LSU Energy Summit taking registration

Registration is open for the LSU Energy Summit being held Oct. 18 at the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium in the Energy, Coast & Environment Building at LSU in Baton Rouge.

The theme is "Operating in a New Energy World." Topics include the outlook for global energy prices and the role the U.S. energy supply will play in the global market place; cybersecurity challenges for energy infrastructure operations and development; how federal policies and executive agency actions affect domestic energy; skilled labor; distributed generation impact on power sector configurations, operations and costs; and how energy infrastructure investments are affecting and changing Louisiana's energy landscape.

Guest speaker is John Wasik, a journalist and author of "Lightning Strikes: Timeless Lessons in Creativity from the Life and Work of Nikola Tesla."

Pre-registration is $110 for individuals within government, education and nonprofits, and $150 for all others, with on-site registration rising to $135 and $175, respectively.

The registration fee for students is $25 and for members of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association is $85.

Registration and information are at www.lsu.edu/ces/conferences/energysummit2017/index.php.

Farm-to-school conference scheduled

The LSU AgCenter will host a state conference dedicated to farm-to-school initiatives on Oct. 24 at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

“The statewide conference is a forum for attendees to be more familiar with the three aspects of farm-to-school activities — school gardening, education and local food procurement — as well as have an opportunity to learn from successful programs in the state and provide a forum to network,” said LSU AgCenter professor Carl Motsenbocker.

The conference will include two parallel tracks. The first will include sessions on best practices for school gardens, connecting menus with the seasons and education. The second track will focus on local purchasing, food safety, local sourcing and a buyers’ panel.

Two general sessions will be devoted to local, regional and national resources for farm-to-school programs. A networking session will close out the conference.

Farm-to-school programs are important for schools to respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods, increase the amount of Louisiana-grown products in school lunchrooms, and expand marketing opportunities for Louisiana producers and food businesses, such as food processors, manufacturers and distributors, Motsenbocker said.

Online registration is bit.ly/2wbGzMm. The cost is $24 per person.

Area YouthBuild programs get grants

The U.S. Department of Labor will award $1.9 million total to YouthBuild programs in Hammond and Convent, a pre-apprenticeship program for at-risk people ages 16 to 24.

The Quad Area Community Action Agency Inc. in Hammond will receive $1.1 million. The St. James Parish Department of Human Resources in Convent will receive $833,175.

YouthBuild helps at-risk youth complete high school or state equivalency degree programs, earn industry-recognized certifications for in-demand occupations, and undergo training to build housing for low-income or homeless people and families in their communities.

The federal funding was announced by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy.

Grant targets deer, cattle diseases

LSU AgCenter scientists Lane Foil and Claudia Husseneder have been awarded a three-year, $490,000 grant to study two insect-borne diseases that affect deer and cattle.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant will fund the project. The grant includes support from the National Science Foundation.

Both viruses being studied cause what commonly is referred to as hemorrhagic disease. The only insects known to transmit the diseases are biting midge species. Infected deer suffer hemorrhages in multiple organs and typically die. Symptoms are less severe in cattle.

The AgCenter project will focus on identifying insects that carry the two viruses and studying how the viruses overwinter, or persist between active transmission seasons, in both animal tissue and insects. The scientists also will work to develop methods to identify immature midges and learn more about their developmental habits and food webs.

“The ultimate goal is to generate knowledge that can lead to control methods to protect wild and captive ruminants,” Foil said.

The majority of the field work will take place at the AgCenter's Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station, which has herds of cattle, wild and captive white-tailed deer, and red deer. A portion of the laboratory work will be conducted on the LSU campus in the Department of Entomology.

Pitch competition supports education

Applications are being accepted for a $10,000 "PitchNOLA: Education" competition designed to ensure every New Orleanian has access to an education and career path, especially students and youth of color.

Nonprofits, for-profits, individuals and organizations can apply by the Oct. 4 deadline with ideas for narrowing the achievement gap in Orleans Parish.

The competition is being hosted by Propeller and 4.0 Schools, along with Capital One.

One-on-one application assistance will be available at information sessions and happy hours at Propeller. Propeller will select 10 semi-finalists, who will pitch on-stage at Propeller for $10,000 in total startup funding on Nov. 8. Tickets are free on Eventbrite.

Information about the competition is available at gopropeller.org.