the Floyd S. Edmiston Award. Hebert has worked in 4-H for 24 years and is also the parish chairman.

Lafayette Parish has one of the largest 4-H programs in the state with more than 1,600 members and 250 adult volunteers. Hebert played a leading role in establishing the school garden program across the parish and has received more than $80,000 in external funding to expand the garden program.

Ron Strahan, a weed scientist in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, received the Extension Excellence Award. Strahan is regarded as a leading turfgrass specialist in Louisiana.

Strahan developed the Field of Excellence program, which led to safer playing conditions for athletes across the state. His work with the Golf Course Agronomic Improvement Program l helped struggling golf courses survive by improving the turfgrass at the venues. He has authored 10 weed management publication that address common weeds found in lawns.

Receiving the G & H Seed Company Inc. Research Award was Brenda Tubaña, a professor in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences. This award recognizes a researcher who has conducted exemplary work during the past five years.

Tubaña has pioneered research using optical remote sensors to determine nitrogen fertilization rates. She is also doing research on the role the element silicon plays in the fertilization process.

Tubaña plays an active role in mentoring graduate students and has received more than $1.3 million in grants since 2014.

Witoon Prinyawiwatkul was the winner of the Doyle Chambers Award. He is a scientist in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences. His primary areas of research are in seafood byproduct use and sensory services and consumer research.

Prinyawiwatkul is involved with researching chitosan research, a byproduct of crustacean shells, that is being examined for its role in extending the shelf life of certain foods. He has helped develop sodium- reduced and low-sodium food products with a goal of reducing health issues related to sodium.

Prinyawiwatkul has written 191 refereed publications, along with one book and five book chapters.

The Denver T. and Ferne Loupe Extension Team Award was given to the Precision Agriculture Team consisting of AgCenter agents Dennis Burns, Jimmy Flanagan, R.L. Frazier and agricultural engineer Randy Price.

The team examines the use of drones in agriculture, sprayer technology and weather reporting systems and maps. Their work with sprayers and nozzles has helped mitigate drift and protect sensitive crops.

The team has done extensive work with drones and their use in scouting fields and providing information regarding certain inputs, such as when fertilization is needed.

A collection of researchers who study cercospora, a disease that can decimate a field through defoliation, won the Tipton Team Research Award. The team is made up of plant pathologists Vinson Doyle, Boyd Padgett, Trey Price and Ray Schneider, crop physiologist Zhi-yuan Chen, and plant breeders Blair Buckley and Zhijun Liu.

Through their research, the group has determined that certain elements such as iron can suppress disease development. They are also working on developing resistant crop varieties and fungicides to control the disease. The team is also developing protocols to detect the disease at an early stage.

Kayla Segura and Megan Sarver, 4-H agents in Acadia Parish, received the Rosalie Bivin 4-H Youth Development Award. Segura and Sarver developed an intense aerospace program focusing on concepts such as aerodynamic principles and Newton’s Laws of Motion. The purpose of the program was to enhance knowledge in science and to make students aware of some of the careers available in aerospace.

Charlotte Guerin, administrative program specialist in the vice president for agriculture’s office, received the Ganelle Bullock Outstanding Service Award. Joey Quebedeaux, a research associate at the Hammond Research Station, was named the winner of the Outstanding Service Award for Associates.

Tubaña received a second award, the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher.

As a graduate advisor and mentor, Tubaña actively participates in the entire process of her students’ master and doctoral programs. She is actively involved with designing research projects and helps students in getting their research published in refereed journals.

Michael Kaller, an associate professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher. Kaller has served as undergraduate coordinator and associate rector for the College of Agriculture. These duties required him to schedule courses and room assignments and to aid in recruitment and retention. He played a role in developing an aquatic insect taxonomy and ecology class for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Lynn Kennedy received the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award. Kennedy is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness. He has played an important role in the development of the department’s internship program. And as chair of the graduate committee for his department, he has been instrumental in the creation of several new graduate courses.

Robert Reigh was author of the Louisiana Agriculture magazine article of the year. Reigh’s article, “AgCenter Research Aims to Boost Louisiana Alligator Industry,” focused on issues related to alligator nutrition and effects of incubation conditions.

Service awards were presented to two faculty members for their years of service on the magazine’s editorial board. They were Dan Fromme, corn and cotton specialist at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria, and Chris Green, professor at the Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge.

AgCenter employees who received LSU Foundation Outstanding Staff Awards were Victoria Bayless, Donna Landry, Sandra Stevenson and Renee Welch.

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Winners of the LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture faculty and staff awards were announced during their annual conference held on Dec. 11 at the LSU Student Union. (Photo by Olivia McClure/LSUAgCenter)

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