LSU AgCenter, College of Agriculture announce award winners at annual conference

(12/13/22) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter and LSU College of Agriculture announced the winners of their annual faculty and staff awards during a joint ceremony with the Southern University Ag Center and Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences Dec. 12 at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Receiving the Floyd S. Edmiston Award was Kurt Guidry, an economist and Southwest Region director based at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station near Crowley. For more than 20 years, Guidry has focused on farm management and marketing issues, providing stakeholders with economic analysis of crops, livestock and farm policy.

Guidry has coordinated the publication of the Louisiana Summary, which tells the value of agricultural commodities statewide and for each parish. He has played a key role in providing agricultural disaster estimates following major weather events such as hurricanes and freezes.

Since 2000, Guidry has documented more than $7 billion in losses to Louisiana agriculture. This documentation has been essential in helping to secure disaster relief from government agencies.

Trey Price, a plant pathologist at the Tom H. Scott Research and Extension Center near Winnsboro, received the Extension Excellence Award. He is on the forefront of identifying diseases in row crop fields and recommending ways to control them. Price has been with the AgCenter since 2003.

Price’s strategies for controlling diseases on farms has helped crop producers save on input costs. He also was one of the first reporters of several new diseases such as taproot decline in soybeans. Price has secured nearly $3 million in grant funds to develop programs to help control diseases. One of his strengths is having a knack for communicating in easy-to-understand terms.

The winner of the G&H Seed Research Award was Blake Wilson. He is an entomologist working in two of the most economically important crops in Louisiana: rice and sugarcane. He is a fixture at the rice and sugarcane field days, giving farmers updates on his research pertaining to pests of these crops.

In 2018, invasive apple snails were found in rice and crawfish ponds. He is working on a control system farmers can use on their farms to better combat this pest. In sugarcane, Wilson is working on chemical control strategies to manage the two biggest pests of that crop: the sugarcane borer and Mexican rice borer.

Wilson has secured more than $3 million in grant funding, published 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and given 73 professional presentations.

Subramaniam Sathivel received the Doyle Chambers Award. Sathivel is a professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences on the Baton Rouge campus. Much of his work has centered on improving the quality and extending the shelf life of frozen foods. His findings have been adopted by food industries on the local and national levels.

Because of Louisiana’s renowned seafood industry, Sathivel has focused on enhancing the packaging of seafood products. He developed a system for inactivating foodborne pathogens in a frozen packaging system for oysters.

Sathivel has worked on a probiotics delivery system aimed at helping prevent infant mortality in developing countries. He is responsible for 95 peer-reviewed publications and has secured more than $7 million in external grant funding.

A group of agricultural economists housed in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness received the AgCenter Extension Team Award for their work documenting damage from hurricanes that struck Louisiana during 2020 and 2021. Members of the team are Rex Caffey, Kurt Guidry and Jinggang Guo.

Caffey was charged with determining the damages to Louisiana’s seafood industry from the storms of 2020 and 2021. Guidry assessed the damage to major row crops and animal enterprises across the state from the same storms. Guo was the lead investigator for timber losses incurred by Hurricane Ida in 2021.

The economists determined that nearly $3.5 billion dollars of lost revenue and infrastructure damages occurred during these storms. Their findings played a crucial role in helping to obtain disaster relief funds from government agencies.

Three scientists involved in rice breeding were named recipients of the Kenneth W. Tipton Team Research Award. They are retired rice breeder Steve Linscombe and rice researchers Herry Utomo and Ida Wenefrida. They played an instrumental role in developing a low-glycemic, high-protein rice that can be enjoyed by people with diabetes and other health concerns.

An added benefit of the rice is that it contains 53% more protein than conventional white rice, which could benefit individuals suffering from malnutrition in places where rice is a staple food. The rice is not a genetically modified product and is gluten free.

The new rice variety is called Frontière, and its specialized benefits will strengthen the well-being of agriculture and economic development of the state. It is marketed under the name Parish Rice and is sold in grocery stores and online.

Kemberly Johnson, a 4-H agent in Vernon Parish, received the Rosalie Bivin 4-H Youth Development Award.

Achyut Adhikari, associate professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, received the Global Network Award.

Jamila Freightman, extension associate in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, received the Inclusive Excellence Award.

Christi Mitchell, a nutrition educator in Washington Parish, was the recipient of the Ganelle Bullock Outstanding Service Award.

Cathy DeRobertis, a research associate in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, was named the winner of the Outstanding Service Award for Associates.

Lisa Fultz, an associate professor in the School of Plant, Environment and Soil Sciences, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher. The Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher went to Kiki Fontenot, an associate professor in the School of Plant, Environment and Soil Science.

Jerrod Penn received the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award. Penn is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.

Blake Wilson, an associate professor in the Department of Entomology, and graduate research associate Julian Lucero received the award for Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Article of the Year. The article was “Mitigating the Impact of Invasive Apple Snails in Rice and Crawfish Production Systems.”

Service awards were presented to three faculty members for their years of service on the magazine’s editorial board. They were Kenneth Bondioli, a professor in the School of Animal Sciences; Kenneth Gravois, extension sugarcane specialist and Donnie Miller, a weed scientist at the Northeast Research Station near St. Joseph.

The Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Science also presented awards during the ceremony.

Group photo of people holding award plaques.

Pictured are the recipients of the LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture annual award winners along with interim vice president of agriculture and interim dean of the LSU College of Agriculture Matt Lee, second row at left. The awards were announced at a joint ceremony with the Southern University Ag Center and Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences held Dec. 12 at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

12/13/2022 6:13:00 PM
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