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Story Archives: AgCenter absorbs cuts
|AgCenter absorbs cuts|
In an effort to streamline operations in the wake of state budget cuts, three parishes — Concordia, Catahoula and Union — have been absorbed into the LSU AgCenter's northeast region.
John Barnett, former director of the AgCenter's Central Louisiana operations, has been tapped to oversee the 12-parish area which also includes Franklin, Tensas, Madison, Caldwell, East Carroll, West Carroll, Morehouse, Richland and Ouachita.
"What we have done is gone from having seven regions to five regions by eliminating our north-central region and the south-central crescent region to save money and reduce administrative costs," said Carol Pinnell-Alison, the AgCenter's county agent for Franklin Parish.
Parishes in the north-central region were absorbed by both the AgCenter's northeast and northwest regions.
The south-central crescent region, which was comprised of Orleans Parish and other parishes near New Orleans, was absorbed into the AgCenter's southeast and southwest regions.
The AgCenter is one of 11 institutions within the Louisiana State University System that must cut expenses because of falling state revenue. Over the last two years, LSU has absorbed $43 million in cuts in an effort to help shore up Louisiana's budget shortfall. Over the last 10 years the AgCenter has faced budget cuts that accounted for the loss of 300 positions, according to officials.
Other changes are coming to AgCenter offices in the northeast region, including Pinnell-Allison stepping down from her position as the chair of the Franklin Parish administrative board. The position will now be held by James Hendrix, who formerly worked in the AgCenter's Tensas Parish office.
"So there will be no confusion, I want people to understand that I will still be working as county agent here in Franklin Parish," said Pinnell-Alison. "I'm just stepping down from the administrative position I have held for the last nine years."
Barnett, who has been serving as the AgCenter's interim northeast region director since the Bob Hutchinson retired, has been maintaining offices in both the Scott Center in Winnsboro and the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria for the past few months.
He will work exclusively out of the Winnsboro office starting July 1, he said.
Barnett is a native of Union Parish who holds a Ph.D. in Vocational Education from LSU and has worked as county agent in Quachita and Caldwell parishes.
"I've spent most of my career up here working as a county agent or working as a cotton specialist for the state of Louisiana, so it's good to back in the home country," he said.
The LSU AgCenter, headquartered in Baton Rouge, includes the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, which conducts agricultural-based research, and the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, which extends agriculture research throughout the state.
The AgCenter also operates Louisiana's 4-H youth program.