“Louisiana’s Frontline: 125 Years of Agricultural Research,” a 60-minute documentary, will be broadcast on Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) and its statewide PBS affiliates Aug. 2 at 7 p.m.
The video, produced by the LSU AgCenter, tells the story of the “soldiers of science” at the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station who have made agricultural production not only possible but productive in Louisiana.
Agriculture is now a $26 billion business in Louisiana in part because of the scientific breakthroughs by LSU AgCenter researchers, according to John Russin, vice chancellor for research at the LSU AgCenter. “Louisiana’s humid climate makes it one of the most challenging places in America to grow crops and raise livestock. Insect pests, weeds, disease and extreme weather threaten to destroy every type of crop.”
“If it were not for that work that they do, we would have certainly been taken out by one of those threats long ago,” said John Gay, a Plaquemine sugarcane producer featured in the documentary. “I’m afraid if they were not here, we would not be here.”
“The relationship between a strong, vibrant agricultural economy and research and development is as critical as (research and development) is in any other major industry,” said Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter chancellor.
As the research arm of the LSU AgCenter, the experiment station works closely with the AgCenter’s other branch, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, which disseminates the knowledge to the people who can use it through a system of Extension agents in every parish as well as online resources.
“Louisiana’s Frontline” explores how researchers have created new plant varieties, as well as techniques and technologies that have boosted production of crops like rice, sugarcane and cotton.
The documentary also reveals how researchers continue to use cutting-edge technology to fortify human health, fight human diseases, create biofuels from agricultural waste, and restore the fragile Louisiana coast.
“We not only feel comfortable conducting research on a crop in a field, but we also feel comfortable conducting research on new treatments for cancer from chemicals that we might produce from extracts of plants -- or developing new proteins or peptides with specific activities to create disease resistance in plants, animals and people,” Russin said.