The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation has awarded a $1.4 million grant to the LSU AgCenter to fund a four-year research project on reducing nutrient runoff from crop fields.
The award was announced at a ceremony June 13 at the AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden in Baton Rouge.
“The issues that are to be addressed during this project are varied and complex,” said Mrs. Phyllis Taylor, chairperson and president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. “While there has been some work done in this arena, there is much more required. We hope to advance effective solutions that benefit the farming industry and produce a positive result of a substantial, if not complete, elimination of the nutrient runoff. The team that has been engaged for this project is well qualified to do the work, and we wish them every success.”
“The Taylor Foundation funding provides critical on-site research and demonstration for applied and sustainable agricultural production,” said LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson. “It also funds graduate students, propagating the next generation of agricultural scientists and communicators.”
AgCenter soil scientists Lisa Fultz and Brenda Tubaña are studying practices farmers can implement to decrease the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs needed to grow a successful crop. The goal is to reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to hypoxia, or inadequate oxygen, in the Gulf of Mexico.
As part of the project, the scientists will work with Keith Dugas Farm Inc., a sugarcane farm in Paincourtville, and Hardwick Planting Company, a farm in Newellton that grows corn, cotton, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat. They will test and demonstrate efficient nutrient management techniques.
Several partner agencies will help disseminate information on the scientists’ findings. Those organizations include the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts, American Sugar Cane League, and Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board.