Tours & Visitors
Nicholls State University Raw Cane Sugar Manufacturing Institute tour SRU. Participants in the Nicholls State University Raw Cane Sugar Manufacturing Institute toured the SRU on June 24. The 26 participants representing the states of Louisianaand Florida, as well as at least six countries, are attending the two-week institute designed to teach current technologies utilized in the processing of raw cane. The purpose of the visit was to educate the participants as to research involved in the development of the commercial sugarcane varieties they are processing in their factories. The Unit’s SY’s make 10-minute presentations describing their research and its implication with respect to sugar processing.
Terrebonne Parish Native Americans tour SRU. Participants in the TerrebonneParishSchoolBoard’s Indian Education program toured the SRU on July 15. The group consisted of 17 students from the 7 th through the 11 thgrades and their teachers. The SRU was one of the places chosen to visit during this two-week course that is designed to expose the students to various career opportunities in Agriculture, Science, and the Federal Government. To this end, Dr. Mike Grisham, Kathy Warnke, Lionel Lomax, Randy Richard, and David Verdun provided demonstrations and discussed the pathology, molecular, entomology, and breeding research that SRU scientists and technicians are conducting for the sugarcane industry.
Plymouth RockBaptistChurch Summer Camp Students tour SRU. Approximately 50 students and their supervisors participating in a summer camp sponsored by the PlymouthRockBaptistChurchvisited the SRU on June 23. Mr. Eric Petrie, SRU Biological Science Technician, discussed the history of the Louisiana sugarcane industry, showed the students some of the insects (good and bad) that are commonly found in sugarcane fields, and described some of the uses of sugar to include making things “taste good” such as ice cream and medicines. As a further demonstration, the students were given ice cream to eat. Most of these students were urban kids with no appreciation of the sugar industry in Louisiana. The tour received front page coverage in the June 24 edition of the HoumaDaily Courier.
World Association of Beet and Cane Growers tour SRU. The World Association of Beet and Cane Growers, which is a specialized body within the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, held a meeting in New Orleans. Twenty-nine members of the group visited the SRU on July 22 as part of an American Sugar Cane League-sponsored pre-meeting tour of the Louisianasugarcane industry. SRU staff members: Ed Richard, Mike Grisham, Bill White, Yong-Bao Pan, Rich Johnson, Ryan Viator, John Veremis, Ed Dufrene, and Kathy Warnke discussed various aspects of the unit’s research and answered questions regarding sugarcane production in Louisiana.
Congressional Staff visit SRU: Approx. 25 Congressional staffers participated in an American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A.sponsored tour of the Louisianasugarcane industry. As part of the tour, the staffers visited the Sugarcane Research Laboratory on November 12 th. While at the laboratory, SRU scientists discussed research efforts in: varietal development, disease and insect protection through plant resistance, green-cane harvesting, and the development of cane as a feedstock for the production of energy and other bio-based products.
U.S. Beet Growers tour SRU: About 60 sugar beet growers from the various sugar beet producing states in the northern and western regions of the U.S.participated in an American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A.sponsored tour of the Louisianasugarcane industry on November 19 th. As part of the tour, the growers visited the Sugarcane Research Laboratory. While at the laboratory, Dr. Ed Richard, SRU Research Leader, and CRIS Project Leaders: Drs. Tom Tew, Mike Grisham, and Rich Johnson discussed research efforts in: varietal development, disease and insect protection, green-cane harvesting, and the development of cane as a feedstock for the production of energy and other bio-based products.
SRU Scientists host Visitors: Dr. Sarah Lingle, Research Plant Physiologist, located in New Orleans, LA, is hosting two visitors from Thailandat the SRRC in New Orleans. Dr. Manit Kosittrakun, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Khon Kaen University, will be in New Orleans January 14–27 while Mr. Watanachai Lontom, a Ph.D. candidate at KhonKaenUniversitywill be in New Orleansuntil April 29. The purpose of the visit is to establish research collaboration on the role of acid invertases on pre- and post-harvest juice quality in sugarcane. The research will be conducted by Mr. Lontom, who will learn enzyme extraction and assay techniques in Dr. Lingle’s laboratory before returning to Thailandto complete his research. In addition, SRU scientists at Houmahosted two visitors, Mr. Peter McGuire and Mr. Robert Quirk, from the New South Whales area of AustraliaJanuary 18–20. Mr. McGuire is a sugarcane extension specialist with the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations and Mr. Quirk is a sugarcane farmer. Since the climate in New South Whales is similar to Louisiana, the individuals were particularly interested in the cultural practices research being conducted by the SRU as well as the research conducted to date exploring the use of cane biomass as a feedstock for biofuels.
Arkansas High School Group tours SRU: Eighty-two science students along with 16 chaperones from Caddo Hills High School in Norman, AR visited the Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) on Monday March 21. The group was touring agriculture regions growing crops not indigenous to their area. While at the SRU, the visitors were shown a video on the 200 + year history of the Louisianasugarcane industry, how sugarcane is grown and processed into table sugar. technical staff consisting of Eric Petrie, Thomas Duet, Clinton Randall, Kathy Warnke, Jeannette Adams, Jeri Maggio, David Verdun, and Randy Richard mission and areas of sugarcane research being conducted by the Unit. Research discussed as the students toured the labs and facilities included: disease recognition and the diagnostic tools used to identify these diseases using the SRU’s CSI Lab - just like the one on TV; variety development and growth of commercial and potential new cane varieties; and sugarcane insect identification and the utilization of predatory insects as part of an integrated pest management program. For fun and at the end of the tour the students were given a 10 question multiple choice test with questions such as: What makes sugar white? How much can a stalk of sugarcane grow in a day? What are fire ants good for? What does a pathologist study?
Agriculture Research Service receives Chinese Visitor: Dr. Yang-Rui Li, President of the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS), Nanning, China, visited the Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) and the Sugarcane Processing Research Institute at New Orleans, LA and the SRRC’s Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) at Houma, LA on April 25-26, 2005. During his visit to the various entities, Dr. Li exchanged general information on sugarcane research. Dr. Li was particularly interested in exploring the possibility of developing cooperative research and scientific exchange programs on sugarcane physiology, breeding, genetics, and chemical regulation of growth and development between researchers at the SRU and GAAS .
Nicholls State University Raw Sugar Manufacturing Short Course visits ARS Sugarcane Research Laboratory (SRL): Fifteen individuals representing raw sugar mills from Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Venezuela, and the United States are taking part in a raw sugar manufacturing short course sponsored by NSU at Thibodaux, LA. The group visited the SRL at Houma, LAon June 15th where various aspects of sugarcane production that effect cane deliveries and the quality of sugar produced at the raw sugar mills were discussed by members of the Sugarcane Research Unit stationed at the SRL. Discussions included: varietal development and its effect on cane and sugar yields (Dr. Tom Tew, Research Geneticist), effects of diseases (Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist) and insects (Dr. Bill White, Research Entomologist) on cane and sugar yields, cane maturation and artificial cane ripening (Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader), increasing cane quality by improving harvesting efficiency (Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist), and the variable rate application of nutrients to increase production efficiencies and juice quality (Dr. Rich Johnson, Research Agronomist). The group also toured the SRL’s Juice Quality Laboratory where Mrs. Michelle Portier, Biological Science Technician, demonstrated the lab’s automated juice sampling processes.
Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) Members host Youth Group: The Sugarcane Research Laboratory served as the site for a field trip for participants of the PlymouthRockBaptistChurch’s Summer Day Camp. The participants, ranging in age from seven to twelve, and their counselors spent most of the morning of June 16 at the Laboratory in Houma, Louisiana. While at the Laboratory, they were shown a video entitled: “Raising Cane in Louisiana”. The group was then given a tour of the facility to hear discussions on: the impact and detection of diseases (Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist, and Biological Science Technicians, Kathy Warnke and Lionel Lomax), the rearing of sugarcane borers for entomological research (Biological Science Technicians, Jeannette Adams and Elta Duet), and sugarcane varietal development (Dr. John Veremis, Research Geneticist and Mr. Edwis Dufrene, Agronomist). The utilization of sugar was demonstrated, by providing members of the group with snow cones at the conclusion of the tour. The group was very inquisitive and a joy to host.
Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) host Scientist for a Day Winner: Each year the SRU sponsors a "Scientist for a Day" award at the Terrebonne Parish Science and Engineering Fair. Demonstrating the marvels of agricultural science from the lab to the field was the objective of the SRU staff as they hosted this year’s recipient, Mr. Yun Liu, on June 16 at the Sugarcane Research Laboratory. Biological Science Technicians Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, and Lionel Lomax introduced Yun to the world of molecular biology, while Biological Science Technicians Jeannette Adams and Elta Duet explained how both the detrimental sugarcane borer and Cotesia, a very small wasp that can kill sugarcane borer larvae, are raised in the insectory for research. Dr. John Veremis, Research Geneticist, showed Yun how breeding with wild plant relatives of sugarcane can be used to introduce new traits such as cold tolerance, vigor, and insect and disease resistance into commercial sugarcane varieties. Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, gave him a tour of the many research projects being conducted at the 300‑acre USDA farm. Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist, acted as host and coordinator for the day’s activities. Yun, a sophomore at Terrebonne High School, was also an overall Grand Prize winner of the Terrebonne Parish science fair and participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona, May 8th to 14th.
ARS’s Sugarcane Research Unit Members host National Vocational Agriculture Convention Participants: Approximately 125 vocational agriculture teachers, from across the U.S. took a break from the business matters of their national convention in Thibodaux, LA to tour the Sugarcane Research Laboratory at Houma, LA on June 21. Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader, discussed the significance of the sugar industry to Louisiana, the history of ARS’s involvement in the sugar industry, and ARS research in sugarcane varietal development. Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, discussed the mechanical harvesting of sugarcane and research efforts to identify ways to reduce the industry’s dependence on the use of burning to reduce the impact of leafy trash on harvesting efficiency and crop growth. The influence and management of weed, disease, and insect pests was discussed by Dr. Richard and Mrs. Jeannette Adams, Biological Science Technician, Sugarcane was a new crop to many of the teachers and as such the speakers had to field a wide array of questions.
Local residents given tours of the Sugarcane Research Laboratory (SRL): On August 3 a local father and son requested and were given a tour of the SRL. The son was completing his World Conservation Badge for Cub Scouts and needed to tour an agricultural research facility. Eric Petrie discussed the history of the SRL and outlined the research conducted there including; the basic breeding, entomology and weed control programs. Kathy Warnke and Jeri Maggio discussed plant pathology and molecular biology research, including the procedures used to extract DNA and the process of PCR. A tour of the insectary was also given with discussions centered on the rearing of sugarcane borers and beneficial insects. At the photo period house, there was a discussion about how sugarcane is induced to flower under Louisiana conditions and also outlined the various steps in the varietal development process. On August 4th two local residents were given a similar tour with Eric Petrie, Lionel Lomax and Jeri Maggio providing the tour information. Both tours ended with the viewing of the video "Growing Sugarcane in Louisiana". Both tour groups asked informative questions and were clearly excited to tour the facility.
Local Public School Students tour Research Farm: Eric Petrie, Ryan Viator, Edwis Dufrene, Harold Callahan, and Ed Richard hosted a visit to the Sugarcane Research Laboratory’s Ardoyne Research Farm by approximately 170 public school students on March 20-21, 2006. The students were taking part in the TerrebonneParishSchoolSystem’s Operation Move Program. The after-school program provides tutoring and educational opportunities for students whose parents are still at work. While at the research farm, the students heard presentations on the history of sugarcane production in Louisiana; how and why sugarcane grows in Louisiana; the impact of sugarcane production on the local and state economies; the disease, insect and weed pests that affect sugarcane and why farmers must control them; and the various types of machinery used to grow and harvest sugarcane.
Local High School Student tours the Sugarcane Research Laboratory: Miss Britney Haydel, recipient of the Sugarcane Research Unit's "Scientist for a Day" award at the 2006 Terrebonne Parish Science and Engineering Fair, spent the day (July 27, 2006) touring the unit’s laboratories and farm getting a first-hand introduction to some of the research being conducted by the ARS scientists at the SRU. Technicians Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, and Lionel Lomax introduced her to the world of molecular biology, while Drs. Rich Johnson and Ryan Viator gave her a tour of the many projects being conducted at the research farm. Dr. Mike Grisham acted as host and coordinator for the day’s activities. Britney graduated from TerrebonneHigh Schoolin May 2006, and will be attending LouisianaStateUniversityin the fall.
Local Teachers Given tour of Sugarcane Research Laboratory: The Sugarcane Research Unit at Houma, Louisiana hosted a group of science and social studies teachers from Terrebonne Parish who were taking part in a Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service sponsored Ag in the Class Room Workshop. The workshop is designed to expose teachers to agriculture in Louisianaby providing them with discussions on various crops and lessen plans that can be used by the teachers as they discuss the importance of agriculture to Louisiana’s economy. Emphasis during the workshop was on livestock rice production in Louisiana. Dr. Ed Richard, welcomed the participants and provided them with a tour of the Unit’s sugarcane breeding facility.
National Agriculture in the Classroom Educators and Volunteers tour Research Farm: Drs. Ed Richard and Caleb Dalley and Messrs. Eric Petrie, Frank Randall, Thomas Duet, Harold Callahan, and Hubert Zeller hosted 120 participants with the USDA- and Farm Bureau-sponsored National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference at the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm on June 8. The conference, which was being held in New Orleans, is designed for educators and volunteers across the U.S.who have an interest in agricultural literacy. While on a “hayride type” tour through the farm, the history of and facts about the Louisianasugar industry, as well as the research in sugarcane varietal development and management being contacted at the SRU, was discussed.
High School Students tour Research Farm: Mr. Eric Petrie provided a tour of the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm on June 11 to eleven Native American high school students along with three chaperones taking part in the 2007 Terrebonne Parish Youth Leadership Camp. Mr. Petrie discussed the opportunities in agricultural science and the types of scientific research being conducted at the SRU in sugarcane. Major emphasis was placed on the need for photoperiod induction of flowering in the varietal development program and the length of time needed to develop a variety as well as the ongoing entomological work where resistant varieties are sought out to lessen the need for insecticide applications. The students also viewed the farm equipment, some working in the field and others on static display near the shop.
Chinese Scientist visits SRU: Dr. Yang-Rui Li, President of the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Nanning, Guangxi, Chinavisited the Sugarcane Research Unit on June 11-12. In addition to visiting with the scientists to learn more about the research being conducted at the SRU and discuss future collaborative efforts outside of an existing NFCA on germplasm exchange, Dr. Li presented a seminar titled: “Research and Development of the Sugar Industry in China”.
Sixty-two campers toured Research Farm: Sixty-two campers from Mechanicville Weed and Seed program, ranging in age from 7 to 15, toured the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Farm operation. Messrs. Eric Petrie, Caleb Dalley, Edwis Dufrene, and Hubert Zeller discussed the history, culture, pest problems, and harvesting of sugarcane as well as the processing of sugarcane samples brought in to the lab to assess the quality of the sugarcane. This energetic group was most attentive and retained much of what the heard as they were able to repeat it at later stops. Interesting questions ranged from, “Do you have snakes in those fields?” to “What does the sugarcane borer do to the sugarcane?” These well-behaved young people left with a greater understanding of how sugarcane is grown and the process it takes for us to develop a single new variety.
Local Boys and Girls Club tours Research Farm: Eric Petrie, Caleb Dalley, Edwis Dufrene, Elta Duet, and Harold Callahan hosted a tour of the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm on July 13, 2007 to 60 young men and women members of Terrebonne Parish’s branch of The Boys and Girls Club of America. The participants, ranging in age from 8 to 16, and their chaperones were given brief presentations on: the history of sugarcane in Louisiana, the development of new varieties, alternative uses of sugarcane, equipment used on the farm, and the insect pests that plague sugarcane. Questions from the group included: “how is sugar made after you get the syrup?”, “how many eggs does one sugarcane borer moth lay?”, and “how can we get a job working here?” This well-behaved group left knowing the importance of sugarcane to Louisianaand how the Sugarcane Research Unit plays a vital role in accomplishing that goal.
Weyerhaeuser Corporation’s Timberlands Strategic Planning Group visits SRU: Messrs. Fred Bigelow, Venkatesh Kumar, Dwight Anderson, and David Maxey and Ms. Virginia Morales from the Weyerhaeuser Corporation’s Timberlands Strategic Planning Group visited Drs. Ed Richard and Anna Hale of the Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) on October 15, 2007. The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the SRU’s research into the development of energy cane and other companion high biomass crops that can be grown as feedstocks for the production of cellulosic ethanol. Weyerhaeuser has considerable acreages of land in pipeline rights of way in Louisianaand surrounding states that could be planted to energy crops. Weyerhaeuser is exploring the cellulosic conversion of its wood waste to ethanol. The planting of rights of way to high biomass feedstocks would provide an additional stream of feedstock to the biorefinery as well as a new source of revenue for the company.
Cub Scout members visit SRU: Scout members of Den 3, Pack 401 and their parents/guardians visited the Sugarcane Research Unit on October 23, 2007 as one of their field trips. While visiting, Dr. Caleb Dalley and Mr. Eric Petrie discussed the unit’s research as well as how to grow vegetables i.e. where food comes from. Dr. Caleb Dalley also serves as the den’s leader .
ASA/CSSA/SSSA Members tour SRU: About 55 participants at the joint meeting of the: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of Americatoured the sugarcane producing area of Louisiana. Included in the tour were stops at the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Houmacampus and its Ardoyne Research Farm at Schriever, LA.While in Houmaduring the AM, Drs. Tom Tew and Anna Hale discussed ARS’s sugarcane breeding program and the 13-yr breeding to varietal release selection program. In addition, Drs. Bill White and Mike Grisham discussed their research in entomology (White) and pathology (Grisham) in support of the varietal development program. In the PM the participants viewed some of the experimental energy cane plots, watched the harvesting of energy cane in small plots using commercial harvesting equipment, and toured the juice quality laboratory at the SRU’s Ardoyne Research Farm.
Dow AgroSciences visits SRU: Katherine Armstrong and Susan Jayne of Dow Agrosciences visited with the professional staff of the Sugarcane Research Unit on March 4, 2008 to discuss the Unit’s research in the development of sugarcane and related sugar-containing grasses for the production of ethanol. Dr. Armstrong is DAS’s Global R&D Leader for Technology and Intellectual Capital Management and Dr. Jayne is the Cell Biology Research Leader in DAS’s Discovery R & D group. DAS is looking into the feasibility of using ethanol derived from sugar for the production of plastics at its manufacturing facility near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Sons and Daughters visit SRU: On March 28, during the TerrebonneParishSchoolBoard’s Easter Holidaythe Sugarcane Research sponsored the “Bring your son/daughter to work day”. Dr. Anna Hale explained to the six children how sugarcane varieties are developed and what is involved in testing these varieties. Mrs. Jeri Maggio explained disease identification and provided the children an opportunity to sample a sugarcane plant for Ratoon Stunting Disease. Mr. Randy Richard illustrated the importance of insect identification with an insect display and allowed the children an opportunity to experience insect collection in the sugarcane field while collecting pitfall traps at the Ardoyne Research Farm. Dr. Caleb Dalley showed the children how to identify different weeds by their seeds and explained the importance of proper weed identification. Dr. Richard Johnson showed some of his research involving leaf reflectance and how he is trying to develop a system of identifying sugar levels with leaf reflectance. Dr. Ryan Viator demonstrated the importance of safety in the workplace by having the children describe how he should be dressed for applying pesticides in the field. He also discussed his research in utilizing leaf area indexes to quantify plant health. Finally, during the farm tour Mr. Harold Callahan showed field equipment utilized in sugarcane production and research.
Garden Club visits SRU: On April 10, Mr. Eric Petrie of the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted a visit by 14 members of the Barr-BerryGardenClub of Houma. While touring the facilities and grounds, the members were given a lesson on the history of the industry, cultural practices used to produce sugarcane, and methodology used to produce raw and refined sugar from the delivered sugarcane stalks. During the visit the group also learned of the mission of the Sugarcane Research Unit and how it has helped and continues to help the local growers as well as growers across the globe to be better producers.
First-graders visit SRU: On May 30, Scientists and staff at the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted two first grade classes from St. Bernadette Catholic School. Sixty students, along with over thirty parents, viewed demonstrations/presentations on weed control, insects of sugarcane, remote sensing, sugarcane genetics, and crop physiology. Highlights included viewing live sugarcane borers and running DNA gels. The SRL staff enjoyed the colorful thank you notes that each child sent to them in appreciation for the tour.
Native American Students visit SRU: On June 9, a group of Native American students ages 15-18, toured the Sugarcane Research Unit's Ardoyne Farm location. Talks were presented by Elta Duet, Randy Richard, and Eric Petrie on the juice lab and its role for the SRU, entomology concerns, and pests of sugarcane. The group was also given a field tour where they saw land being precision graded, sugarcane diseases, the stubble and plant cane seedlings, sweet sorghum, and corn. Equipment used on the farm was also discussed.
CIRAD Scientist visits SRU: On June 16–20, Sugarcane Research Unit entomologist, Dr. William H. White hosted Dr. Francois-Regis Goebel an entomologist from the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in Montpellier, France. Dr. Goebel is the Sugarcane Project Coordinator for CIRAD. The purpose of Dr. Goebel’s visit was two fold: first, to become familiar with the Louisiana sugarcane industry by visiting with unit, industry, and university personnel and second, to become familiar with sugarcane research being conducted at the Sugarcane Research Laboratory in Houma, LA.Dr. Goebel also presented a seminar to the SRL staff on the organizational structure and research efforts of CIRAD. Dr. Goebel provided useful suggestions to Dr. White on his research project as well as initiated dialogue for future collaborative efforts between CIRAD and ARS.
Professor from Agricultural University in India visits SRU: On August 7-8, 2008, Dr. V.C. Patil, Director of Post-Graduate Instruction and Head of The Division of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad, India visited with Dr. Rich Johnson and other members of the Sugarcane Research Unit. Dr. Patil is very interested in the utilization of remote sensing technologies for the production of sugarcane in India.
SRU host Visitors from Brazilian Sugarcane Industry: On November 18, 2008 Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Richard Johnson, Ryan Viator, and Ed Richard hosted visitors from Uberlandia, Brazil. The nine visitors represented various aspects of the sugarcane industry in and around Uberlandiato include: sugar/alcohol mill managers, growers, agrichemical suppliers, and the FederalUniversityof Uberlandia. The visitors came to Louisianato get a first-hand look at sugarcane production in Louisiana. While at the SRU, the research being conducted in the areas of soil fertility and cultural practices was discussed and the harvesting of field research plots using commercial sugarcane harvesting equipment was demonstrated. Also discussed was the possibility of developing a non-funded cooperative agreement where graduate students, funded by the FederalUniversity, could come to the SRU for post-doctorial training.
Two Scientists from Thailand visit SRU: On April 28-30, 2009 Drs. Wiwat Suasaard and Sopon Uraichuen from the National Biological Control Research Center located at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand visited Sugarcane Research Unit scientist, Dr. William White. While at the SRU, the visitors viewed SRU’s research farm and insect rearing facilities and discussed possibilities of future collaborative research in the area of biological control of sugarcane stem borers.
Local Middle School Students visit SRU: The Sugarcane Research Unit hosted 96 seventh grade students from the Sixth Ward Middle School in Lafourche Parish on May 1, 2009. Five tour stops were formed to share the mission of the SRU. Dr. Anna Hale explained the importance of the breeding program in development of new and better varieties for the industry. Dr. Caleb Dalley showed the group a DVD which explained the history, cultural practices, harvesting and creation of sugar products. Ms. Kathryn Warnke showed some diagnostic methods used to isolate certain diseases and had some newly collected rust spores under the microscope for the students to observe. Ms. Stephanie Grant spoke on DNA extraction and how it plays a vital role in determining a link to certain traits in sugarcane. Mr. Randy Richard displayed various growth stages of the sugarcane borer, allowed the students to view the insects under high power magnification, and spoke on the significance of controlling the borer in an eco-friendly way using beneficial insects. Mr. Eric Petrie talked on keeping it green and how sugarcane may in their lifetime run their cars and light their homes. Leading the groups from talk to talk were Ms. Jeri Maggio, Ms. Jennifer Shaw, Ms. Jeannette Adams, Mr. David Verdun, and Mr. Cory Landry.
Summer Camp Students visit SRU: Twenty students and five teachers from the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, a science based summer camp, toured the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Farm and June 2. Twenty students and five teachers from the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, a science based summer camp, toured the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Farm. Mr. Randy Richard and Hubert Zeller assisted Eric Petrie with the group and discussed the equipment used in our research efforts and the threat from insect pests, as well as the use of beneficial insects to control the various insect pests of sugarcane. The group was also given a tour of the Unit’s juice analysis lab where the various pieces of equipment were demonstrated and a tour of the farm where: potential new varieties, disease concerns, alternate crops (sweet sorghum and soybeans), and energy cane and its potential in their lives were discussed. The visit concluded with a viewing of the video on sugarcane history, culture, and some of the end products from sugarcane.. Mr. Randy Richard and Hubert Zeller assisted Eric Petrie with the group and discussed the equipment used in our research efforts and the threat from insect pests, as well as the use of beneficial insects to control the various insect pests of sugarcane. The group was also given a tour of the Unit’s juice analysis lab where the various pieces of equipment were demonstrated and a tour of the farm where: potential new varieties, disease concerns, alternate crops (sweet sorghum and soybeans), and energy cane and its potential in their lives were discussed. The visit concluded with a viewing of the video on sugarcane history, culture, and some of the end products from sugarcane.
SRU hosts Tomato Field Day: On June 20, 2009: the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted the annual Terrebonne/Lafourche Parish Tomato Field Day at its Houma location. The field day, an annual event of the Louisiana State University’s Cooperative Extension Service and the Terrebonne/Lafourche Master Gardeners, is designed to educate the home gardener as to new techniques to grow and varieties to plant in their gardens. Planting of the various vegetables was done on the SRU’s campus in a section of fallowed ground that was not being used by the SRU’s scientists this spring and summer. The event, attended by nearly 250 participants, also afforded an opportunity for Dr. Ed Richard, SRU Research Leader, and Mr. Eric Petrie to inform the participants about the research activities of the SRU and its importance to the Louisiana sugarcane industry.
Canal Point Scientist visits SRU: Dr. Duli Zhao from the ARS Sugar Cane Field Station in Canal Point, Florida visited Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Richard Johnson and Ryan Viator from June 23-26, 2009. While at the SRU, Dr. Zhao, a new SY hire at the Sugarcane Field Station, toured the SRU’s facilities and also discussed the possibility of future collaborative research in the areas of remote sensing and crop physiology.
Sugar School Participants tour SRU: Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Tom Tew, Anna Hale, and Ed Richard, and SRU technician, Mrs. Jeannette Adams, hosted 14 participants in the Nicholls State University-sponsored Raw Sugar Institute on June 25, 2009. The institute, held annually, is designed as a 2-week series of lectures to cover all aspects of raw sugar production from the delivery of the sugarcane to the mill to the selling of the raw sugar. The participants came from Louisiana (5), Florida (1), Colombia (1), Ecuador (1), El Salvador (1), Jamaica (1), and Mexico (4). While at the SRU, the participants were informed about the SRU’s sugarcane breeding program including how sugarcane crosses are made and what traits are being bred for to increase cane and sugar yields (Drs. Tew and Hale) and how sugarcane samples are processed to determine sugar yields from experimental plots at the SRU’s Juice Quality Lab (Dr. Richard and Mrs. Adams).
Science Students visit SRU: Thirty-eight students from Louisiana State Universities Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Research Scholars Program toured the Sugarcane Research Unit on July 17, 2009. The science based students are interested in pursuing careers in research. The tour began with an overview of the research activities at the SRU and the importance of sugarcane to the economy of the state of Louisiana by Mr. Eric Petrie. This was followed by demonstrations of disease diagnosis in sugarcane by Mrs. Kathy Warnke. In addition, Ms. Stephanie Grant discussed the process of extracting DNA and sequencing the genes from sugarcane and the importance of molecular genetics to the overall mission of the SRU.
SRU hosts visitors from Paraguay: On August 5, 2009 the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted a 5-member delegation from Paraguay. The delegation consisting of Ms. Maria Laura ESCOBAR, President of PRONET (Pro Nature); Mr. Guillermo Nicolas PARRA, Electromechanical Engineer; Mr. Jorge PUSINERI, Coordinator of Water, Sanitation, and Energy for Altel Vida; Mr. Julio Cesar RODRIGUEZ, Head of the Biofuels Department in the Vice Ministry of Energy; and Mr. Blas Enrique ZAPAG, Director General. The visitors were invited to the U.S. under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The purpose of the program and visit are to: (1) examine public-private partnerships for the development of sugarcane and cellulosic ethanol energy fuel solutions and new clean agro-energy technologies being introduced by the alternative fuel industry, (2) understand the U.S. biofuels policies relating to the elimination of secondary tariffs on ethanol and the elevation of the percentage of ethanol in fuels, (3) visit commercial production plants or pilots producing ethanol from cellulose, wood and sugarcane in addition to experiencing communities utilizing mixed ethanol and E-diesel fuels in public and private transportation services, and (4) examine U.S. efforts in promoting international cooperation to explain the availability of alternative sources of energy, reducing global dependence on oil, and helping meet the growing energy demands of modern life. While at the SRU, Drs. Richard, Tew and Hale discussed the SRU’s efforts to develop high fiber sugarcane varieties and a cropping system that includes complimentary sugar-producing crops to insure year round deliveries to biorefineries that produce ethanol from both sugar and cellulose.
SRU Hosts Visitors from US Sugar Association: On September 16, 2009 eleven participants in the US Sugar Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans visited the Sugarcane Research Unit as part of an American Sugar Cane League-sponsored tour of the Louisiana sugar industry. At the SRU, Dr. Bill White, Acting RL, discussed the mission of the SRU and the various areas of research being conducted. The group then visited the SRU’s crossing facility where the art of sugarcane crossing in a temperate environment was discussed. In addition, the group had a chance to see demonstration plots of the various sugar and energy cane varieties being developed for the sugar industry. The group also had a chance to tour the SRU’s Ardoyne Research Farm where sugarcane planting, harvesting, and milling were discussed.
SRU Hosts Students from Pakistan: Two Ph.D. students, Usman Hameed and Khushi Mohammad, from the School of Biological Sciences, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan are conducting one-year sugarcane molecular marker research internship at the Sugarcane Research Unit under the supervision of Dr. Yong-Bao Pan. The training is part of a U.S.-Pakistan Technology Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Scientist from Egypt Visits SRU: Dr. Mohamed Sharaf of the Sugar Crops Research Institute in Alexandria, Egypt will be visiting Sugarcane Research Unit scientists, Drs. Tom Tew and Anna Hale from September 29 thto October 9 th. While at the SRU, Dr. Sharif will be developing a joint Egyptian-US proposal titled: “Breeding to Increase Sugar Content in the Egyptian Sugar Cane Varieties” to be submitted to the USAID in Cairo The proposed project will involve the utilization of some of the experimental lines developed by the SRU at Houma.
US Sugar Association Members Tour SRU: On September 16, 2009, eleven participants in the US Sugar Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans visited the Sugarcane Research Unit as part of an American Sugar Cane League-sponsored tour of the Louisiana sugar industry. At the SRU, Dr. Bill White, Acting RL, discussed the mission of the SRU and the various areas of research being conducted. The group then visited the SRU’s crossing facility where the art of sugarcane crossing in a temperate environment was discussed. In addition, the group had a chance to see demonstration plots of the various sugar and energy cane varieties being developed for the sugar industry. The group also had a chance to tour the SRU’s Ardoyne Research Farm where sugarcane planting, harvesting, and milling were discussed.
SRU Hosts Visiting Scientist from China: On October 21, 2009 Dr. Pingwu Liu, an Associate Professor from HuazhoungAgriculturalUniversity, Wuhan, China, started his one-year visiting program at the USDA Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, LA. Dr. Liu is working with SRU scientist Dr. Yong-Bao Pan to search for trait-specific DNA marker(s) and/or quantitative trait linkage (QTL) in sugarcane.
Researchers from El Salvador visit SRU: Drs. Emma Guzmán and Marcela Lemus, researchers with the CSSA Sugar Mill Group in El Salvador, visited SRU scientists: Tom Tew, Anna Hale, Mike Grisham, and Ed Richard on November 10, 2009. El Salvadorhas a small sugarcane industry and the possibility of burning bagasse to co-generate electricity is being explored. The visitors were particularly interested in the high fiber types of energy cane being developed at the SRU and the planting of these “energy canes” in areas of El Salvadornot suited to conventional sugar cane production. The establishment of a non-funded cooperative agreement between the SRU and CSSA that would allow for the testing of experimental energy cane varieties developed at the SRU in El Salvadoris being explored.
Elementary School Students Visit SRU: On March 10, 2010 the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted the second grade class from West Park Elementary School. Students were interested in learning how our food gets from the farm to our tables. The DVD on Growing Sugarcane in Louisiana was shown to the students and students were able to see, feel, and taste the various types of sugar. Agricultural technicians Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, and Elta Duet set up microscope demonstrations that allowed the students to see the various types of sugar crystals and some living insects close up. The overall coordinator of the visit was Eric Petrie.
SRU Hosts Visiting Scientist from China: Dr. Youxiong Que, an Assistant Professor from the Sugarcane Research Institute of Fujian Agriculture & Forestry University in China, is visiting Sugarcane Research Unit scientists Drs. Yong-Bao Pan and Michael Grisham for a period of one year. During his visit, Dr. Que will work on the sugarcane smut disease with an emphasis on molecular marker development. Dr. Que is sponsored by China National R&D Center for Sugarcane Industry Technology, as part of a non-funded cooperative agreement with the SRU.
Elementary School Students Visit SRU: On May 17, 2010, the 4th grade class of St. Bernadette School (60 kids) visited the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm. The class each year visits a local entity that represents Louisiana and in this case the Louisiana Sugarcane Industry. While at the farm the students viewed demonstrations of cane processing, harvesting, planting, data collection, and soil health. Harold Callahan, Halley Burleson, Lionel Lomax, Trevis Olivier, Hubert Zeller, Ryan Viator, and Paul White all provided assistance with the tour. Students, parents, and teachers expressed how much they learned about sugarcane and science during the tour.
Wetlands Discovery Center Students Visit SRU: On June 9, 2010 thirty-nine sixth grade students and five teachers from the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, a science based summer camp, toured the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Farm. The importance of our research was emphasized in many ways. Dr. Paul White demonstrated how the use of precision grading of fields with a laser level and the use of post-harvest crop residues can slow down soil erosion. Dr Richard Johnson explained how we collect leaf reflectance and how we use that data to see the overall plant health, and how we can reduce the runoff of pesticides and fertilizer. The students toured the new crossing facility as well as the juice lab and enjoyed looking over the various pieces of equipment we use. The hosts for the group included: Eric Petrie, Brenda Campbell, Jessica Brown, Mr. Harold Callahan, and Trevis Oliver.
Nicholls State University's Sugar School Participants tour SRU: On June 10, 2010, fifteen participants in the Nicholls State University’s 2010 Raw Sugar Institute visited the Sugarcane Research Unit. The participants were employed by either raw sugar beet or sugarcane factories in the states of: Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana as well as in the countries of: Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. While at the SRU the participants learned about the influence of breeding and varietal selection on the quality of cane delivered to the factories from the SRU’s sugarcane breeders (Drs. Tom Tew and Anna Hale) and how cane quality is measured at the SRU’s Juice Quality Lab (Jeannette Adams and Ed Richard). Drs. Hale, Tew and Richard also gave the participants and overview of the SRU’s energy cane program and how both the sugar and energy cane projects at the Unit complement each other from the stand point of varietal development.
Summer Camp Students Visit SRU: On July 14, 2010, the staff of the Sugarcane Research Unit hosted 18 children ranging in ages from 6 to 13 years old from the Residence Baptist Church summer day camp. Demonstrations and hands-on activities were led by Eric Petrie, Randy Richard, Elta Duet, Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, and Nicholas Sevin. Among the hand-on activities, the children were able to see and handle the different growth stages of the sugarcane borer. They also learned about how another insect could be used as a biological control of the sugarcane borer. The children collected and observed biological samples under the microscope and some experienced using laboratory instruments. The children were also given sugarcane stalk pieces to chew to demonstrate where sugar really comes from.
Professor from Pakistan Visits SRU: On August 9 – 18, 2010, Dr. Javed Iqbal, Professor and Director of School of Biological Sciences (SBS), Punjab University, Pakistan visited Dr. Yong-Bao Pan and other scientists at the Sugarcane Research Unit. Dr. Iqbal and Dr. Pan are Co-PI’s on a joint project under the Pakistan-United States Science and Technology Cooperative Program titled: “Enhance Sugarcane Production in Pakistan by Modern Breeding Technology”. While at the SRU Dr. Iqbal: discussed on-going and future collaborative research with Dr. Pan and the other scientists at the SRU and presented a seminar on the SBS and his research projects with the SRU and LSU.
Retired Ranchers and Farmers from Nebraska Visit SRU: On Septmber 21, 2010 a group of 30 retired ranchers and farmers from western Nebraska toured the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm. The group was given an overview of the Unit’s history and mission by Mr. Eric Petrie and was shown a video titled “Raising Cane in Louisiana”. Following the video, the group toured the Unit’s sugarcane processing lab and the new crossing house. One member commented: “It is good to see our tax dollars being put to GOOD use”. Mr. Petrie was assisted by Mr. Harold Callahan.
Chinese Sugarcane Scientists Visit SRU: On November 5, 2010 Drs. Yanwen Wei and Dr. Jun Liang Deputy Directors of the Sugarcane Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Guangzi Sugarcane Research Institute and Mr. Lei_Sing Mo, with the Quality Inspection and Test Center for Sugar Cane and its Products, China Ministry of Agriculture, located at the Guangxi Sugar Cane Research Institute visited with members of the Sugarcane Research Unit at Houma to discuss the possibility of collaborative research efforts in molecular genetics, sugarcane breeding, pathology, and entomology as part of a non-funded cooperative agreement between the SRU and the Guangxi Sugar Cane Research Institute. China is seeing its sugar industry go from a predominantly small farm, hand-harvested industry to one where farms are consolidated making mechanical harvesting more feasible. As a result the visitors were interested in discussing studies conducted by the SRU’s scientists to assess harvesting efficiency and the impact of mechanical harvesting on sugarcane stubbling ability.
SRU Hosts Vegetable Field Day: On November 6, 2010 the Sugarcane Research Unit along with the Lafourche-Terrebonne Master Gardeners and the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service hosted a Fall Garden Field Day at the SRU’s Houma, LA worksite. The focus of the program was to showcase vegetables that can be grown in South Louisiana outside the traditional home garden favorites of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard and turnips.
American Sugarbeet Association Tours SRU: On November 20, 2010 the Board of Directors of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association met in New Orleans, November 18 and 19. As part of the post meeting activities approximately 40 members toured the Louisiana sugarcane industry on November 20 with a stop at the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm. While at the SRU, Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader, discussed ARS’s involvement in sugarcane research to include its efforts in varietal development and cultural practices to improve the efficiency of the Louisiana sugarcane industry.
Members of Costa Rican Sugarcane Industry Visit SRU: On November 23, 2010 Sugarcane Research Unit Research Agronomist, Dr. Rich Johnson, was visited by three members of the Costa Rican Sugarcane Industry. The visitors were interested in applying some of Dr. Johnson’s research on the utilization of precision agriculture technologies to their industry in an effort to improve yields and overall production efficiency. Why at the SRU the visitors met with other members of the staff to discuss other areas of potential cooperative research. Sugarcane bagasse at the Costa Rican sugar mills is used to cogenerate electricity and they are interested in testing some of the SRU high fiber experimental energy cane varieties as well.
Chinese Sugarcane Scientists Visit SRU: On February 14, 2011, Dr. Chenghua Huang and Dr. Rongzhong Yang, Deputy Directors of the Guangxi Sugarcane Research Institute, Mr. Weizhong He, Director of Foreign Affairs, Guangxi Sugarcane Research Institute, and Dr. Zongkun Tan, Guangxi Meteorological Institute visited the Dr. Y-B Pan and other members of the Sugarcane Research Unit to discuss the possibility of collaborative research efforts in molecular genetics, sugarcane breeding, pathology, and entomology as part of a non-funded cooperative agreement between the SRU and the Guangxi Sugarcane Research Institute. The visitors also visited John Deere Thibodaux and toured its sugarcane harvester assembly line. China is seeing its sugar industry go from a predominantly small farm, hand-harvested industry to one where farms are consolidated making mechanical harvesting more feasible.
SRU Hosts Intern from Pakistan: On May 16, 2011 Ms. Mehwish Khan, a Ph.D. student from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, has started a one-year intern program under the direction of Dr. Yong-Bao Pan at the Sugarcane Research Unit as part of a U.S. – Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Program. Mehwish will work on her dissertation research project on identifying molecular markers that associate with the sugarcane smut disease. She started her one-year visit on May 16, 2011.
Wetlands Discovery Center Students Visit SRU: On June 8, 2011, forty two middle school students participating in the LA Wetlands Discovery Center’s summer camp visited the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm. While at the SRU the students heard what the SRU’s mission is and how its research helps to lessen the environmental impact of agriculture on the land and Gulf. Students were shown how we reduce soil erosion by use of vegetation as well as laser graded fields. The disease aspect was addressed and participants were allowed to look at sugarcane smut spores under a microscope. Part of our insect collection was on display and the video Raising Cane in Louisiana was also shown. A ride on the wagon took the students into the field where they saw and heard how sugarcane varieties are evaluated for resistance to the sugarcane borer. Helping with the effort were: Paul White, Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, Randy Richard, Sonny Viator, Harold Callahan, and Eric Petrie.
SRU Hosts Vegetable Field Day: On June 11, 2011, the Sugarcane Research Unit-LaTerre Master Gardner Association-LSU AgCenter’s 11th annual Vegetable Field Day was hosted by the SRU at its Houma worksite. In addition to demonstrations with various varieties of vegetables, a seminar on how to grow the various vegetables to include pot culture, square-foot gardens, and larger commercial gardens was held with the SRU’s Mr. Eric Petrie discussing disease and insect control options. The seminar was followed by the fielding of questions from the 187 participants and the award for the heaviest tomato. The participants were given an opportunity to taste the various types of tomatoes produced in the garden and to sample various summer dishes prepared from the harvested vegetables. The Master Gardner’s will be harvesting vegetables from the jointly-sponsored demonstration garden three times per week and providing these to the local homeless shelters as part of the President’s People’s Garden Initiative
Nicholls State University Sugar Processing Class Visits SRU: On June 19, 2011 twenty five participants in the two-week Nicholls State University-sponsored Raw Sugarcane Processing class visited the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Farm. The participants represented raw sugar mills in Louisiana (12), Florida (4), Hawaii (2), and Maryland (1) as well as the countries of Jamaica (1), El Salvador (3), United Kingdom (1) and Colombia (1). While at the SRU’s Ardoyne Research Farm the group toured the crossing facility where the various stages of the SRU’s varietal development program from crossing to the release of a new variety was discussed and the SRU’s juice quality lab where samples are processed to determine potential sugar yields.
Professor from Pakistan Visits SRU: From June 21– July17, 2011, Dr. Shahid Afghan, Director of the Shakarganj Sugar Research Institute, headquartered in Lahore Pakistan visited Dr. Yong-Bao Pan at the Sugarcane Research Unit as part of a US-Pakistani Science and Technology Cooperation Program. While at the SRU, Dr. Afghan presented seminars to inform the SRU staff about his Institute and its efforts to develop new sugarcane varieties for Pakistan using excess seed from the ARS sugarcane breeding programs at both Houma and Canal Point. While at the SRU, Dr. Afghan also visited with all of the members of the staff to see where collaborative efforts between the two countries could be established.
Sugarcane Breeder from China Visits SRU: On July 29, 2011, Ms. Jianrong (Judy) Zhu, a sugarcane breeder from the Sugarcane Research Institute, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Ruili, Yunnan, China, is visiting Dr. Yong-Bao Pan and other breeders at the, Sugarcane Research Unit. During her stay which will last until January 22, 2012, she will learn both molecular and conventional breeding techniques through participation in the selection, crossing, and molecular genotyping activities of the SRU’s breeding progarm. Ms. Zhu is financially sponsored by the Yunnan provincial government.
Third Grade Class Visits SRU: On October 21, 2011 the third grade classes from Zachary Elementary visited the Sugarcane Research Unit. The 60 members were hosted by Mr. Eric Petrie and presentations were given by Randy Richard on the insects of sugarcane as well as Jeri Maggio who presented the pathology concerns and research. The video of the history, growing, and processing of sugarcane was also presented. This lively group interacted with all the presenters asking probing questions about sugar. When they left their leader, Ms. Scott, requested a return visit next year.
SRU Hosts Local Church Group: On May 1, 2012 researchers of the USDA, ARS, Sugarcane Research Unit (Drs. Paul White, Anna Hale, and Ryan Viator and Mr. Eric Petrie) hosted the United Methodist Women (UMW) group from Houma First United Methodist Church at the Ardoyne Farm. Topics discussed included the breeding program, harvesting research plots, crop management research, and the juice lab. Afterwards the group watched a video describing the Louisiana sugarcane industry.
SRU Provides Tour to Local Students: On May 1, 2012 researchers of the USDA, ARS, Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA (SRU) led a tour of SRU’s Ardoyne Research Farm. With an interest in various agricultural jobs, the students were given presentations by Ms. Kathy Warnke and Ms. Jeri Maggio on Plant Pathology, Mr. Randy Richard on Entomology, and Messrs. Kelvin Lewis and Trevis Olivier on Soil Science. Mr. Harold Callahan demonstrated the farm equipment used to produce sugarcane. Mr. Eric Petrie talked on the history, cultural practices and processing of sugarcane. Dr. Caleb Dalley and Mrs. Katie Authement assisted in answering questions and documented the tour with photography.
Students from Wetland Discovery Center Visit SRU: On June 12, 2012, twenty-nine inquisitive middle grade students from the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center toured the Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Farm, Houma, LA. Lessons were learned on how to reduce soil erosion, disease recognition with a microscope, and how our juice lab operates. They viewed the Growing Sugarcane in Louisiana DVD, and participated in a seed recognition exercise. The presenters were Ms. Kathy Warnke, Ms. Jeri Maggio, Mr. Kelvin Lewis, Mr. Trevis Olivier, Mr. Chris Adams, Mr. Hubert Zeller, and Mr. Eric Petrie. This was the 5th year this camp has returned for a visit.
SRU Hosts Vegetable Field Day: On June 16, 2012 the LaTerr Master Gardeners hosted their annual Vegetable Field day in partnership with the Sugarcane Research Unit’s, Houma, LA. People’s Garden Project. The many guests, 180, were able to tour the garden which contained many varieties of tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), eggplant, beans, pumpkins, a great array of flowers, cucumbers, and corn. Tips on growing and care of garden plants were presented as well as demonstrations on the heirloom types of tomatoes. Various booths were set up with tasting of fresh homemade salsa, dried vegetables, as well as desserts made from produce from the garden. The community was invited to enter their largest tomato and the winning tomato weighed 1.77 pounds. The community left with a wealth of knowledge, a greater appreciation of the SRU, and an understanding of our mission.
Local Students Visit SRU: On September 14, 2012, Eric Petrie from the Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU), Houma, LA, gave a presentation on farming and agriculture to the kindergarten classes of Covenant Christian Academy as part of their career week. He discussed sugarcane in Louisiana as well as the many career opportunities found in agriculture.
SRU Hosts the Energycane/Sweet Sorghum Field Day: On October 2, 2012 the SRU hosted a field day at the USDA-ARS Ardoyne Research Farm in Schriever, LA. The Field Day was an extension activity of a USDA, NIFA-AFRI grant awarded to LSU AgCenter and SRU. Approximately 100 people attended the Field Day including many who attended the Sun Grant Biomass Conference later in the week. The Field Day featured research being conducted as part of the NIFA-AFRI project as well as other sugarcane and energycane research being conducted by SRU scientists. SRU scientists making presentations included Drs. Anna Hale, Ryan Viator, Paul White, William White, and Michael Grisham. Dr. Richard Johnson’s research was included in the presentation by Dr. Brenda Tubana, LSU-AgCenter. Other LSU AgCenter presenters were Dr. Ken Gravois, Vadim Kochergin, John Kruse, Ben Legendre, and Sonny Viator.
SRU Host Congressional Staffer: On November 9, 2012, Dr. Ken Gravois, President, Louisiana Sugar Cane Foundation, escorted a group of U.S. congressional staffers on a visit around the Louisiana sugarcane industry including a stop at the ARS Sugarcane Research Unit’s Ardoyne Research Farm in Schriever. Field, greenhouse, and laboratory demonstrations were presented by Drs. Ryan Viator, David Burner, Anna Hale, William White, Richard Johnson, and Michael Grisham.
Profeesor from Tuskegee University Visits SRU: In November, 2012, Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) Houma, LA scientists (Drs. Anna Hale, Ryan Viator, Paul White, and Michael Grisham) hosted a visit by Professor Errol G. Rhoden from the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Science, Tuskegee University. Sugarcane and Energycane research of mutual interest was discussed. The visit included a tour of the SRU’s Ardoyne Research Farm.
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