Lowndes student wins national ag title - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes student wins national ag title

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November 8, 2004

Valdosta - Paul Ruddle has spent many long hours in this greenhouse. "Probably about four years of work, and over 600 hours," said Ruddle.

He's been searching for the answer to one important question. "What are the advantages and disadvantages of genetically altered plants?" said Ruddle.

After lots of testing, and growing countless varieties, he finally found what he was looking for. "The genetic engineering doesn't affect the rate of photosynthesis and is not creating a negative side effect," said Ruddle.

Paul's research shows that genetically altering plants, like roundup ready cotton, can be a good thing. "Then a farmer can spray the herbicide on top of the round up ready plant, so the herbicide kills the week but doesn't affect the plant," said Ruddle.

Paul's project may sound complex, but his goal is actually pretty simple. He's hoping to save farmers money and help them grow higher yields. "And since the farmers have greater crop yields it results in overall lower prices for the consumers," said Ruddle.

Winning National Agriscience Student of the Year will be Paul's last FFA accomplishment. Soon he'll be heading off the college. "I plan to major in plant genetics at either UGA or Cornell University and continue on to get a Doctorate of philosophy in Plant Biology," said Ruddle.

And he's already won about $7,000 in scholarships to get him started on the road to success.

Paul is a senior at Lowndes High School. He was up against almost 500,000 FFA members nationwide.

posted at 3:10 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com