Winners of the LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture staff awards were announced during their annual awards event held Dec. 18 at the LSU Foundation Center for Philanthropy. (Photo by Olivia McClure/LSUAgCenter)
LSU AgCenter, College of Agriculture announce faculty, staff award winners
By Craig Gautreaux, email@example.com
BATON ROUGE — The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture announced the winners of their annual faculty and staff awards during a ceremony held Dec. 18 at the LSU Foundation Center for Philanthropy.
Robin Landry, an area nutrition agent and regional family and consumer science coordinator from Assumption Parish, received the Floyd S. Edmiston Award for her exemplary work with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Landry has worked for the AgCenter for 13 years with a focus on reducing the obesity rate in her region.
She collaborated with local government and private organizations in developing a health and wellness campaign for Assumption Parish. One component involved the construction of walking path with exercises equipment stationed along the path. She has also implemented health programs in three parishes.
Boyd Padgett, an extension plant pathologist who also serves as the state soybean and wheat specialist, received the Extension Excellence Award. Padgett plays a key role in assessing crop damage caused by severe weather and disease outbreaks.
Padgett is part of a group of plant pathologists who evaluate fungicide trials for treating major plants diseases such as Cercospora leaf blight in soybeans and scab in wheat. He is also involved with developing plant disease guides published by the AgCenter and has received more than $3 million in grants to support his research.
Receiving the G & H Seed Company Inc. Research Award was Daniel Stephenson, a weed scientist stationed at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria. This award recognizes a researcher who has conducted exemplary work during the past five years.
Much of Stephenson’s work centers on herbicide-resistant weeds. His outreach efforts and educational programming are stated as primary reasons Louisiana has not experienced the rapid spread of herbicide-resistant weeds as in neighboring states.
Stephenson’s research will continue on strategies for managing weeds such as Johnsongrass, Italian ryegrass and tall waterhemp, which are an issue in all major row crops. He is also a member of the LSU graduate faculty.
Michael Stout received the Doyle Chambers Award. He is an entomologist and the head of the Department of Entomology. His primary area of research involves insect pests of rice, such as the rice water weevil and stink bugs.
Stout’s research has aided in the registration of at least 10 new insecticides for use in rice, and he also has developed cultural practices to minimize the effects of insect pests in rice.
Stout has established international collaborations with scientists in China, Thailand and Brazil, published more than 90 referred articles and has received more than $2.6 million in external funding.
The Louisiana Farm to School program received the Denver T. and Ferne Loupe Extension Team Award. Members of the team are Crystal Bess, Alessandro Holzapfel, Ruthie Losavio, Sydney Melhado, Carl Motsenbocker and Pam Hodson.
The group is responsible for helping to implement farm education components in classrooms across the state. They also work to increase food literacy and increase access to fresh, locally grown food, specifically for children in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Farm to School program has improved the linkage between agricultural producers and school food services through MarketReady workshops. The team also created a recipes resource that features food items that are in season and low-cost with easy-to-follow directions.
A group of researchers who develop sugarcane varieties was the recipient of the Tipton Team Research Award. The team is made up of Niranjan Baisakh, Kenneth Gravois, Jeff Hoy, Collins Kimbeng, Al Orgeron, Michael Pontiff, Sonny Viator and Blake Wilson.
The sugarcane variety development team is involved with the initial selection of potential new commercial sugarcane varieties that are developed at the AgCenter Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel. These varieties must be high-yielding and have characteristics such as being cold tolerant, disease resistant and high in sugar content.
Louisiana’s No. 1 sugar variety is L 01-299, which was developed by the team. Louisiana set a record in total pounds of sugar produced with the 2017-18 crop and set a state record in sugarcane tonnage with the 2018-19 crop with many of the varieties developed by the team.
Jessica Stroope, a nutrition and health educator, received the Rosalie Bivin 4-H Youth Development Award. Stroope was recognized for her work with the 4-H Healthy Living program.
Jenne Farr, program specialist in the sponsored program and intellectual property unit, received the Ganelle Bullock Outstanding Service Award.
Victoria Bayless, a research coordinator in the Department of Entomology, was named the winner of the Outstanding Service Award for Associates.
Sabrina Taylor, an associate professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher. She was also the recipient of the Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Article of the Year award for “The Seaside Sparrow and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.”
Service awards were presented to three faculty members for their years of service on the magazine’s editorial board. They were Melissa Cater, Northeast Region director; Brenda Tubaña, a professor in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences; and Kayanush Aryana, professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Joey Blackburn, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education and Evaluation, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher.
Kristin Stair received the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award. Stair is an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education and Evaluation.