Clayton Hollier, 2010 Friends of IPM Award Winner
Besides a plaque and a bit of recognition, Clayton Hollier received something he didn’t expect during his Friend of IPM Award presentation: a standing ovation.
“I’ve never gotten a standing ovation before,” he said afterwards.
Hollier’s accomplishments earned him both the award and the standing ovation. At the AgOutlook Conference on January 21 in Alexandria, Louisiana, director Jim VanKirk from the Southern Region IPM Center presented Hollier with the Friends of IPM Lifetime Achievement Award.
One of six Friends of IPM awards sponsored by the Southern Region IPM Center, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions to the field of IPM during his or her career. Hollier began making those contributions just after arriving at Louisiana State University.
Before Hollier began his career at LSU, he used IPM as a research technician at the H.J. Heinz Company research facility in Merigold, Mississippi. From there he continued his IPM education as a graduate student in plant pathology at Mississippi State University.
After he graduated from Mississippi State, he started his new career as a plant pathologist in the Louisiana State University AgCenter.
As Hollier began working with growers on disease management, he found that most growers used fungicides and antibiotics to prevent disease. He presented his first workshop to a group of rice growers in Acadia Parish, none of whom had ever heard of IPM. Over the next several months, Hollier taught them about scouting for diseases and preventing pathogen development by changing planting and fertilization practices. He created a new disease management approach for them and growers of other crops that began with pre-plant decisions like fertilizer, variety selection and planting site preparation and ended with harvest and post-harvest disease management.
Hollier’s disease management approach in Louisiana soon became one of the recommended approaches for the entire Southeast. In 2000, he and three of his colleagues collaborated and published Management of Wheat Diseases in the Southeastern United States: an Integrated Pest Management Approach .
Hollier educated both growers and university students alike. During his 28 years at LSU, he authored several chapters in textbooks explaining IPM principles and practices in farming. He routinely teaches extension agents, agricultural consultants, pesticide applicators, home gardeners, producers, Master Gardeners and agribusiness clients at field days and individual workshops.
According to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, his audience has been listening. Water quality tests on the Mermentaud River, Bayou Queue de Tortue and Quachita River basins have shown that pesticide levels in those rivers has decreased significantly, in part because of the IPM practices that growers along the basins have adapted.
As Louisiana’s IPM Coordinator, a responsibility that he gained in 1996, Hollier challenged traditional approaches to the IPM program. In addition to entomologists, Hollier included plant pathologists and weed scientists in the program. He began and maintained a mini-grants program to fund small IPM projects led by Extension agents. He used Internet technology to reach a broader base of Louisiana citizens by creating a website called IPMLouisiana.
Twice a year Hollier travels to Raleigh, North Carolina, to serve on the Southern Region IPM Center Advisory Council.
VanKirk said that Hollier was a model to all IPM professionals.
“Because of his efforts, the water is cleaner,” he said. “People throughout the state are learning about IPM. Impacts like that make our jobs easier.”