Historic merger gets approval at LSU

Published: Sep. 6, 2013 at 11:34 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2013 at 1:21 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The LSU College of Agriculture and the LSU main campus will be united as one. The LSU Board unanimously approved the consolidation at a monthly meeting in September.

AG Center Chancellor Bill Richardson stated that the AG Center and AG College have been separate for the past forty years, but now plans are moving to place them "into one administrative structure."

Richardson says, "What that allows us to do is be more efficient with how we invest our resources which are really scarce right now, and to better serve our students with what we can provide them."

Richardson also said that even though mergers are not very popular in Louisiana, no jobs will be lost.  Both agencies are tightly budgeted and the merger is a move in the right direction.

"Sometimes you have to say you have to do what's right. And this is the time to do what's right. We're beyond turf battles," says Richardson. "The Ag Center has lost 25% of our budget in the last five years. We've had to begin to be very smart in the way we do business. With the leadership here, we can all sit down and say what's best for agriculture and what's best for the state."

Newly appointed LSU President F. King Alexander says the plan to consolidate these agencies has been in the works for a while now.

Alexander says, "Our connection to this state in every parish really resides in our agricultural centers and our research stations. And this consolidation is something that we have been working toward for quite some time. We have many, many allies and advocates from outside the institution and from inside the institution."

Ken McMillen says the Ag Center endorses the consolidation and assures that all involved are in agreement.

"The Ag Center faculty fully endorses the consolidation of the administration of Ag programs, provided the faculty is involved in the deliberations," says McMillen.  "Dr. Richardson has shown that he's willing to listen to faculty on the research and extension changes that have occurred in the recent past. And we expect that this will continue in the future."

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