AgCenter agent’s lifelong interest in agriculture leads to career helping farmers

(10/10/19) GONZALES, La. — Growing up surrounded by farms in rural Concordia Parish, Matt Foster knew from an early age that he wanted to one day be part of the agriculture industry.

“As a young child, I was always interested in agriculture,” he said. “I was obsessed with tractors.”

Now, as an extension agent with the LSU AgCenter, Foster gets to spend a lot of time around tractors — and all things agriculture.

Foster works with sugarcane and soybean farmers in Ascension, Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Terrebonne parishes. He helps them diagnose and find solutions to agronomic, pest and other kinds of problems in their fields.

He started the job in February 2019, a couple of months after receiving a doctorate in agronomy with a concentration in weed science from LSU.

Foster’s agriculture career began while he was in high school, when he worked as a field scout for a crop consultant.

As an undergraduate studying ag pest management at LSU, he completed an internship with the late Glen Daniels, a longtime AgCenter agent in Concordia Parish. Later, in graduate school, he worked closely with now-retired AgCenter weed scientist Jim Griffin.

“The things I learned at LSU are very applicable to this position and to the industry,” Foster said.

A recent day found Foster checking on a field where he had planted commercially available sugarcane varieties alongside experimental lines for a demonstration for an upcoming field day. After that, he stopped by some farms to talk with farmers about how harvest season is progressing.

“My favorite part of my job is interacting with growers,” Foster said. “I always have something to learn from them.”

He said his new job has given him a deeper appreciation of Louisiana agriculture and extension agents’ role in helping the industry succeed.

“They’re the first line of defense when it comes to helping growers figure out what’s wrong with their crop,” he said. “I receive phone calls early in the morning, late at night from growers that want answers. That’s their livelihood, and we’re here to help.”

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LSU AgCenter extension agent Matt Foster photographed in a sugarcane field on Oct. 3, 2019. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

Matt Foster is an assistant extension agent with the LSU AgCenter who works with sugarcane and soybean farmers in the River Parishes. Intrigued by farming since his childhood in rural Concordia Parish, Foster is now living out a dream of being part of Louisiana’s vibrant agriculture industry.

10/10/2019 3:00:16 PM
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