“We are pleased to have a long-time researcher with experience in the AgCenter assume this important position in our leadership ranks,” said John S. Russin, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research and director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station.
Leonard’s specialty is insect pest management in cotton, corn, grain sorghum and soybeans. Over the course of his career, he has helped farmers in Louisiana and across the South save money in production costs and increase yields through more effective pest control methods.
Leonard joined the AgCenter as a researcher in 1990 at the Macon Ridge Research Station in Winnsboro, La., after completing his Ph.D. in entomology at LSU. He was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor in 1994 and then to professor in 1999.
Leonard has been on the graduate faculty of the LSU Department of Entomology in Baton Rouge, where he has overseen the research of dozens of LSU master’s and doctoral students.
In 2006, he was named the Jack Hamilton Chair in Cotton Production. This award was created by the Louisiana Cotton Producers Association, the Louisiana Independent Cotton Warehouse Association and the Louisiana Cotton Ginners Association to honor Jack Hamilton, a long-time cotton farmer, now deceased, from Lake Providence, La.
Leonard’s honors include the 2012 Recognition Award from the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, which was announced in 2011; the LSU AgCenter Doyle Chambers Research Award in 2011; the LSU AgCenter Ken Tipton Team Award in 2011, 2006 and 1998; the National Conservation Systems Cotton Research Award in 2007; and the LSU AgCenter First Mississippi Award for Research in 1998.
In 2009, he was named to the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association Hall of Fame. He has served on the state boll weevil commission and on the technical advisory group for boll weevil eradication.
Leonard received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1984 and his master’s degree in entomology in 1987, also from LSU. He operated his own agricultural consulting service in and around Tensas Parish from 1982 to 1986.
During his career, he has received more than $7.4 million in grants and contracts to support his research.