ACG business award nominations sought

The Association for Corporate Growth Louisiana is accepting nominations for its annual business awards until March 10.

Awards are presented annually to companies that have demonstrated significant achievements in the areas of corporate growth, corporate development or mergers and acquisitions.

The six award categories are outstanding corporate growth, emerging growth company, deal of the year, young deal maker of the year, deal maker of the year and lifetime achievement award. Information and nomination forms are available at Nominations should be sent to

Consortium working on advanced materials

A consortium of faculty and graduate students from LSU, Tulane University, University of New Orleans and Louisiana Tech are collaborating on a multimillion-dollar statewide research initiative that will expand the understanding of advanced materials.

The Louisiana Consortium for Neutron Scattering, or LaCNS, was granted $4.9 million for three years from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research through the Louisiana Board of Regents in August.

“This research promises to have a long-term impact on everything from the amount of memory available in your computer and the speed at which it can be accessed, the efficiency of power transmission lines and the cost and efficiency of devices that convert sunlight to electricity, as well as the discovery of new materials with unexpected properties. All of these aspects need fundamental discoveries to make advances toward new and better devices,” said John DiTusa, LaCNS principal investigator and LSU physics professor.

LaCNS researchers will use the equipment and facilities and collaborate with the scientific staff at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, where they will run their experiments.

Financial education efforts to be recognized

The Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition has developed a program to recognize companies that provide financial education to their employees.

Award applications are being accepted for business or nonprofit organizations, including state and local government entities, that have developed and implemented programs designed to increase financial education and financial well being of their employees. The deadline for submission is March 15.

The workplace Financial Education is being modeled after the Workplace Committee Honor Roll Program, established by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Education. While the president’s program is national, Louisiana Jump$tart’s program is designed to recognize businesses in Louisiana that have achieved workplace financial education goals.

The organization said companies providing financial education show improvement in the workplace, including increased productivity, employee morale and company loyalty and decreased health care costs, absenteeism, turnover, workplace distractions and operational risk across the company.

Eligibility criteria and the online application can be found at Honorees will be announced and recognized in April in support of Financial Literacy Month.

Applications sought for farmer development

Grant applications for 2015 for the federal Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program are being accepted until March 13.

Grants go to organizations that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers. Funding for the program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture is authorized by the 2014 farm bill.

The program, established by the 2008 farm bill, supports those who have farmed or ranched less than 10 years with workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance throughout the United States.

The grant announcement was made recently by U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden at Recirculating Farms Coalition in New Orleans. Recirculating Farms received a BFRDP grant to develop training sessions focusing on soil-based production and aquaculture for new and beginning farmers in New Orleans.

Agribusiness fund makes first investment

Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners in New Orleans has made its first investment, going to Iowa Cage-Free LLLP of Goldfield, Iowa.

The $154.5 million fund, which includes participation from nine Farm Credit system investors, focuses on businesses involved in the production, processing and supply of agricultural products across the country.

Iowa Cage-Free LLLP was formed in 2009 by a group of industry professionals and Iowa farm families to build layer houses for cage-free egg production. In order to fulfill a new larger contract with a client, Iowa Cage-Free acquired an egg production facility that previously operated caged layer houses. The funding from ACAP assists Iowa Cage-Free with the acquisition and the renovations needed to transform the new facility to cage-free layer houses.

“Businesses in rural America face a shortage of investment capital and this fund attacks that problem by providing rural businesses with funding to grow and create new jobs in rural communities,” said Scott Murphy, chief investment officer at Advantage Capital Partners.

Acadiana beef cattle field day scheduled

The Acadiana Beef Cattle Producers Field Day will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. March 7 at the LSU AgCenter Iberia Research Station at 603 LSU Bridge Road in Jeanerette.

Registration starts at 8 a.m.

Presentations will be made on preventive medicine, bull nutrition and selection, cattle handling, sprayer calibration, ryegrass evaluation, cow-calf systems and the Louisiana Master Farmer Program.

For information, contact Stan Dutile at (337) 291-7090.