Friends, family and former co-workers of Rouse Caffey gathered on Feb. 10 to celebrate the naming of a new rice variety as tribute for Caffey’s work as director of the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station and chancellor of the LSU AgCenter.
The first work on the Caffey variety, a medium-grain rice, started in 1999, said Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter regional director and a rice breeder, who worked on the development of the variety.
“This is probably the variety I’m most proud of,” said Linscombe. “We get to honor someone who has made an important impact on the rice industry and LSU.”
The variety went through 11 generations before it was approved, and its parents can be traced back to other medium-grain varieties such as Bengal, Mercury and Rico 1. “It probably has the boldest grain of any medium grain we have released from the station,” said Linscombe. “We do think this is going to be an outstanding variety.”
Caffey was the Rice Research Station director from 1962 until 1970, and he later became chancellor of the LSU AgCenter.
Caffey’s contribution to agriculture in Louisiana is noteworthy, said Bill Richardson, current LSU AgCenter Chancellor. “This is a small way of honoring you for what you’ve done,” Richardson said to Caffey.
Laura Leach of Lake Charles, a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, said by way of a videotaped message that Caffey’s work for rice farmers deserved to be recognized. “How appropriate it is that you should be honored today with the Caffey variety.”
Caffey said the new variety is only one example of what the Rice Research Station has produced. “I’m proud of it and its staff.”
Yields of new varieties are almost double from the time when he was the station director, Caffey said.
LSU AgCenter research facilities now face difficulties with budgetary restraints, he said. “I’m concerned by the fact that people are only focusing on teaching and not research and outreach. Let us not forget that a land-grant university has as its role teaching, research and outreach.”