Annual Report 2021-22

Mission, Vission, Values

Our Mission

The LSU College of Agriculture provides innovative academic programs, creates essential knowledge, advances collaborative research, and drives outreach to solve local and global agricultural challenges.

Our Vision

With a sharp focus on research, extension, and teaching, we are finding solutions and making advancements that will benefit future generations and establish a legacy of success.

Our Values

  • Enhance the lives of others.
  • Seek intellectual and culturally diverse perspectives.
  • Create bold and transformative educational experiences.
  • Advance the land-grant mission.
  • Cultivate a community of engaged partners.

Message from the Dean

I am pleased to share this College of Agriculture Impact Report with you. It summarizes our accomplishments from this past year and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the tremendous progress the college continues to make. Enrollments are robust, student engagement in experiential learning is at an all-time high and faculty members remain deeply engaged in impactful research and teaching activities.

The work the faculty, staff and students undertake in the college has never been more important. Agriculture is the largest industry in our state. As we educate the next generation of leaders for our rural communities, we are ensuring they are exposed to the most cutting edge scientific and policy developments that will frame our future. As this report indicates, we continue to do an exceptional job in this regard.

Our large array of college supporters gives generously of their financial resources, time and expertise to ensure we fulfill our mission and deliver a top-flight educational experience. Thank you for your partnership and your commitment. With our exceptional faculty and staff constantly driving towards excellence, your support serves as a ‘force multiplier,’ ensuring even stronger academic outcomes for our students.

In the past few years, we have overcome significant obstacles. We have emerged from these trials strong and now is the opportunity to appreciate where we have been and chart the next phase of success for the College of Agriculture. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Matt Lee, Iterim Dean

Matt LeeInterim Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the College of AgricultureLSU

By the Numbers


Undergraduate Students


Graduate Students


New Students enrolled in fall 2021

5.5 Million+
in scholarships awarded from LSU, the College of Agriculture, and departments.

416 Degrees Conferred
336 bachelor's + 47 master's + 33 doctoral

74% Female / 26% Male

30% Underrepresented Racial Minorities

14% Black, 8% Hispanic, 2% Asian, >1% Native

1,147 Louisiana Residents

Representing 36 of the 64 Parishes

60,000+ awarded in undergraduate research grants

65 University Latin Honors

6 University Medalists

2 Distinguished Researchers

7 Distinguished Communicators

315 students and 34 employers attended the Ag Career Fair

Graduates Reported...

40% completed an internship.

66% entered the college as a first-semester student.

84% felt their degree prepared them for the job market.

40% were involved in a student organization within the college.

68% of May 2022 graduates reported they completed their degree in four years.

71% plan to be employed full-time or enrolled in a graduate or professional school.

This report is generated each semester from self-reported information gathered from both the LSU College of Agriculture’s senior check-out survey and graduation survey.

Outstanding Scholars

Four LSU College of Agriculture students were selected as LSU Tiger Twelve Class of 2022.

LSU’s Tiger Twelve is an initiative that highlights a select group of undergraduate seniors who have contributed to LSU campus life and positively impacted the Baton Rouge community. Each spring, 12 distinguished LSU seniors receive this prestigious recognition.

Josephine EngelmanJosephine Engelman

Environmental management systems major with a minor in political science

Alexia LaGroneAlexia LaGrone

Natural resource ecology and management major with a minor in oceanography and coastal sciences

Taylor PerrodinTaylor Perrodin

Agricultural economics and agribusiness major

Maia WilliamsMaia Williams

Animal sciences major



The Stamps Scholarship is LSU’s top
scholarship opportunity for select incoming
students enrolled in Ogden Honors College,
recipients receive a full cost of attendance
for four years, with a maximum of $14,000
for enrichment experiences, such as study
abroad programs or research opportunities.

The LSU College of Agriculture had six
Stamps Scholars during academic year
2021-2022, Alexia LaGrone, natural resource
ecology and management major; Jackson
Martingayle, natural resource ecology and
management major; Bridget Seghers, animal
sciences major; Madeleine Gess, natural
resource ecology and management major;
Ariana Tashakkori, natural resource ecology
and management major; and Alexandria
Wachenschwanz, animal sciences major.


The LSU Ronald E. McNair Post-
Baccalaureate Achievement Program
prepares LSU students who are
first generation, low-income, and
underrepresented in graduate education for
doctoral studies. The program provides them
with information and experiences to prepare
them to be competitive graduate school
applicants and successful graduate students.

The college had three McNair Scholars, Kayla
Benton, animal sciences major; Anissa Hyde,
natural resource ecology and management
major; and Raven Simmons, nutrition and
food sciences major.


Bridget Seghers, an animal sciences major,
has been named a 2022 Udall Scholar by
the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall
Foundation. The Covington native was
one of 55 students selected from a pool of
382 candidates, and the only scholar from

A 20-member independent review committee
selected this year’s group of Udall Scholars
on the basis of commitment to careers in the
environment, Tribal public policy, or Native
health care; leadership potential; record of
public service; and academic achievement.
Seghers is an aspiring global health
veterinarian who aims to promote ecological
balance, mitigate human-wildlife conflicts,
and encourage environmentally sustainable
livestock management.

Student Experience

Enhance the student experience to ensure success and create leaders prepared to engage in the complex global arena of agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources.

In fall 2021, the college reached the highest undergraduate enrollment since fall 2011. Recruitment continues to be a major focus of the college, recruiting the best and brightest students into agriculture and related fields.

As the university eased back into in-person programming, the college provided enhanced programming efforts to help new students transition to life at LSU and current students prepare for their future careers.

Students and President Tate make LSU "L" symbol with hands

LSU students, alumni, faculty and staff attended Ag Week events in person, including LSU President William F. Tate IV.

Quick Facts

  • 1,575 undergraduate students in fall 2021, the highest enrollment since 2011.
  • 112 students enrolled in the Agriculture Residential College (ARC) during fall 2021.
  • 90.5% retention rate of first- to second-year students who participated in ARC in fall 2020, resulting in the highest retention rate of residential colleges on campus.
  • 98% of new students enrolled in the AGRI 1001 course during fall 2021. AGRI 1001 is a one-hour class designed to orient all incoming first-year students to the LSU College of Agriculture.

Top Tigers Program

In the spring of 2022, the college launched the Top Tiger campaign to recruit the best and brightest representatives of the great state of Louisiana. Focusing on students with premier leadership experiences through organizations like 4-H and FFA, the campaign recruited 77 students in the first two months. These students are contacted to provide a personalized recruitment experience to ensure that the Top Tigers have everything they need to prepare for their future at LSU.

Students can nominate themselves or supporters can submit nominations for students to be included in the campaign. The college is looking for high school students who have a 3.0 GPA or higher, hold leadership roles within youth development organizations and are interested in pursuing a degree at LSU.



A record number of students applied and were selected to the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) and the National Young Farmer Educational Association (NYFEA) conferences. These experiences bridge the gap between academic, leadership and work experiences.

Career Prep Week

Students participated in a new pop-up shop for professional dress, attended virtual networking socials with alumni and company representatives, had the opportunity to submit resumes for review and attended an etiquette dinner with employers and faculty.

LSU Ag Week

The College of Agriculture planned a week full of activities to showcase the impact of agriculture in Louisiana and across the world. More than 150 LSU students, alumni, faculty and staff attended events in person, including LSU President William F. Tate IV.

Internship Spotlight

My favorite thing about my internship with Union Pacific is getting to be an integral part of the supply chain! I love interacting with people from all across the nation and knowing that I am playing a small role in the transportation network that is running our country.

Ashlyn Beaty, agricultural business major

Ashlyn Beaty, a rising senior in agricultural business, worked with Union Pacific as a marketing and sales intern in Omaha, Nebraska, this summer. As an intern, Beaty was responsible for communicating local service changes to customers across the country and tracking the data to provide service metrics to leadership.

Beaty found this internship opportunity by attending the 2021 AFA Leader’s Conference.


Diversity Initiatives

Seek to achieve a culture where everyone in the college is included, respected and supported.

The College of Agriculture supports efforts to foster change toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture of academic excellence by intentionally focusing on inclusion and equity within the classroom. Various student groups and leaders continue to deploy training sessions, workshops, and professional development aligning with evidence-based practices. The college continues to build its capacity for diversity and inclusion as it strives to recognize and promote the seen and unseen diversity within the college through research, scholarship, and teaching.

VP’s Diversity Graduate Assistantship

Jennifer Brown

Doctoral student and a recipient of the Vice President’s Diversity Graduate Assistantship

Jennifer Brown is a doctoral student within the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation and a recipient of the Vice President’s Diversity Graduate Assistantship.

Brown joined her doctoral program intending to connect urban communities with agriculture. She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences at Southern University and a master’s in biotechnology from Alcorn State University.

The VP’s Diversity Graduate Assistantship was established specifically for African American students to increase and enhance diversity, equity and inclusivity within College of Agriculture graduate programs.


pledge for diversity-focused study abroad programming.


pledge for diversity-focused scholarships.


Maxine Crump and Dialogues on Race Louisiana

More than 100 faculty, staff and students gathered to join in dialogue with Maxine Crump. LSU is home for Crump; she was the first African American woman to live on LSU’s campus. She returned to campus to discuss the history of race in the U.S. and within agriculture. Southern University staff
and students joined to share their experiences and discussed how to support everyone within agriculture.

Diversity and Inclusion Champions

The Diversity and Inclusion Champions have
increased in number. The 2022 Champions
included 14 faculty and staff members and doctoral students. Four Champions have returned from the 2021 cohort. The Champions have participated in training sessions and will actively engage with students inside and outside the classroom.


USDA Equity Commission Agriculture Subcommittee

Gina E. Eubanks has been appointed to the
agriculture subcommittee of the recently formed U.S. Department of Agriculture Equity Commission. Eubanks is a returning Diversity and Inclusion Champion and a member of the Council for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Change.


Academic Excellence

Create premier academic programs designed to address future challenges of agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources and to enhance the undergraduate student experience locally, nationally and internationally.

Across the 10 schools and departments, curricular changes to address the needs of students and industry continued, with 34 official course or curriculum revisions, additions or deletions. Faculty are committed to ongoing curricular review to include experiential learning and cross-curricular opportunities. Student support services returned to in-person availability, with the number of student contacts increasing from academic year 2020-2021.

Undergraduate Research Program

Alli Spillman, agricultural and extension education major, completed an undergraduate research project titled: An Examination of the Differences
Among White and Racial Minority Students’ Motivations to Pursue a Baccalaureate Degree in Agriculture. She presented her research at the 2022 American Association for Agricultural Education National Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There, she displayed her study and received the first-place research poster award.

Alli Spillman stands in front of research poster


LSU Advisor of the Year

Jennie Sparks holds award

Jennie Sparks

Jennie Sparks, academic counselor for the LSU College of Agriculture, was honored with the LSU Advisor of the Year Award. Each year, the
University College Center for Freshman Year (UCFY) honors an individual who has made significant contributions to improving academic advising on campus with this award.

Sparks serves as the lead academic counselor for the Office of Student Services in the College of Agriculture, which provides academic advising for approximately 1,500 students. She handles most academic advising appointments and programming for the college. During
the 2021 academic year, she met with 738 distinct students, representing nearly half of the college’s student population.

In fall 2021, Sparks launched the “Where’s Jennie” advising program to connect with first-year students in the Ag Residential College.

The Advisor of the Year Award is based on the national criteria of the National Academic Advising Association, and only one nominee is selected from LSU each year.



Advising Initiatives

The Office of Student Services has successfully implemented the dual advising model, sharing advising responsibilities with faculty advisors in each department. Two new advising initiatives have been launched this year: the “Where’s Jennie” advising program and group advising for first-year students majoring in animal sciences.

The group advising sessions for animal sciences majors were designed to alleviate School of Animal Sciences faculty advisors. Students could select between two sessions focused on basic advising and departmental information.

Academic Programs

Departmental faculty continue to consider curricular changes and updates to better serve students and industries at large. For the next catalog year, more than 30 additions, modifications or deletions were made to College of Agriculture courses and programs.

Catalog changes include an adjustment to the capstone requirement for nutrition and food sciences, changes in the molecular nutrition master’s and doctoral programs, and the addition of an analytics concentration for the agricultural business major.

Engagement Electives

Each semester, the College of Agriculture offers a variety of electives for all majors to enroll. The electives are designed to gain a more well-rounded understanding of agriculture, learn about the history of agriculture in Louisiana, prepare for their careers, and discover research in agriculture.

Student and Faculty Advancement

Advance our goal of developing a community of connected, collaborative and committed faculty, staff and students.

Development Opportunities

Communication Across the Curriculum (CxC) is a dynamic program offered to LSU undergraduate students that focuses on student development of writing, speaking, visual and technology communication. Colleges can offer Communication-Intensive (C-I) courses that meet the needs of the communication developmental areas.

The College of Agriculture focuses efforts on increasing C-I courses offered to students. In working towards this goal, representatives from each department or school participated in a summer C-I teaching lab experience. As a result, C-I course offerings in the college rose from 17 to 29 C-I courses.

Students enrolling in C-I courses can receive the C-I course certification, which shows they have taken coursework emphasizing communication techniques. In addition to the certificate, students can participate in the LSU Distinguished Communicator Program. These students take the required C-I courses and work with a faculty advisor to complete a portfolio showing their communications skills.

Outstanding Faculty

Lynn Kennedy

Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher

P. Lynn Kennedy, department head and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Rodrigo Diaz

Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher

Rodrigo Diaz, associate professor in the Department of Entomology

Ashley Long

National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award

Ashley Long, assistant professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources

Sabrina Taylor

LSU Foundation Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award

Sabrina Taylor, professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources

Rodrigo Valverde


Rodrigo Valverde, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology



Development and Alumni

Cultivate a community of engaged alumni, donors, and industry partners.

1.45 Million

was raised during fiscal year 2022 for the College of Agriculture

$5.5 Million+

in scholarships awarded from LSU, the College of Agriculture, and departments.


of student relief aid was provided by the College of Agriculture.


raised during 2022 Annual Giving Day for the LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture.


endowed for the Albert E. and Karen W. Kirby Professorship in Agriculture.


pledged for diversity-focused study abroad programming.


pledged for the Welge Food Beyond the Farm Certificate Fund.



endowed for the Dr. Joel Lafayette Fletcher, Jr. 4-H Scholarship, the largest endowed scholarship in Louisiana 4-H history.


endowed for the William C. Welch Scholarship for Excellence in Horticulture.


raised for the new four year scholarship program, which launched in spring of 2022.


Venker Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Scholarship

Michael and Debra Venker donated $50,000 to the LSU Foundation to establish a support fund to benefit the College of Agriculture at LSU.

The fund supports the Venker Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Scholarship, which awards $10,000 in scholarships annually over five years. In the interest of promoting diversity in enrollment, the scholarship is awarded to students who are demographically underrepresented in the college.

The fund will be distributed so that two students receive $5,000 yearly throughout their academic journey at LSU.

Stakeholder Summit and Crawfish Boil Social

During spring 2022, the LSU College of Agriculture hosted stakeholders on campus for the Stakeholder Summit. Alumni, industry partners and friends of the College of Agriculture received updates on the college, an overview of achievements and met with department heads and school directors.

All attendees were welcome to join the spring Ag Alumni Association meeting. The day ended with a crawfish boil social and an invitation to an LSU baseball game.

Ag Alumni President

Julie Richard leans on tractor hood

Julie Baker Richard is serving a two-year term as the LSU College of Agriculture Alumni Association president. She is co- owner of Richard Farms, where she and her husband farm 6,600 acres of rice, soybeans and crawfish north of Kaplan, Louisiana.

Richard attended LSU, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in animal sciences, a master’s, and a doctorate in human resource education with a minor in agricultural economics. Her prior work experience includes serving as LSU College of Agriculture recruitment coordinator, Louisiana Farm Bureau field service representative and the assistant director of field services, coordinating women’s and young farmer and rancher leadership programs.


Department and School Updates

The LSU College of Agriculture is comprised of 10 departments and schools that house prestigious faculty and talented students.

Department Heads and School Directors

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness
Lynn Kennedy, Department Head

Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation
Michael Burnett, Department Head

School of Animal Sciences
Phil Elzer, Director

Department of Entomology
Michael Stout, Department Head

Department of Experimental Statistics
Allen Rutherford, Interim Department Head

School of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Phil Elzer, Interim Director

School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences
Michael Stout, Interim Director

Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology
Lawrence Datnoff , Department Head

School of Renewable Natural Resources
Allen Rutherford, Director

Department of Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising
Bruce Cameron, Department Head

The mission of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness is to generate, apply and disseminate knowledge on a wide range of issues important to agribusiness, agricultural production, marketing, policy, natural resource use and rural areas in Louisiana, the nation and the global community. The department employs the highest scholarly standards in the teaching, research and outreach/extension programs that are integral to the purpose of the land-grant university system.

The department has hired three new faculty members in the areas of international trade and international agribusiness, food and agribusiness product marketing, and production economics. 
The department has initiated a new undergraduate concentration in agribusiness analytics. Undergraduate students are increasingly taking the fast track program, in which they can begin taking courses for the departmental master’s degree before completing their bachelor’s degree.


Under the direction of assistant professor Jerrod Penn, the undergraduate quiz bowl teams took first- and second-place awards at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association annual meeting in Austin, Texas. Lynn Kennedy, department head and professor, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher. Maria Bampasidou, assistant professor, received a research poster award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

About 168,000 acres of timber were affected by Hurricane Ida, costing more than $300 million. Jinggang Guo, assistant professor, recently joined the department as a forest economics professor and was placed on the Hurricane Ida Forest Recovery Task Force.

The Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation (AEEE) prepares and supports highly qualified agricultural and extension professionals to teach, lead and serve youth and adults. 

This spring, the new AEEE welding lab is expected to be completed, which will allow the department to facilitate courses in metal fabrication for students across the LSU Campus. In addition, this lab will be used for professional development and training for agricultural education teachers as well as 4-H leaders and members.


In May 2022, the department participated in the American Association for Agricultural Education Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In addition to a great week of professional development and research presentations, LSU was recognized with several awards and honors, including the 2022 distinguished manuscript, first-place research poster award, second-place innovative idea poster award and Journal of Agricultural Education Journal Article of the Year Award.
At the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) Conference, Richie Roberts, associate professor, won the outstanding AIAEE Early Achievement Award and received the Article of the Year Award. 

At the Southern Region American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) conference, Morgan Richardson, graduate student, won a distinguished paper award; Roberts received the Outstanding Early Career Member Award; and Kristin Stair, professor, was selected to serve as the AAAE Southern Region vice president.
Elizabeth Bierman, an undergraduate student, was selected to participate in the National Association of Agricultural Educators Future Agriscience Teacher (FAST) Symposium, and Taylor Schoen, an undergraduate student, was chosen to participate as a National Teach Ag Ambassador.

In the School of Animal Sciences’ strategic plan, the first goal was to strengthen and rebuild the reproduction and meat science programs to regain national prominence in these areas. The school hired three reproduction assistant professors and one muscle biologist, with another meat/muscle biologist assistant professor anticipated to be hired in 2023. 

Enrollment was at an all-time high for the school. Two new instructors were hired to accommodate the school’s growing undergraduate program better, and additional sections will be added to courses. These instructors will teach additional sections of 2000-level courses, particularly those requiring animal handling, to ensure students can stay on track for graduation. 

The new faculty hires have acquired approximately $9.7 million in grant funding for the school. One of the new professors, Carl Jiang, was promoted to an associate professor and received the Doyle Chambers Professorship in Animal Sciences through the LSU AgCenter. Faculty and students continue to garner awards through the university, national and international meetings.


Carl Jiang was promoted to associate professor and given the LSU Ag Center Doyle Chambers Professorship in Animal Sciences. Tyler Braud, instructor, received the LSU Tiger Athletic Undergraduate Teaching Award. Christine Navarre, professor, received the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Excellence in Preventive Medicine Beef Award. Erin Oberhaus, assistant professor, received the Outstanding Instructor Certificate for ANSC 4088.

Yinjuan “Eva” Wang, graduate student, received first place in the graduate student research competition for the International Embryo Technology Society (IETS) and Linkai Zhu was runner-up.

The Department of Entomology provides innovative solutions to the insect-related problems faced by Louisiana and the world. The publications, grants, honors and awards of faculty, staff and students attest to the productivity and excellence of the department’s programs.

The department’s graduate programs were reviewed this year as part of a university-mandated process. The review found that the program is strong, with only minor suggestions for improvement. 
The department welcomed Aaron Ashbrook as the extension entomologist. His areas of responsibility will include extension and teaching related to insect pests in urban and peri-urban areas. Ashbrook fills Dennis Ring’s position, who died in 2020. The department is searching for a forest entomologist.


The department hosted its 11th annual Graduate Student Symposium. Daniel Swale and Rodrigo Diaz were promoted to associate professors. Thirteen students received awards for their presentations at professional meetings. Faculty were awarded more than $6.5 million in grants from U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Institutes of Health and various commodity boards and industry sources.

Blake Wilson, assistant professor, was awarded the Early Career Professional Extension Award by the Entomological Society of America in 2021. Daniel Swale, associate professor, was awarded the 2021 G&H Seed Company Research Excellence Award by the LSU AgCenter. Rodrigo Diaz, associate professor, was awarded the 2021 Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher by the LSU College of Agriculture. Claudia Husseneder, professor, was part of a team that earned the LSU AgCenter’s 2021 Tipton Team Research Award. Kristen Healy, assistant professor, received the American Mosquito Control Association Presidential Citation in 2021.

Tyler Musgrove, graduate student, won the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association Scholarship. Zhilin Li, graduate student, was awarded the Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology.

The Department of Experimental Statistics continues to train master’s-level graduate students to work in government agencies, industry and academia and has launched its doctoral degree in experimental statistics. Their statistical consulting services continue to serve the campus with sound statistical advice. The department is currently searching for a permanent department head.


Thanos Gentimis, assistant professor, was Co-Principal Investigator and vice chair of the AI in Agroecosystems: Big Data and Smart Technology-Driven Sustainable Production Multistate Research Project. This is the first multistate project of this kind, where applications of artificial intelligence are center front, especially in the south. Gentimis was also Co-PI of the successfully funded, first-of-its-kind conference called Envisioning 2050 in the Southeast: AI-Driven Innovations in Agriculture through the USDA-NIFA.
Gentimis was elected vice president for 2022-2024 and president for 2024-2026 for the Inter-American Statistical Institute. Luis Escobar, professor, has co-authored the Statistical Methods for Reliability Data, Second Edition (SMRD2), a widely used textbook for graduate-level applied statistics courses.

Li-Hsiang Lin, assistant professor, was the Co-PI on a grant supported by the Water Institute of the Gulf for more than $426,000. The project studies the impact of past and future migration in coastal Louisiana, modeling the impact of flood exposure and economic change with microdata on households and businesses.

BeiBei Guo, assistant professor, was Principal Investigator, and Lin was Co-PI for a $154,000 grant supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The grant is for a biomarker-based clinical trial design for identifying subgroup-specific optimal dose for immunotherapy and immunoradiotherapy.

The School of Nutrition and Food Sciences aims for excellence with comprehensive, integrated and 21st-century education, scholarship and outreach. Food science professionals train students in the quality, processing and safety of foods for the multibillion-dollar food industry. Nutrition professionals provide training in nutrition science, community nutrition and clinical nutrition with a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of all citizens and populations. 

Scholarly and educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels integrate the basic and applied sciences with outreach. The mission of the school is to prepare future professionals and support the community through discovery, didactic and experiential teaching and learning, and the development of services and products that improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities in a complex and changing society, and to assist local, national and global food industries.


Michael Keenan, professor, led the Nutrition, Gut Health and Microbiome Team that won the LSU AgCenter 2021 Tipton Team Award. Witoon Prinyawiwatkul, professor, received the 2021 LSU AgCenter Global Network Award. Erin McKinley, assistant professor and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, was named an outstanding educator by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest organization of nutrition and dietetics practitioners. Denise Holston, assistant professor, received LSU AgCenter Floyd S. Edmiston Award.

Judy Myhand, senior instructor, developed and tested recipes, filmed instructions for food service personnel and participated in creating the Harvest of the Month video series for the Louisiana Farm to School Program and Farm Fresh Meals for Louisiana.

Sandra May, extension associate, along with LSU AgCenter extension agents, produced the Build a Healthy Meal video series sponsored by Louisiana Healthcare Connections.

The 2021 Institute of Food Technologists Student Association Food Science College Bowl team placed fourth in the IFTSA national competition and won the South Central Regional competition under professor Joan King’s leadership.

Faculty in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences direct research, extension and instruction programs in diverse areas of plant and crop science that include horticulture, soil science, precision agriculture, plant breeding, weed science and environmental management. 

Over the past several years, the school has expanded its research and instruction programs to include emerging areas of interest in the plant sciences. Courses in precision agriculture are being developed and incorporated into the curriculum, and a second faculty member in the area of precision agriculture was recently hired.

The department was approved for two multistate projects involving AI in Agriculture and On-Farm Experimentation. It housed a Co-PI in a $4 million project about On-Farm Precision Experimentation funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The department received approval for a Program Enhancement Funds proposal with the American Society of Agronomy in 2021.


The Treasure Island series of five ornamental edible sweet potato varieties went into commercial production in 2021. These represent a unique offering as a cross-over between ornamentals and edible sweet potatoes. They are now licensed and being offered for commercial sale in the EU, the United States and soon in Australia. The Treasure Island series won awards in France and the U.S. for innovation. Vermillion is a new red skin sweet potato variety growing in popularity. Acreage was substantial in 2021, and it is superior in storage compared to the current red variety. The red skin category is increasing in importance.

Franciele Morlin Carneiro, post-doctoral researcher, was an invited speaker at the ASA Meeting in 2021 and Digital Agriculture Conference in 2022. Tommasso Cerioli, graduate student, was awarded the Gerald O. Mott Award from the Crop Science Society of America. Murilo Martins, graduate student, placed second in a doctoral student competition at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.

The LSU Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology (PPCP) is a national and international leader in improving the understanding of plant pathogens and minimizing their impact on crops and landscapes in Louisiana through mission-oriented, fundamental and translational research, teaching and extension. This effort is accomplished through programs of excellence in etiology, epidemiology and disease management; biological control and clean seed programs; population biology, systematics and genetics; host-parasite interactions, host plant resistance and genomics; mycotoxin management; microbial communities and ecology; and plant diagnostics.

In 2021, the department excelled on many academic and professional levels. Faculty and students published more than 37 refereed manuscripts in high-impact journals such as Phytopathology, Plant Disease, and Mycologia as well as more than 60 mass media and non-referred publications; gave more than 64 research presentations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; had more than 8,682 official extension contacts and competed for more than $2 million in grants to support their research and outreach.


Raj Singh, associate professor, received the LSU AgCenter’s Excellence in Extension and Denver T. and Ferne Loupe Extension awards. Rodrigo Valverde, professor, was elected Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society. Professor Zhi-Yuan Chen’s journal article was selected as an Editor’s Pick in Phytopathology. Trey Price, associate professor, was a regional team award winner from the NCERA137: Soybean Diseases, a multistate research committee that monitors the development of soybean diseases. Jonathan Richards, assistant professor, and Tristan Watson, assistant professor, were elected as associate editors for PhytoFrontiers and for Nematropica, respectively.

Graduate students Izabel Costa de Novaes and Waana Kaluwasha received the Ray and Dorothy Young Endowed assistantship in La Row Crop IPM. Kaluwasha also received the Cal-Agri Products, LLC Graduate and Undergraduate Student Support Fund Award. Cesar Escalante, graduate student, received the Don Ferrin Student Teaching Award. Teddy Garcia, graduate student, received the C.W. Edgerton Award. Rebecca Melanson, PPCP alumna, received the LSU College of Agriculture Early Career Alumni Award.

Jong Ham, professor, received $682,232 from the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-Foundational and Applied Science Program for his project deciphering the role of the quorum-sensing master regulator in social behaviors of Burkholderia glumae for bacterial pathogenesis in rice plants.

Richards and Vinson Doyle, associate professor, received $240,656 from USDA-AFRI-FASP for their project studying the ecological and genetic drivers of adaption in a generalist leaf pathogen in North America. Assistant Professor Sara Thomas-Sharma, Professor Boyd Padgett, Doyle and Price received $324,998 from USDA-NIFA-Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM) for their project on developing tools for long-term integrated management of Cercospora leaf blight on soybean.

The School of Renewable Natural Resources continues to deal with infrastructure issues. After many years, the state has allocated over $4 million to replace the roof, the heating and cooling systems, and the building’s chemical hoods. Initial plans were for construction to begin in December 2021, but are delayed until December 2023. The postponement is due to a 12-month supply chain-related delay for critical construction components. Once the renovation begins, the school will have to relocate teaching and research laboratories and classrooms. A move of this scale will be a monumental effort. The school’s faculty and staff have already begun preparations for packing and relocating offices, research laboratories, classrooms, and equipment storage.


Andy Nyman, professor, received the 2020 Stewardship Award from the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Caleb Taylor, graduate student, received the prestigious Knauss Fellowship, which comes with a one-year paid fellowship to work on natural resources policy in Washington, D.C. Qinglin Wu, professor, had two of his scientific papers featured as a journal cover for the American Chemical Society. Greg Lutz, professor, developed and presented an international webinar on the Basics of Aquaculture Genetics for the National Aquaculture Association and the U.S. Aquaculture Society.

Professor Phil Stouffer’s Brazilian research on forest fragmentation was reported in multiple news outlets, including The Guardian, BBC-Brazil, The Daily Mail, Revista FAPESP (Brazil) and Mongabay. Stouffer organized citizen science databases for Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation’s parks on iNaturalist and eBird.

Graduate students Sarah Catherine Leblanc and Lauren Swam were named Sea Grant Scholars. Terry Tiersch, professor, oversaw two national genetic resources summaries on microbes and crop wild relatives for the USDA National Genetic Resources Advisory Council. Sun Joseph Chang, professor, was named technical advisor to the Taiwan Forest Research Institute on an acacia tree breeding program.  Qinglin Wu, professor, received two U.S. patents. Maria Teresa Gutierrez-Wing, assistant research professor, had one disclosure submitted and one patent approved.

The Department of Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising prepares students for professional careers in the textile and apparel industries, which are interconnected and global in nature. Both the apparel design and merchandising concentrations were revised with the addition of new courses and sequencing of current classes to improve the graduate outcomes of their students to make them more competitive in the ever-changing textile and apparel industry. 

The revised curriculms went into effect during this academic year as part of the apparel design and merchandising curriculums were revised and went into effect during this academic year. As part of these revisions, two new software licenses were obtained, Clo 3D, a 3D rendering software used for virtual draping and fit analysis, and MockShop Visual Retailing, which allows students to plan, manage and execute better collections for a retail store.

This year, several pieces of new equipment were obtained, including an Instrontensile tester, a Hunterlab colorimeter, a Martindale abrasion tester, a flammability test chamber and three computerized embroidery machines, which will be used to enhance student learning experiences in a number of classes. Two Shima Seiki computerized knitting machines were obtained through a Board of Regents grant with accompanying workstations. The course, Emerging Technologies in Apparel Design, was developed to utilize the knitting machines and other previously obtained equipment and software.

Professors and graduate students have been active in researching clothing consumption during the pandemic and how academics transitioned to teaching methodology from a hands-on to a virtual setting.

A new faculty member, Michael Mamp, was hired to replace Jenna Kuttruff, who retired in May 2021. He will be starting with the department in August 2022. Mary Elliott, a new instructor,  started in summer of 2022.

The Traje Maya Textile Artistry official ribbon cutting occurred in August 2021. In conjunction with the exhibit, a guest lecture from the donor of the artifacts was held in February. 


Professor Chuanlan Liu chaired and associate professor Chunmin Lang co-chaired the American Collegiate Retailing Association conference in New Orleans. Casey Stannard, associate professor, served as an Editorial Review Board Member of the Costume Society of America Series. Lang was promoted to associate professor. Madi Meserole, a 2021 alumna, had her first premier collection shown in Paris during Fashion Week for new up-and-coming designers.

Ag Student Success Fund

The LSU College of Agriculture helps students kickstart their careers by supporting experiential learning opportunities and professional development programming on- and off-campus. From Career Prep Week to internships to national conferences, students have countless opportunities to explore their career interests. We want to ensure that no student misses out on an experience because of the expense.

Ways we supported students last year:

  • Funding for travel.
  • Sponsoring career prep events.
  • Supporting student organizations.
  • Paying for conference registration.



Contact the LSU College of Agriculture

Request Annual Report PDF