After decades of service with the LSU AgCenter, Rogers Leonard retired in March 2020. Leonard earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from LSU. He spent much of his career as an entomologist in northeast Louisiana, where he researched insect pest management strategies in row crops. He later became an associate vice president and program leader of the AgCenter, a role in which he oversaw research and extension efforts related to plants, animals, and soil and water resources across the state. In his time with the AgCenter, Leonard authored or co-authored nearly 1,100 scientific, technical and outreach articles. He mentored 66 graduate students and served on a number of national committees and panels for government entities and industry groups.
Rasel Parvej, a soil fertility and agronomy specialist, joined the AgCenter after serving as an assistant professor at Bangladesh Agricultural University, a research assistant while completing his doctorate at the University of Arkansas and a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech and Iowa State University. Parvej is based at the AgCenter Scott Research and Extension Center in Winnsboro. He is working on developing fertilizer recommendations and improving nutrient management based on a variety of factors, including site-specific soil fertility, nutrient stratification and uptake dynamics, and soil and tissue testing.
Plant pathologist Jonathan Richards holds a doctorate from North Dakota State University and conducted postdoctoral research with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service in Fargo, North Dakota. Richards’ research interests include the dissection of host genetic resistance to fungal pathogens using molecular biology and genomics approaches as well understanding pathogen infection strategies. Based in Baton Rouge, he also teaches a microbial genomics course for graduate students.
David Moseley is the statewide soybean specialist. He previously was a production research scientist with Monsanto and an extension agent with the University of Arkansas. His doctorate is from the University of Arkansas in crop, soil and environmental sciences; he focused on soybean breeding and genetics. As the AgCenter soybean specialist, Moseley’s job responsibilities largely center on extension outreach work. However, he also is planning to conduct studies on soybean varieties’ adaptability to different soil types and environments across Louisiana as well as optimum planting dates, plant populations and row spacing.
Tyler Towles is an entomologist at the Scott Center in Winnsboro. He earned a doctorate at Mississippi State University and has previously worked for Dow Agrosciences. His dissertation focused on the implementation of seed-blended refuge in mid-Southern corn production systems compared to structured refuge systems for the production of Bt-susceptible corn earworms. His research at the AgCenter will include a wide range of pest issues in corn, cotton, soybeans and grain sorghum. Some of his current projects are corn earworm Bt resistance selection in corn and stink bug control methods in soybeans.
Tristan Watson is an assistant professor of nematology and the director of the AgCenter Nematode Advisory Service. He received a doctorate from the University of British Columbia and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Florida. He previously researched integrated nematode management on tree fruits, small fruits, vegetables and alternative crops such as hops, hemp and artichokes. At the AgCenter, his plans include establishing a research program targeting nematode problems in soybeans and grains and evaluating new nematicide formulations and other management approaches. He also is surveying the distribution of the guava root-knot nematode in Louisiana soybean and grain production as well as screening soybean varieties for host status to this new invasive pest.