Former Louisiana Ag Commissioner Bob Odom passed away over the weekend at age 78. State officials and political leaders are paying tribute to his memory this week.

Current Ag Commissioner Mike Strain has released the following statement:

"Today, Louisiana lost a giant in the agricultural industry. Former Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Bob Odom began his agriculture service in 1960 as an employee of the department and was elected commissioner in 1979. There is something to be said for anyone who has dedicated most of their life to public service.

Most notably and early on in his tenure, Odom combined all aspects of the agricultural industry under one department, making it more modern and operating more efficiently, and making it a model for other states. Odom was also a past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) which helped bring the Louisiana agricultural industry to the national forefront."

Our thoughts and prayers are with Commissioner Odom’s loved ones."

Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson calls Odom a "fierce advocate" for the agriculture industry and family farmers.

Governor Bobby Jindal calls Odom a "champion for Louisiana agriculture." He's ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff until Friday.