AgCenter scientists work to improve cattle health in Kosovo
As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, the AgCenter sent a delegation to the Republic of Kosovo for an animal health and reproduction scientific exchange in May. The visit allowed follow-up and continuance of training provided to three Borlaug Fellows from Kosovo, who had completed their fellowships at the AgCenter in 2012 and 2013 – Shaban Gollopeni, Kreshnik Rogova and Xhavit Bytyci.
Gollopeni is the head of the Animal Health and Welfare Directorate of the Food and Veterinary Agency of Kosovo. He was mentored by Phil Elzer, associate vice chancellor and professor in the School of Animal Sciences and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and Sue Hagius, research associate in animal sciences. Gollopeni’s fellowship, which he completed in December 2012, focused on strategies for brucellosis control.
Rogova is the manager of the Veterinary Ambulance of Suhareke and completed his fellowship in 2013. His focus was the proper selection of artificial insemination sires for overall herd improvement. His mentor was Matthew Garcia, assistant professor in animal sciences.
Bytyci is the director of the Genetic Center of Kosovo and completed his fellowship in 2013. His focus was proper selection of artificial insemination sires through the use of multiple selection tools and technologies. Garcia also was his mentor.
The follow-up activities included a one-day animal health and reproduction seminar, observations of the workplaces and practices of the fellows, technical assistance and recommendations based on the observations, reinforcement of specific training objectives of the fellows, and discussion of future collaboration.
In addition to Elzer, Hagius and Garcia, those visiting from the AgCenter included Glen Gentry, associate professor at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Station; Susan Karimiha, International Programs facilitator and project director; Vinicius Moreira, associate professor at the Southeast Research Station; and Cathy Williams, associate professor in animal sciences.
The group also met with U.S. Embassy representatives in Kosovo to discuss their findings and the Louisiana-Kosovo experience.
Susan Karimiha is assistant program coordinator for International Programs.
AgCenter, China sign wetlands agreement
A delegation of Chinese educators and researchers attended the signing of a Letter of Intent on Oct. 29 in Baton Rouge to collaborate with LSU and AgCenter scientists.
The purpose of the agreement is to formalize collaboration and strengthen the exchange of resources and talent, said Lawrence Datnoff, head of the Department of Plant Pathology and interim director of the AgCenter International Programs office.
Datnoff and a delegation from LSU and the LSU AgCenter participated in the International Forum on Wetland Ecosystem Functions and Services hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Northeast Institute of Geography and Agro-ecology in Changchun, China, from July 28–Aug. 3.
"The conference was an opportunity for international scientists to see what is being done in other parts of the world," Datnoff said.
Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, said the agreement will allow for a vital exchange of wetlands information.
"It’s an information and technology swap – getting students and faculty up to speed on some things that will benefit all," Richardson said.
Aixin Hou, associate professor in the LSU School of the Coast and Environment, who served as a translator, said a separate agreement has been signed with the Wetlands Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Lafayette.
"At the China conference, it was agreed that the Chinese and American scientists should work closer with each other in determining the best way to move forward in protecting these delicate areas," Datnoff said.
In addition to Datnoff and Hou, two other LSU AgCenter faculty members who attended the international wetlands conference were Yi jun Xu and Andy Nyman, both professors in the School of Renewable Natural Resources. Also, Irving Avrum Mendelssohn, Qianxin Lin and Christopher D’Elia from the LSU School of the Coast and Environment attended.
Xu, who was instrumental in getting the signing meeting scheduled, said he began laying the groundwork for this meeting while working for several weeks on a project in China last year.
"I proposed to the director of the institute that we have an international forum between LSU researchers and their researchers to talk specifically about wetlands," Xu said. "We covered over 600 miles during the conference, mainly in the northeastern part of the country where there are a lot of wetlands."
(These article was published in the fall 2013 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)