By Koran Addo
Capitol news bureau
October 02, 2012
H. Rouse Caffey, chancellor emeritus of the LSU Agricultural Center, died Saturday at his home in Alexandria.
Caffey, 83, was known as a staunch advocate for agricultural interests around the state and also for the reputation he built internationally as a rice expert during a long academic career.
Caffey’s son-in-law, Blake Chatelain, described Caffey as an outgoing man with a gregarious personality who devoted a significant portion of his life to public service.
“I think he was what we would hope all public servants are like,” Chatelain said.
Chatelain, who is a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, praised Caffey for his research while at the center.
“He really did try to feed the world,” Chatelain said.
Colleagues credit Caffey as having worked to solidify the center’s place as a regional leader in agricultural research with 64 offices and 17 research stations statewide.
Agricultural Center Chancellor Bill Richardson called Caffey a “fierce” defender of the center’s role, scope and mission.
“He was one of the nicest and hardest-working people that I’ve ever been around,” Richardson said. “He was very passionate about the international agricultural community and he really wanted the AgCenter to realize its full potential.”
LSU System President and Baton Rouge Chancellor William Jenkins said Caffey was one of the first people he established a close relationship with after arriving at LSU. Jenkins said the impact his old friend had in agricultural communities, particularly amongst rice farmers, is too large to measure.
Caffey’s international agricultural consulting spanned 42 years and took him to more than 60 countries. Most of his international work involved rice, sugar cane and different facets of agricultural research.
“He was a very special person. One of a kind,” Jenkins said. “He was a scholar who developed different rice variations and he had an enormous impact with the state Legislature. He embodied Louisiana agriculture.”
Born in 1929 in Grenada, Miss., Caffey earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agronomy at Mississippi State University before heading to LSU, where he completed a Ph.D. program in agronomy-rice breeding.
Caffey held many positions at LSU including rice research leader and chancellor of LSU at Alexandria, but he is most well-known for his 13 years as Agricultural Center chancellor before his retirement in 1997.
He is survived by his wife Lois, two daughters, two sons and their children.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the LSU Foundation for the Dr. Caffey Endowment Fund for the Louisiana Agricultural Leadership program and sent to Agricultural Leadership Program, LSU Agricultural Center, 101 Efferson Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.