Louisiana Forestry Association Executive Director Charles A. “Buck” Vandersteen is one of three 2017 inductees into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. The HOD is produced by the Louisiana Radio Network in cooperation with the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation.
Vandersteen joins a field of 12 men in the past four years recognized to “have made an extraordinary contribution to agri-business in the state of Louisiana.”
Vandersteen, who has been executive director for the LFA since 1982, said he is “appreciative and humbled” to be included among 2017 inductees, adding it wasn’t his efforts alone to achieve the honor.
“I know full well that it took many friends, colleagues, family and community to reach this point in my career,” Vandersteen said. “Joining such a distinctive group of agriculture and forestry leaders is an honor that I take very respectfully.”
Brian Chandler, LSU AgCenter area extension forester, who nominated Vandersteen, noted the LFA leader’s role in passage of the Forest Productivity Program, creation of the Louisiana Logging Council and forest certification programs in his nomination submission.
“He’s well-respected in the forest industry and forestry around the state,” Chandler said. “Everything he’s done for forestry has been for the promotion of the sustainability of forests and for the benefit of the forest products industry.”
A letter of recommendation from Dr. Paul Coreil, former vice chancellor and director of the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, cited Vandersteen’s leadership as one of two LSU AgCenter delegates in the national grassroots organization the Council for Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) as a quality deserving recognition in the Agriculture Hall of Distinction.
“In my experience working directly with Buck during my tenure as LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and Extension Service director, I learned quickly that Buck is first, a gentleman, but he is also a team player, strong leader and will not give up until a job is completed,” according to Coreil’s letter.
Janet Tompkins, retired editor of Forests & People and media coordinator for LFA, said Vandersteen fostered a strong spirit of cooperation between the public and private entities that make up the forestry industry.
“That has helped advance so many programs,” Tompkins said. “He is the face of forestry to so many people around the country.”
Vandersteen, a professional forester and tree farmer, received his Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Louisiana Tech University.
He said he will continue efforts to encourage and support men and women in the field of forestry, logging and manufacturing; to seek and support markets for forest products, while supporting traditional markets as well as looking for opportunities in new products. Included in those duties is to seek policy and incentives that encourage more private investment in forest land ownership and logging business.
“Having Louisiana recognized nationally and internationally as a premier place to do forestry business and in practicing great forestry also is what I look to the future,” Vandersteen said, “to ensure that forestry remains a vital part of the economic and environmental strengths of Louisiana.”