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Tours and Visitors
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1 - Welcome (1)
2 - 2017 Growth Measurements
3 - Variety Releases
4 - Tours and Visitors
5 - Current News, Meetings and Talks
6 - Archived Meetings and Talks
7 - Archived Sugarcane Growth Data
8 - Archived Maturity Data
                             Field Trip                                                    School Tour                                                        Field Day 

July 2014. The Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA hosted a group (29) of 6th and 7th grade students from the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery summer camp. Support personnel provided a tour of the Sugarcane Research Unit's Ardoyne farm.  The students had a keen interest in science and enjoyed the presentation on land loss presented by Mr. Chris Adams and Mr. Lionel Lomax.  The campers were able to instantly see what causes the loss of land and how to slow it down. Randy Richard presented a talk on entomology and shared information on the ways we check for pests, how we environmentally handle the insecticide applications, as well as our research efforts to breed for resistant varieties of sugarcane.  The campers then moved on to a presentation on pathology and disease recognition presented by Kathy Warnke and assisted by Lionel Lomax and Eric Petrie.  These young people were able to load a PCR gel with dye to see how it is done as well as observe various objects under the microscope.  Finally, the students toured the juice lab where Norris Matherne and Eric Petrie had sugarcane stalks cut for the students to run through the roller mill.  They provided a demonstration on how to collect juice from the sugarcane stalks and explained the process of analyzing the juice samples in the lab.  These young people asked probing questions and had great responses when asked questions throughout the day.

June 6, 2014. ARS researchers at the Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU), Houma, LA  co-hosted the annual USDA-LSU AgCenter Sugarcane Field Day at the USDA, ARS, Ardoyne Research Farm in Schriever, LA on June 6, 2014. The sugarcane field tour began with opening remarks from Dr. Michael Grisham, followed by several presentations at stops along the way, "Release of Variety Ho 07-613 and potential varieties in the pipeline" - Dr. William White, Mr. Edwis Dufrene and Mr. Mike Duet; "Precision Ag for Sugarcane: Where are we now and where are we headed?" - Dr. Richard Johnson; "Herbicide options for layby and fallow weed control and sugarcane ripener update" - Dr. Caleb Dalley; "Wide row spacing in Louisiana sugarcane" - Dr. Paul White; and "Billets and whole stalk planting: the eyes have it" - Dr. Charles Webber.  The support/technical staff of the Sugarcane Research Unit also played an important role in the success of this annual event. Approximately 100 people attended, including SRU employees, local farmers, and extension/sugar industry personnel.  

June 2, 2014. Scientists from the USDA, ARS, Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) and the American Sugar Cane League, the Louisiana sugarcane commodity organization, assisted the USDA, FSA, Office of Country and Regional Affairs in organizing a tour of the Louisiana sugarcane industry for a delegation of sugarcane industry personnel from the Philippines.  During the tour, June 2 - 6, 2014, the delegates visited a Louisiana sugarcane farm, a raw sugar mill, a sugar refinery, and a sugarcane harvester manufacturing plant.  The delegates also had the opportunity to discuss sugarcane research with SRU scientists in Houma and Louisiana State University AgCenter scientists in St. Gabriel. The delegation of about 15 people included representatives of the Philippine government and the sugarcane commodity group, as well as, planters, millers, and agronomists.  USDA Undersecretary Michael T. Scuse accompanied the delegation during a portion of their tour.

May 7, 2014. The Garden Club of America took a field trip from New Orleans to the bayou region.  With sugarcane being a major crop in the area, the GCA contacted the Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, Louisiana about participating in the tour.  Dr. Mike Grisham, Ms. Kathy Warnke, and Mr. Eric Petrie were on site at the Ardoyne Plantation house to tell the story and answer questions from the visitors.  There were about 150 visitors and their interest in the sugar industry and the SRU's research was very strong.  The hosts at the home, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Schaffer, said that they received many positive comments from the guests on the sugar presentation. 

September 26, 2013. Fifty-five Central American sugarcane producers and processors toured the Sugarcane Research Unit's Ardoyne Research Farm in Schriever, Louisiana. SRU research scientists making presentations included: Drs. Michael Grisham, David Burner, Bill White, Anna Hale and Rich Johnson.

September 9, 2013. Dr. Shuzhen Zhang, Jungang Wang, Wenzhi Wang, and Kate Yang of the Institute of Tropical Biosciences & Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Haikou City, Hainan Province, China, visited Drs. Michael P. Grisham and Yong-Bao Pan at the Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA. The visitors toured the Genetics and Pathology laboratories, the crossing facility, and a genetic mapping population field plot. Dr. Pan also demonstrated the sugarcane molecular genotyping technique.

Nicholls State University Raw Cane Sugar Manufacturing Institute tour SRU. Participants in the Nicholls State University Raw Cane Sugar Manufacturing Institute toured the SRU on June 24. The 26 participants representing the states of Louisianaand Florida, as well as at least six countries, are attending the two-week institute designed to teach current technologies utilized in the processing of raw cane. The purpose of the visit was to educate the participants as to research involved in the development of the commercial sugarcane varieties they are processing in their factories. The Unit's SY's make 10-minute presentations describing their research and its implication with respect to sugar processing.

Terrebonne Parish Native Americans tour SRU. Participants in the TerrebonneParishSchoolBoard's Indian Education program toured the SRU on July 15. The group consisted of 17 students from the 7 th through the 11 thgrades and their teachers. The SRU was one of the places chosen to visit during this two-week course that is designed to expose the students to various career opportunities in Agriculture, Science, and the Federal Government. To this end, Dr. Mike Grisham, Kathy Warnke, Lionel Lomax, Randy Richard, and David Verdun provided demonstrations and discussed the pathology, molecular, entomology, and breeding research that SRU scientists and technicians are conducting for the sugarcane industry.

PlymouthRockBaptistChurchSummer Camp Students tour SRU. Approximately 50 students and their supervisors participating in a summer camp sponsored by the PlymouthRockBaptistChurchvisited the SRU on June 23. Mr. Eric Petrie, SRU Biological Science Technician, discussed the history of the Louisiana sugarcane industry, showed the students some of the insects (good and bad) that are commonly found in sugarcane fields, and described some of the uses of sugar to include making things "taste good" such as ice cream and medicines. As a further demonstration, the students were given ice cream to eat. Most of these students were urban kids with no appreciation of the sugar industry in Louisiana. The tour received front page coverage in the June 24 edition of the HoumaDaily Courier.

World Association of Beet and Cane Growers tour SRU. The World Association of Beet and Cane Growers, which is a specialized body within the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, held a meeting in New Orleans. Twenty-nine members of the group visited the SRU on July 22 as part of an American Sugar Cane League-sponsored pre-meeting tour of the Louisianasugarcane industry. SRU staff members: Ed Richard, Mike Grisham, Bill White, Yong-Bao Pan, Rich Johnson, Ryan Viator, John Veremis, Ed Dufrene, and Kathy Warnke discussed various aspects of the unit's research and answered questions regarding sugarcane production in Louisiana.

Congressional Staff visit SRU:Approx. 25 Congressional staffers participated in an American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A.sponsored tour of the Louisianasugarcane industry. As part of the tour, the staffers visited the Sugarcane Research Laboratory on November 12 th. While at the laboratory, SRU scientists discussed research efforts in: varietal development, disease and insect protection through plant resistance, green-cane harvesting, and the development of cane as a feedstock for the production of energy and other bio-based products.

U.S.Beet Growers tour SRU: About 60 sugar beet growers from the various sugar beet producing states in the northern and western regions of the U.S.participated in an American Sugar Cane League of the U.S.A.sponsored tour of the Louisianasugarcane industry on November 19 th. As part of the tour, the growers visited the Sugarcane Research Laboratory. While at the laboratory, Dr. Ed Richard, SRU Research Leader, and CRIS Project Leaders: Drs. Tom Tew, Mike Grisham, and Rich Johnson discussed research efforts in: varietal development, disease and insect protection, green-cane harvesting, and the development of cane as a feedstock for the production of energy and other bio-based products.


SRU Scientists host Visitors:Dr. Sarah Lingle, Research Plant Physiologist, located in New Orleans, LA, is hosting two visitors from Thailandat the SRRC in New Orleans. Dr. Manit Kosittrakun, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Khon Kaen University, will be in New Orleans January 14-27 while Mr. Watanachai Lontom, a Ph.D. candidate at KhonKaenUniversitywill be in New Orleansuntil April 29. The purpose of the visit is to establish research collaboration on the role of acid invertases on pre- and post-harvest juice quality in sugarcane. The research will be conducted by Mr. Lontom, who will learn enzyme extraction and assay techniques in Dr. Lingle's laboratory before returning to Thailandto complete his research. In addition, SRU scientists at Houmahosted two visitors, Mr. Peter McGuire and Mr. Robert Quirk, from the New South Whales area of AustraliaJanuary 18-20. Mr. McGuire is a sugarcane extension specialist with the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations and Mr. Quirk is a sugarcane farmer. Since the climate in New South Whales is similar to Louisiana, the individuals were particularly interested in the cultural practices research being conducted by the SRU as well as the research conducted to date exploring the use of cane biomass as a feedstock for biofuels.


Arkansas High School Group tours SRU:Eighty-two science students along with 16 chaperones from Caddo Hills High School in Norman, AR visited the Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) on Monday March 21. The group was touring agriculture regions growing crops not indigenous to their area. While at the SRU, the visitors were shown a video on the 200 + year history of the Louisianasugarcane industry, how sugarcane is grown and processed into table sugar. technical staff consisting of Eric Petrie, Thomas Duet, Clinton Randall, Kathy Warnke, Jeannette Adams, Jeri Maggio, David Verdun, and Randy Richard mission and areas of sugarcane research being conducted by the Unit. Research discussed as the students toured the labs and facilities included: disease recognition and the diagnostic tools used to identify these diseases using the SRU's CSI Lab - just like the one on TV; variety development and growth of commercial and potential new cane varieties; and sugarcane insect identification and the utilization of predatory insects as part of an integrated pest management program. For fun and at the end of the tour the students were given a 10 question multiple choice test with questions such as: What makes sugar white? How much can a stalk of sugarcane grow in a day? What are fire ants good for? What does a pathologist study?


Agriculture Research Service receives Chinese Visitor: Dr. Yang-Rui Li, President of the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS), Nanning, China, visited the Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) and the Sugarcane Processing Research Institute at New Orleans, LA and the SRRC's Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) at Houma, LA on April 25-26, 2005. During his visit to the various entities, Dr. Li exchanged general information on sugarcane research. Dr. Li was particularly interested in exploring the possibility of developing cooperative research and scientific exchange programs on sugarcane physiology, breeding, genetics, and chemical regulation of growth and development between researchers at the SRU and GAAS .

Nicholls State University Raw Sugar Manufacturing Short Course visits ARS Sugarcane Research Laboratory (SRL):Fifteen individuals representing raw sugar mills from Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Venezuela, and the United States are taking part in a raw sugar manufacturing short course sponsored by NSU at Thibodaux, LA. The group visited the SRL at Houma, LAon June 15th where various aspects of sugarcane production that effect cane deliveries and the quality of sugar produced at the raw sugar mills were discussed by members of the Sugarcane Research Unit stationed at the SRL. Discussions included: varietal development and its effect on cane and sugar yields (Dr. Tom Tew, Research Geneticist), effects of diseases (Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist) and insects (Dr. Bill White, Research Entomologist) on cane and sugar yields, cane maturation and artificial cane ripening (Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader), increasing cane quality by improving harvesting efficiency (Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist), and the variable rate application of nutrients to increase production efficiencies and juice quality (Dr. Rich Johnson, Research Agronomist). The group also toured the SRL's Juice Quality Laboratory where Mrs. Michelle Portier, Biological Science Technician, demonstrated the lab's automated juice sampling processes.


Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) Members host Youth Group:The Sugarcane Research Laboratory served as the site for a field trip for participants of the PlymouthRockBaptistChurch's Summer Day Camp. The participants, ranging in age from seven to twelve, and their counselors spent most of the morning of June 16 at the Laboratory in Houma, Louisiana. While at the Laboratory, they were shown a video entitled: "Raising Cane in Louisiana". The group was then given a tour of the facility to hear discussions on: the impact and detection of diseases (Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist, and Biological Science Technicians, Kathy Warnke and Lionel Lomax), the rearing of sugarcane borers for entomological research (Biological Science Technicians, Jeannette Adams and Elta Duet), and sugarcane varietal development (Dr. John Veremis, Research Geneticist and Mr. Edwis Dufrene, Agronomist). The utilization of sugar was demonstrated, by providing members of the group with snow cones at the conclusion of the tour. The group was very inquisitive and a joy to host.


Sugarcane Research Unit (SRU) host Scientist for a Day Winner:Each year the SRU sponsors a "Scientist for a Day" award at the Terrebonne Parish Science and Engineering Fair. Demonstrating the marvels of agricultural science from the lab to the field was the objective of the SRU staff as they hosted this year's recipient, Mr. Yun Liu, on June 16 at the Sugarcane Research Laboratory. Biological Science Technicians Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, and Lionel Lomax introduced Yun to the world of molecular biology, while Biological Science Technicians Jeannette Adams and Elta Duet explained how both the detrimental sugarcane borer and Cotesia, a very small wasp that can kill sugarcane borer larvae, are raised in the insectory for research. Dr. John Veremis, Research Geneticist, showed Yun how breeding with wild plant relatives of sugarcane can be used to introduce new traits such as cold tolerance, vigor, and insect and disease resistance into commercial sugarcane varieties. Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, gave him a tour of the many research projects being conducted at the 300-acre USDA farm. Dr. Mike Grisham, Research Plant Pathologist, acted as host and coordinator for the day's activities. Yun, a sophomore at Terrebonne High School, was also an overall Grand Prize winner of the Terrebonne Parish science fair and participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona, May 8th to 14th.


ARS's Sugarcane Research Unit Members host National Vocational Agriculture Convention Participants:Approximately 125 vocational agriculture teachers, from across the U.S. took a break from the business matters of their national convention in Thibodaux, LA to tour the Sugarcane Research Laboratory at Houma, LA on June 21. Dr. Ed Richard, Research Leader, discussed the significance of the sugar industry to Louisiana, the history of ARS's involvement in the sugar industry, and ARS research in sugarcane varietal development. Dr. Ryan Viator, Research Plant Physiologist, discussed the mechanical harvesting of sugarcane and research efforts to identify ways to reduce the industry's dependence on the use of burning to reduce the impact of leafy trash on harvesting efficiency and crop growth. The influence and management of weed, disease, and insect pests was discussed by Dr. Richard and Mrs. Jeannette Adams, Biological Science Technician, Sugarcane was a new crop to many of the teachers and as such the speakers had to field a wide array of questions.


Local residents given tours of the Sugarcane Research Laboratory (SRL): On August 3 a local father and son requested and were given a tour of the SRL. The son was completing his World Conservation Badge for Cub Scouts and needed to tour an agricultural research facility. Eric Petrie discussed the history of the SRL and outlined the research conducted there including; the basic breeding, entomology and weed control programs. Kathy Warnke and Jeri Maggio discussed plant pathology and molecular biology research, including the procedures used to extract DNA and the process of PCR. A tour of the insectary was also given with discussions centered on the rearing of sugarcane borers and beneficial insects. At the photo period house, there was a discussion about how sugarcane is induced to flower under Louisiana conditions and also outlined the various steps in the varietal development process. On August 4th two local residents were given a similar tour with Eric Petrie, Lionel Lomax and Jeri Maggio providing the tour information. Both tours ended with the viewing of the video "Growing Sugarcane in Louisiana". Both tour groups asked informative questions and were clearly excited to tour the facility.


Local Public School Students tour Research Farm: Eric Petrie, Ryan Viator, Edwis Dufrene, Harold Callahan, and Ed Richard hosted a visit to the Sugarcane Research Laboratory's Ardoyne Research Farm by approximately 170 public school students on March 20-21, 2006. The students were taking part in the TerrebonneParishSchoolSystem's Operation Move Program. The after-school program provides tutoring and educational opportunities for students whose parents are still at work. While at the research farm, the students heard presentations on the history of sugarcane production in Louisiana; how and why sugarcane grows in Louisiana; the impact of sugarcane production on the local and state economies; the disease, insect and weed pests that affect sugarcane and why farmers must control them; and the various types of machinery used to grow and harvest sugarcane.


Local High School Student tours the Sugarcane Research Laboratory: Miss Britney Haydel, recipient of the Sugarcane Research Unit's "Scientist for a Day" award at the 2006 Terrebonne Parish Science and Engineering Fair, spent the day (July 27, 2006) touring the unit's laboratories and farm getting a first-hand introduction to some of the research being conducted by the ARS scientists at the SRU. Technicians Kathy Warnke, Jeri Maggio, and Lionel Lomax introduced her to the world of molecular biology, while Drs. Rich Johnson and Ryan Viator gave her a tour of the many projects being conducted at the research farm. Dr. Mike Grisham acted as host and coordinator for the day's activities. Britney graduated from TerrebonneHigh Schoolin May 2006, and will be attending LouisianaStateUniversityin the fall.


Local Teachers Given tour of Sugarcane Research Laboratory: The Sugarcane Research Unit at Houma, Louisiana hosted a group of science and social studies teachers from Terrebonne Parish who were taking part in a Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service sponsored Ag in the Class Room Workshop. The workshop is designed to expose teachers to agriculture in Louisianaby providing them with discussions on various crops and lessen plans that can be used by the teachers as they discuss the importance of agriculture to Louisiana's economy. Emphasis during the workshop was on livestock rice production in Louisiana. Dr. Ed Richard, welcomed the participants and provided them with a tour of the Unit's sugarcane breeding facility.


National Agriculture in the Classroom Educators and Volunteers tour Research Farm: Drs. Ed Richard and Caleb Dalley and Messrs. Eric Petrie, Frank Randall, Thomas Duet, Harold Callahan, and Hubert Zeller hosted 120 participants with the USDA- and Farm Bureau-sponsored National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference at the Sugarcane Research Unit's Ardoyne Research Farm on June 8. The conference, which was being held in New Orleans, is designed for educators and volunteers across the U.S.who have an interest in agricultural literacy. While on a "hayride type" tour through the farm, the history of and facts about the Louisianasugar industry, as well as the research in sugarcane varietal development and management being contacted at the SRU, was discussed.


High School Students tour Research Farm:Mr. Eric Petrie provided a tour of the Sugarcane Research Unit's Ardoyne Research Farm on June 11 to eleven Native American high school students along with three chaperones taking part in the 2007 Terrebonne Parish Youth Leadership Camp. Mr. Petrie discussed the opportunities in agricultural science and the types of scientific research being conducted at the SRU in sugarcane. Major emphasis was placed on the need for photoperiod induction of flowering in the varietal development program and the length of time needed to develop a variety as well as the ongoing entomological work where resistant varieties are sought out to lessen the need for insecticide applications. The students also viewed the farm equipment, some working in the field and others on static display near the shop.

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