‘Big shoes to fill’

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There’s a new face at the LSU AgCenter Extension Service office in Franklinton: Scotty May, who stepped into the role of being, essentially, a resource on all things agriculture on Oct. 22.

A native of Rayville, May is brand new to the AgCenter. He previously worked in the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Though his primary assignment with that agency was in St. Tammy Parish, he also spent some time in Tangipahoa and Washington parishes, and, thus, got to know his AgCenter predecessor, Henry Harrison, and enjoyed working with him.

May worked with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s pesticide and environmental programs and horticulture and quarantine programs. He was on the regulatory end of issuing licenses to individuals who apply pesticides — providing monitoring, registering applicants and collecting fees — and Harrison had the educational role in the process, by recertifying private applicators, May said.

Harrison was with the AgCenter for 40 years and retired as county agent and parish chair in September. Now, St. Tammany Parish Chair Rusty Batty has assumed the administrative role of serving as Washington Parish chair.

As assistant extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, May said he will be working primarily with the horticulture side of the AgCenter’s business, and Associate Extension Agent Lacey Keating, who is over the parish 4-H program, will be working with the animal science aspect.

During his first couple of weeks on the job, May has been meeting those who work with the Master Gardener program, has visited some local co-ops and has been fielding calls local growers and consumer clientele, he said.

“It’s been good, meeting some new people,” he said.

Now that the local growers are heading into the winter season, the AgCenter is not as busy as it would be during production time, May said.

“It gets a little slower, which is a good time to transition with somebody else taking over, kind of get to know the program and meet some of the people before it gets in a rush of actual production season,” he said.

May said taking over for Harrison means he has “big shoes to fill.” He does not view his new job as replacing Harrison, though.

“I’m just picking up where he left off, because Henry left a pretty, pretty big mark with the LSU AgCenter,” he said. “The people in the parish really respect him, and surrounding areas too.”

May, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business at Louisiana Tech University in 2008 and a Master of Science degree in horticulture from Mississippi State University in 2010, said he is available to provide assistance and answer any questions growers or homeowners may have. He can be reached at the Extension Service office at 839-7855.

“I look forward to working with the people of Washington Parish, both consumer and commercial clientele and all the producers,” he said. “Any homeowners that have any questions, I look forward to working with them.”