Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association awards three scholarships in agriculture

Three scholarships awarded at LACA annual meeting. Recipients are: Kody Beavers, Alejandro Jimenez Madrid, and Mary Helen Ferguson.

One undergraduate and two graduate students, attending colleges and universities in Louisiana, were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship by the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association at its annual mid-February meeting. The students were recognized for academic achievements and performance in agriculture studies.

Mr. and Mrs. Ray Young, RiceTec, and Crop Production Services funded the undergraduate scholarship. Pest Management Enterprises, LLC and Louisiana Land Bank, ACA funded the graduate scholarships.

The recipients were: Kody Beavers, Alejandro Jimenez Madrid, and Mary Helen Ferguson.

Beavers is an undergraduate honors student majoring in Agricultural Business at Louisiana Tech University. He was recognized as a 2016 Featured Agribusiness Student, and is both a Louisiana Tech greenhouse and private farm employee.  His farm experience includes tillage work, planting, spraying, irrigation and harvesting various crops.

Kody holds a Louisiana Private Applicators License and plans to become a certified agricultural consultant. Upon graduation from Tech, he plans to pursue an advanced degree in agricultural economics.

Madrid is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in plant pathology and crop physiology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She graduated from the Institute of Santa Cruz del Oro in Honduras and subsequently attended the National University of Agriculture where she was an award winning honor student majoring in Natural Resources and Environment Management. Her bachelor’s degree research on the capture and distribution of soil organic carbon in different pasture systems was conducted in cooperation with the Range Cattle Research and Education Center at the University of Florida. Currently, Madrid is working in horticulture pathology on the identification of sources of bacterial wilt resistance to Ralstonia in Louisiana soils. This disease results is severe economic losses in tomato, eggplant, and peppers.

The second graduate student scholarship was awarded to a PhD candidate, Mary Helen Ferguson. Ferguson is pursuing her degree in plant pathology and crop physiology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She graduated from St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, Louisiana and attended Birmingham Southern College as a national merit scholar. Ferguson graduated Magna Cum Laude, majoring in biology and minoring in mathematics.

At Birmingham Southern, she conducted research on developing a field test for cyanide in plants. Ferguson received her Master’s Degree in horticultural science from North Carolina State where she was both a teaching and research assistant. Her research was on the use of several composts in strawberry production.

After graduation, Ferguson worked as an Extension agent for agriculture in North Carolina and won numerous awards for her contributions to agriculture including the Young Agent Scholarship sponsored by the North Carolina Association of County Agents.

Ferguson is the author of more than 60 abstracts, articles, newsletters, and other publications, and she has taught courses in pesticide use review and safety for commercial and private applicators.

Ferguson is active in the Graduate Student Association at LSU, the American Pathological Society, the Plant Sciences Journal Club and is a student representative to the APS Southern Division Executive Board. She is also a reviewer for the scientific journal, Plant Disease. Her dissertation research is focused on the bacterial pathogen, Xylella fastidiosa in rabbiteye blueberries.

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