Annual field day features rice geneticist

A leading rice geneticist will speak at the annual field day June 29 at the LSU Agricultural Center H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station at 1373 Caffey Road in Rayne.

The day will begin with field tours from 7:15 a.m. until 9 a.m. More research will be presented at a session until 10:30 a.m., and the indoor program begins at 10:45 a.m.

Speakers will discuss their latest research on rice breeding, weed control, insect and disease management, hybrid development and agronomy.

Susan McCouch, of the Cornell University department of plant breeding and genetics, will talk about the potential for advances in rice breeding.

McCouch developed the first molecular map of the rice genome in 1988. She has conducted extensive studies of rice to help breeders identify genetic markers for rice traits, including disease resistance, maturity, yields and drought tolerance.

Sugar cane variety being released

The latest sugar cane variety to be released shows several positive characteristics, including good yields and cold tolerance, according to LSU Agricultural Center sugar cane specialist Kenneth Gravois.

The variety, HoCP 09-804, is the only release this year. It was bred and selected at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s sugar cane research unit in Houma, Gravois said. It takes an average of 12 years from the initial cross to the release of a variety that’s ready to be planted by growers.

The American Sugar Cane League will distribute the variety to growers in the fall for planting.

The new variety proved its ability to withstand lodging, or falling over, during Hurricane Isaac in 2011. The new variety is susceptible to rust and to low levels of sugar cane mosaic, both diseases of sugar cane. But Gravois said that’s not a serious problem because there are fungicides available to manage the rust.

Program provides law school guidance

A program to provide minority college students with information and classes on the law school experience, opportunities in the legal profession and guidance on becoming an attorney will be held July 14-15 in the 36th-floor Kean Miller Conference Center at 909 Poydras St. in New Orleans.

Kean Miller Connection is a law school preparatory program for college juniors and seniors from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in area law schools.

Applicants must be members of a group traditionally underrepresented in law school and the law practice; maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0; have completed at least 45 college credits; and be a Louisiana resident. Applications are due no later than June 27.

Applications are at www.keanmiller.com. Space is limited.

Grant to promote FAFSA form use

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance has received a $54,000 grant to increase completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms by high school students in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools during the 2016-17 academic year.

The grant is from the National College Access Network and The Kresge Foundation.

Only 22 cities out of 118 applicants were awarded grants nationwide.

The grant challenges cities to increase FAFSA completion rates by a minimum of 5 percent for the high school graduating class of 2017. FAFSA is the primary application required for most student financial assistance programs, including federal Pell grants, federal on-campus work study programs and low-interest federal student loans. FAFSA also is the primary application for the Louisiana TOPS program and the Louisiana Go Grant.

LOSFA’s customer service hotline is (800) 359-5626 and email help is at custserv@la.gov.

Partnering with LOSFA in the Baton Rouge FAFSA Completion Challenge are the Louisiana Department of Education, East Baton Rouge Parish school system, Louisiana Educational Loan Authority and Career Compass of Louisiana.

LSU Veterinary School researcher gets grant

An LSU Veterinary School researcher from New Orleans has received a $100,000 grant to further his research into the causes and diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Dr. Britton Grasperge, an assistant professor in pathobiological sciences, is working to identify substances within tick saliva that are responsible for attracting the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. That will help develop a better diagnostic.

Grasperge received the grant and Alexandra Cohen Emerging Leader Award from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. The nonprofit funds innovative Lyme disease research in the U.S. More than 329,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with this potentially debilitating disease.

“The ultimate goal is to design better diagnostics and potentially improve therapeutics for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome,” Grasperge said. “We’re also trying to better define Lyme disease syndrome, which occurs in people who have received an appropriate treatment for Lyme disease yet have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain and joint or muscle aches lasting for more than six months.”

NOLA Know-How showcases B2B

NOLA Know-How, part of the SourceNOLA campaign, will showcase greater New Orleans business-to-business participants and discussions from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market, 1436 O.C. Haley Blvd.

The theme for speakers will be “Survival of the Fittest!”

Experts will discuss how they adapted to changing markets and consumer landscapes in New Orleans or on a national or global level.

B2B businesses will show off their services and network with area businesses seeking local service providers.

Information is at staylocal.org/event/69825.