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Saturday, August 18, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Dr. Michael E. Salassi
Professor, LSU Agricultural Center

Michael Salassi is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in the LSU Agricultural Center, serving since 1994.

He has a 10% teaching appointment with the LSU A&M campus, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in quantitative business decision analysis. The remaining 90% of his academic appointment is with the LSU Agricultural Center where he conducts research and extension activities in crop production economics and farm business management.

He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Louisiana State University and his doctorate in Agricultural Economics from Mississippi State University. Prior to returning to LSU, Dr. Salassi worked with USDA’s Economic Research Service in Washington, D.C.

His research focuses specifically on the economics of rice and sugar production in Louisiana. He has worked closely with various sectors of those industries in evaluating the economic impacts of issues relating to farm management, crop production and marketing, environmental regulations, commodity market structure and performance, and domestic farm policy. In addition, he is also involved in evaluating the economic feasibility of utilizing alternative feedstocks to produce ethanol and other biofuels in Louisiana.

His many awards include the LSU AgCenter Nelson Fairbanks Endowed Professorship and the Administrator’s Honor Award from USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Salassi is married to Brenda Salassi, who serves as the Coordinator of the Law Clinic within the LSU Law School. They have a daughter Lauren, who is majoring in Business at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, and a son Preston, who will be a senior at Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

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     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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