Windell Jackson, a retired agronomist with the American Sugar Cane League (ASCL), has died.
Windell retired in 2014 as the senior agronomist with the ASCL after 41 years of service. He was first mentioned in the Sugar Bulletin on May 15, 1973 as an assistant agronomist under Lloyd Lauden, agronomist and field representative, and agronomist Howard J. Robichaux. He began writing his “On the Farm” sugarcane column in 2001 with his last column published on May 1, 2014.
A native of Sicily Island, he arrived in the cane belt with very little knowledge of sugarcane but was armed with a Bachelor of Science in agronomy from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe). His easy-going nature and willingness to learn and adapt to south Louisiana quickly made him a colleague but also a friend to farmers, millers and researchers from Raceland to Rapides.
Mr. Lloyd, as Windell called Lloyd Lauden, first assigned Windell to the belt’s Bayou Teche and northern region when there were 1,290 farms in the state averaging only 265 acres in size (today’s average is 1,300 acres). Windell acknowledged that he was green (he’d say he didn’t know a damn thing about sugarcane back then), but he was confident in his skill with the scientific method taught to him by his professors at ULM.
In 2001, Windell became the ASCL’s Research Coordinator. Over the years, he authored or co-authored hundreds of research reports on subjects ranging from variety work, fertilization and mechanical planters to molecular biology and other cutting edge sugarcane technologies.
He assumed many leadership roles in the sugar industry and served as advisor to the League’s Ag Contact Committee, Dedicated Research Funding Committee, Variety Advance Committee, Variety Release Committee, Farm Machinery Committee and Processors Committee. He was an honored member of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologies (ASSCT) and International Society of Sugar Cane Technologies (ISSCT). He served as the ASSCT Louisiana Division Ag Section chairman in 1984, 1987, 2010 and 2011 and as president of the Louisiana Division of the ASSCT.
His fellow agronomists marveled at his skill at being composed while anxious growers questioned him at field days. Oftentimes his answer to an unanswerable question was “Sugarcane is very resilient and very forgiving.”
Windell was dedicated to the sugarcane industry and one of the reasons the sugar business continues to be sustainable in south Louisiana. He was known for plainly relating his knowledge on variety development, agricultural technology and other research without using a bunch of scientific jargon. He kept himself apprised of all available sugarcane research and development and kept Louisiana’s sugarcane producers well informed. He was widely respected nationally and internationally throughout the entire sugarcane industry. He was always available to discuss fieldwork, research and ag techniques with veteran growers, hobby syrup makers and avid gardeners.
The American Sugar Cane League extends their sincerest condolences to Windell’s wife, Judy; daughter Wendy, and his four grandchildren, Caitlin, Gabrielle, Chandler, and Jackson, and extended family.
A memorial service will be conducted for Windell Ray Jackson, 74, on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at noon at David Funeral Home Chapel with Ken David officiating. Entombment will follow at Beau Pre Cemetery.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, from 10:00 AM until the time of service.