For over half a century, Ray Young has been a cornerstone of agriculture. He began his professional career in 1949 when he started scouting for cotton producer Dan Logan in northwest Louisiana.
Most people involved in Southern agriculture believe this was the birth of the cotton consulting business in the United States. As both a farmer and consultant, Young distinguished himself as a knowledgeable and skilled cotton scout when the field of crop consulting was still in its infancy.
In 1952, he married Dorothy Burns just weeks before leaving to serve as a fighter pilot in the Korean War. After his service, Young completed his M.S. degree in Entomology from Louisiana State University, and the couple made their home in Wisner, La., in 1955.
Dorothy pursued her educational goals, earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in education, while raising the couple’s four children: Tony, Jesse, June and Peggy. Ray and Dorothy worked hard to develop a family business, training and nurturing dozens of young cotton scouts, many of whom went on to successful careers as crop consultants.
Endowed Assistantship Initiated
The Young’s efforts were not limited to their own success. Both have been actively involved in a variety of community affairs and are passionate advocates on behalf of American agriculture. To preserve their contributions for future generations, it is very appropriate that a process has been initiated to fund the “Ray and Dorothy Young Endowed Assistantship in Louisiana Row Crop IPM.”
It is the sincere hope of a committee of family and friends that this assistantship will support the education of the next agricultural consultants who will follow in their footsteps.
LSU AgCenter research entomologist Rogers Leonard made the official announcement on Feb. 9, 2011, at the Louisiana Agricultural Technology and Management Conference that was held in Alexandria, La.
“I, as many of you, have had the good fortune of walking in the shadow of giants,” Leonard says. “They molded our careers, and if we ever needed a bit of humbleness, all we had to do was look up. Today, we are honoring a pair of those giants with a small gift of our appreciation to acknowledge what they have accomplished during their lives.
“The student fellowship is for a student pursuing a graduate degree in the disciplines of plant protection,” he adds. “This is a four-year process to fully fund a scholarship that will exist in perpetuity in the LSU College of Agriculture. When fully funded, this assistantship will be the only one of its kind in the College of Agriculture, and residents of Louisiana will receive preferences for this award.”
Reaction From The Youngs
In response to this announcement, on his and Dorothy’s behalf, Young says, “We are humbled, speechless and in tears at what you have done in our honor. This is a total surprise. We can’t think of a better project than what you have chosen. Agriculture is dear to our hearts, and this will be a perpetual support for agriculture.
“It will take all of us and all of agriculture and all of the help we can get from all segments of our society to keep agriculture viable in our nation,” he adds.
“We’re already planning on some things we can do as soon as health will permit, probably soon, to continue to foster our great industry,” Young continues. “Whatever we’ve been able to accomplish has been with the consent, help and good graces of Jesse and Leslie Young, our business partners.
“Thanks and sincere appreciation to all who have been and will be a part of this great honor. Our hopes and prayers are with you all and a great future in agriculture as we feed and clothe our great nation and the world!”
To make a contribution to the Ray and Dorothy Young Endowed Assistantship in Louisiana Row Crop IPM, contact Denise Wright, Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association Executive Director, at (337) 945-3694 or firstname.lastname@example.org.