LSU AgCenter

Dozens of pecan growers across Louisiana met at the LSU AgCenter Pecan Research Station in Shreveport earlier this month to discuss how proposed federal regulations could impact their operations. State pecan specialist Charlie Graham said the Food Safety Modernization Act will bring about more stringent guidelines that will be harder for small farmers to implement and adhere to. Under the proposed regulations, Graham said, pecan growers may not be able to run cattle in their orchards.

A second top official of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service is retiring.

The LSU AgCenter said Monday that Dwight Landreneau — an AgCenter associate vice chancellor and associate director of the extension service — will retire June 1.

On Jan. 4, extension service director and AgCenter vice chancellor Paul Coreil said he will leave the administration July 1 and continue with other professional obligations until Sept. 15.

Despite uncertainty surrounding federal farm legislation, agricultural economists are optimistic about the market outlook for rice and soybeans with higher prices and more varieties expected.

The American Press reports that was the message given to more than 50 Southwest Louisiana rice and soybean growers attending an agriculture forum last week in Welsh, La.

The LSU AgCenter Audubon Sugar Institute plans a Jan. 25 opening for a pilot plant designed to produce biofuels and biochemicals from agricultural crops and byproducts.

The centerpiece of the AgCenter's sustainable bioproducts Initiative, the plant focuses on processing sweet sorghum, energy cane and other grassy feedstocks into convertible sugars, fiber and bioproducts for further refining into butanol, gasoline, isoprene and biochemicals, said project director Vadim Kochergin.

The head of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service is retiring after more than 34 years with the LSU AgCenter.

Paul Coreil said Friday that he will leave the administration July 1.

He will continue with other national and state committee and professional obligations until Sept. 15.

Coreil has been vice chancellor of the AgCenter and director of the extension service for 12 years.

The LSU AgCenter has hired a veteran food consultant to organize a food business incubator.

Gaye Sandoz, who most recently was with Edible Enterprises — a food business incubator in in Norco — hopes to have the incubator fully developed over the next 12 months.

The AgCenter's incubator will be the second such facility in Louisiana.

Headquartered on LSU's Baton Rouge campus, incubator tenants will have access to expertise of LSU faculty and students.

LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says good weather over the next several weeks could do a lot to reduce a preliminary estimate of $100 million in crop damage from Hurricane Isaac.

He says the preliminary figure is less than damage from last year's drought.

Some farmers lost all of some crops. Guidry says about 250 acres of vegetables were reported as a total loss, and losses were high on another 50 acres or so. But 7,000 to 8,000 acres of vegetables were unharmed.

David Constant has been named head of the department of biological and agricultural engineering, a joint position shared between the LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Engineering.

Constant, most recently dean of the LSU Graduate School, has been on the LSU faculty since 1984. He holds the Humphreys T. Turner Professorship in the department of civil and environmental engineering and has served as associate dean and then interim dean in the College of Engineering.

LSU AgCenter faculty will offer information ranging from beef cattle management to pruning timber at the Hill Farm Field Day set Oct. 9.

Activities begin with registration at 9 a.m., said LSU AgCenter forestry professor Michael Blazier.

Topics to be discussed by LSU AgCenter research and extension faculty during the general station field tour include forage management, beef cattle research, the poultry demonstration house project and planting and thinning strategies for loblolly pine, Blazier said.

The LSU AgCenter will hold a field day Aug. 16 at the Sweet Potato Research Station in Chase, La.

AgCenter research and extension faculty members will lead tours highlighting the foundation seed program as well as breeding, production and pest management research.

Resident coordinator Tara Smith says the breeding program will highlight two varieties released earlier this year.

Other field day topics include improving production efficiency, the best growing practices for the fresh and processed sweet potato markets and production economics.

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