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LSU AgCenter names new cotton and grains specialist

Matt Foster

Dr. Matt Foster — photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

• By Bruce Schultz •

The LSU AgCenter has named Matt Foster as the statewide specialist for cotton, corn and grain sorghum starting Jan. 19, 2021.

He’s ready to go to work.

“My first day is already planned out with a grower meeting to meet producers,” Foster said. “I’m already putting things on my calendar.”

Melissa Cater, director of the AgCenter Northeast Region, said Foster is eager to start work.

“He will get the program up to speed very quickly. We’re delighted to have him join our staff here,” she said.

Foster’s qualifications and background will fit well with corn, cotton and grain sorghum cropping systems.

“His skills will benefit all the people in the industry that he will be interacting with,” Cater said.

Foster has been working as an area Extension agent with sugarcane and soybeans in Ascension Parish, where he has been based, along with St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, Lafourche, Terrebonne and Assumption parishes.

“Working in the sugarcane industry has been a great experience,” he said.

Foster received his doctorate degree from LSU in 2018 in agronomy under Jim Griffin. He earned a bachelor’s degree from LSU in agricultural pest management in 2012.

Foster will be based at the AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station near Winnsboro and also will have an office at the AgCenter Northeast Research Station at St. Joseph.

Extension experience

Foster said his work as an Extension agent and as an intern with the late Concordia Parish agent Glen Daniels showed him the value of Extension agents.

“In my opinion, Extension agents are the lifeline of the LSU AgCenter,” Foster said. “I plan on maintaining a close relationship with parish Extension agents.”

Foster said his first experience with agriculture was while growing up in Vidalia, when he worked for a farmer and ag consultant.

“I grew up working on a family friend’s farm at age 13 on his sweet corn operation,” Foster said.

Eventually, Foster started scouting for crop pests “and doing anything that needed to be done on the farm.”

AgCenter pest management specialist Al Orgeron has worked with Foster on sugarcane.

“I think Matt is going to do a fantastic job. He’s very sharp, with a broad knowledge about Louisiana crops,” Orgeron said. “He’s well suited for the position.”

Bruce Schultz is assistant communications specialist at the LSU AgCenter. He may be reached at BSchultz@agcenter.lsu.edu