Archive for November, 2010

Though it lacks students, the LSU AgCenter has seen recent cuts just like other Louisiana higher education institutions. An absence of students actually could make filling budget caps more difficult. Universities can increase tuition to make up for the $310 million slash in state funding during the past two years. But the AgCenter doesn’t have the same group of people to charge, and more belt-tightening is expected. Gov. Bobby Jindal has prepared campuses to slice their spending plans by 32 percent or more for the upcoming fiscal year. That could mean up to $500 million less statewide.

Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter chancellor, spoke with The Times recently about the challenges his agency faces. He said he’s dealing with the reality that his already smaller $77 million in state-appropriated funds will continue to shrink. “We no longer have any way we can just absorb things,” Richardson said. “Doing more with less is gone. It’s now going to become less with less.”

Question: How much state funding has the AgCenter lost? Answer: Initially we were targeted for $9 million, which would’ve been devastating. The administration reduced that down to $3 million. We’re still struggling to come up with $3 million to pull out from that cut. Of course, we’re still looking down the barrel of the gun for 2011-’12 at the 32 percent reduction, which will mean layoffs.

 Question: How are you cutting expenses or increasing revenue?  Answer: We’ve had no layoffs. We’re not filling positions. I’ve used some one-time money to fill holes, like royalty income from mineral leases. But you can’t depend on those to be recurring. We’ve already raised fees for soil and forage testing. Publications we used to distribute free may have a price, or we can make those things go online only. Everything’s on the table.

Question: What do you expect to happen to the 4-H program? Answer: We don’t plan to close any of our parish offices. Now the 32 percent cut may force us to rethink that. People are nervous. They know the economy is, maybe, stabilizing but still not great. We know we’re going to take a cut. We’re just trying to support all of higher education and get the word out that it really is going to affect the types of things that our institutions have been charged to do.

By Adam Kealoha Causey * acausey@gannett.com

*November 29, 2010 * Shreveporttimes.com

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As citrus trees produce new flush growth, citrus leafminers may become a severe problem. Normally, citrus leafminers would be a concern primarly in young trees, but older trees that lose significant amount of foliage must be protected from losing the much-needed new flush as well.

Homeowners who have a few citrus trees in the backyard may obtain excellent control of citrus leafminers by using spinosad formulated for citrus in home gardens. Homeowners may obtain spinosad at local garden centers under different commercial names such as Conserve, Naturalyte Insect Control, Green Light Spinosad, Success, Fertilome Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer & Tent Caterpillar Spray, etc. Citrus leafminer control is important on young, growing backyard citrus trees and mature trees if they have been severely defoliated by storm winds. Citrus leafminer control on backyard trees in turn will reduce sources of citrus leafminer infestations which later migrate to trees in nearby commercial orchards.

Learn how to effectively scout citrus trees for leaf minor infestations by viewing a 3 minute training video presented by Dr. Natilie Hummel, Extension entomologists with the LSU AgCenter.



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Wal-Mart announced a program that will focus on sustainable agriculture among its suppliers as it tries to reduce its overall environmental impact. The program is intended to put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure how efficiently large suppliers grow and get their produce into stores.

In the United States, Wal-Mart plans to double the percentage of locally grown produce it sells to 9 percent. Wal-Mart defines local produce as that grown and sold in the same state.

Both in the United States and globally, Wal-Mart will invest more than $1 billion to improve its supply chain for perishable food. For example, if trucks, trains and distribution centers could help farmers in Minnesota get crops to Wal-Mart more quickly, the result would be less spoiled food, a longer shelf life and presumably more profit for the farmers and for Wal-Mart.



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Louisiana Master Gardener video presentations are available on-line through visiting the LSU AgCenter web page at www.lsuagcenter.com and scrolling to Lawn & Garden, then to Master Gardener, then to LMG Video Presentations.  Video presentations include a variety of program subject matter for viewing and can be used for continuing education or to find out more about the LMG program.

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As New Orleans City Park continues toward a complete restoration of its more than 1300 acres damaged by the Katrina storm, they are including a new pilot project, The Sustainable Sites Intiative, that will help guide restoration of grounds, complete with better site drainage, athletic fields, jogging trails, shelters, and an electronic distribution center to help support community events. Elizabeth Daigneau, managing editor of the GOVERNING’s Newsletter, provides an interesting article and insight to the initiative for a new rating system that seeks to make sustainable landscapes standard.

To Learn More >>>


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