Richard Bogren, Leonard, Billy R., Kerns, David L.
News Release Distributed 01/28/13
WINNSBORO, La. – LSU AgCenter entomologist David Kerns was honored Jan. 18 in a ceremony recognizing him as the Jack Hamilton Regents Chair in Cotton Production in the AgCenter.
An associate professor of entomology at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station, Kerns’ primary research, extension, and outreach projects are associated with developing and implementing insect pest management strategies in corn, cotton, grain sorghum and soybeans.
"A chair enables us to attract and retain the very best,” said LSU AgCenter vice chancellor John Russin. “The AgCenter is committed to supporting the row crop agricultural industry in Louisiana.”
"Professorships and endowed chairs offer the prestige of recognition, and the supplementary stipend provides a tangible reward for merit," he added.
"Endowments enable us to match state funds,” said LSU AgCenter vice chancellor Paul Coreil. “Jack Hamilton’s legacy as a cotton farmer and ginner allowed us to establish a chair in testament to him and the cotton industry in Louisiana.”
“It’s hard to get the best, and we need industry help,” Coreil said. “This is a way we can do it.”
“The funds for the endowment were the result of a combined effort from all segments of the Louisiana cotton industry,” said Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor and previous holder of the Hamilton Chair. “These funds came from growers, warehouses and ginners.”
Although Louisiana cotton acreage has diminished in recent years, cotton is still important to the state’s agriculture, said Ray Young, a long-time crop consultant and representative of the cotton industry at the event.
“We all grow crops along with cotton,” Young said, mentioning corn and soybeans in particular.
A native of Texas, Kerns was an agricultural consultant. He worked for a leading agrichemical company before beginning his research and extension career in 1995. He was on the faculties of the University of Arizona in Yuma and Texas A&M in Lubbock before joining the LSU AgCenter in 2012.
In commenting on his work with a variety of crops, Kerns expressed his true love is cotton.
“I don’t care if there is only one acre of cotton in Louisiana some day,” he said. “I’m a cotton entomologist, and I’ll be in that acre.”
The Jack Hamilton Chair in Cotton Production was created by the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association, the Louisiana Independent Cotton Warehouse Association and the Louisiana Cotton Ginners Association to honor Jack Hamilton of Lake Providence.
It was first presented in 2006 to B. Rogers Leonard, who recently moved into the position of associate vice chancellor and associate director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station in the LSU AgCenter.
Hamilton, who died in December 2001, was nationally recognized as a leader of the U.S. cotton industry. He was an organizer and first president of the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association and served as president of the Louisiana Cotton Warehouse Association and the Southern Cotton Ginners Association.
Hamilton was named Man of the Year in service to Louisiana agriculture by Progressive Farmer Magazine, was named Cotton Ginner of the Year by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and was awarded the Horace Hayden Memorial Trophy as National Ginner of the Year.
The endowed chair is funded by private contributions of $600,000, matched with $400,000 from the Louisiana State Board of Regents. The income from the endowment of $1 million helps support research programs, faculty travel, support staff salaries and resources for research and technology transfer projects.