Between them, Ray Young and Grady Coburn have more than 100 years of experience working as crop consultants in Louisiana. They could be resting on their laurels, but both are focused on the future.
Young, who began working as a consultant in northeast Louisiana not long after he served in the Korean War, and Coburn, who has worked in central Louisiana nearly as long, and their wives, Dorothy and Barbara, are funding multiple scholarships for deserving graduate students.
They and others presented their latest educational grants during an awards ceremony at the Louisiana Agricultural Technology and Management Conference held annually by the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association. This year’s event was in Marksville, La.
Johnny Saichuk, retired LSU AgCenter rice specialist, and Jim Griffin, retired LSU AgCenter weed scientist, were also honored as the two new members of the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association Hall of Fame during the ceremony.
“It is exciting to see what these young people are doing as they begin their research careers,” said Young, who himself was recently inducted into the Louisiana Agricultural Hall of Distinction during a ceremony in Baton Rouge.
During the LATMC meeting, Ray and Dorothy Young, who live in Wisner, presented a scholarship to Jorge Pineda on behalf of themselves, RiceTec and Crop Production Services. Originally from Honduras, Pineda is working on his master’s degree at Louisiana State University, studying the fungus that causes aflatoxin in corn.
Grady and Barbara Coburn and their company, Pest Management Enterprises, based in Cheneyville, La., presented a scholarship to Myra Purvis. She is working on her master’s degree in plant pathology, studying soybean taproot decline, while working as a research associate at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station in Winnsboro, La.
Lina Bernaola received a scholarship from the Louisiana Land Bank. Bernaola, from Peru, is working on her doctoral degree in entomology, studying the effects of a fungi on rice resistance to insects and pathogens.
Emily Kraus received a scholarship from AgBiTech. She is working on her doctoral degree in entomology, studying rice water weevils and armyworms. She has received 20 scholarships, honors and awards, and she has worked in Africa.
LACA members heard a presentation by Bradley Sartain, a graduate research assistant in the LSU AgCenter School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, who received the 2016 Young Endowed Assistantship for Row Crop Integrated Pest Management.
Recipients are required to make a presentation on their work. Sartain is studying control measures for giant salvinia, an invasive species that has choked waterways throughout the state. He warned that another aquatic weed, crested floating heart, now found in Texas, could be a bigger problem than giant salvinia.
Dr. Saichuk, who was based at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley, La., said teaching had been the most rewarding aspect of his career in agriculture. “It took me a long time to learn my gift was to teach,” he said.
Dr. Griffin, who worked at both the Crowley Station and on the main LSU Campus in Baton Rouge, said he enjoyed working with students. “They are the reason I was as productive as I was.”