Friday, May 22

SU Ag Center to host C.H.E.F. Summer Cooking Camp for Youth

Camp Flyer

Registration Form

Baton Rouge, LA- The SU Ag Center, in collaboration with the LSU AgCenter, will sponsor a youth cooking school entitled, “Creating Healthy Enjoyable Foods” (C.H.E.F.), for youth ages 9-11 on July 13-17 and ages 12-14 on July 27-31.

The C.H.E.F. cooking school is designed to teach youth basic cooking principles and nutrition education based on the USDA’s, “MyPlate” food guidance system and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

Each day, participants will work together to create an entire meal while learning healthy eating and physical activity principles, food preparation, kitchen and food safety, common cooking terms, proper food handling, measuring techniques, critical thinking and team building skills, planning and time management.

“These camps are designed to teach children the basic principles of healthy eating,” said De’Shoin York Friendship, Associate Specialist for Nutrition at the SU Ag Center. “In many households the parents work and very often when kids get home from school they are home alone.  Instead of choosing fast foods or frozen prepared foods, which may be high in fat or sodium, our cooking camps teach youth how to safely prepare nutritious snacks and meals, many of which do not involve the use of a stove,” she added.

Both sessions will be held on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus in Pinkie E. Thrift Hall from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. To ensure the safety of all participants, only 12 youth will be accepted per session. Participants are required to bring a bag lunch and snack each day.

To register for the camps, parents must submit a completed register form with the $30 registration fee. This fee, which must be pay in the form of a money order, includes all materials, food and attire needed for the camp. Money orders should be made payable to the Southern University Ag Center and mailed to: C.H.E.F., Nutrition Education Program, Southern University Ag Center, P. O. Box 10010, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.

For additional information or to obtain a registration form, contact Kiyana Kelly or Marquetta Anderson-Reynolds at 225.389.3055 or via e-mail at, or


Tuesday, May 19

SU Ag Center Specialist Presents at Extension Risk Management Education Conference

Baton Rouge, La. Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., Extension Specialist, Agriculture, submitted a 30-minute presentation titled “Wisteria Alliance,” which was accepted for presentation at the 2015 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference in Minneapolis, MN from April 29 - 30, 2015. Her presentation was included in the conference proceedings, available at after the conference.
The Extension Risk Management Education National Conference brings together private and public sector educators, crop insurance agents, lenders, and other agricultural professionals. The biennial conference allows this diverse group to share ongoing and emerging successful risk management education efforts which target agricultural producers and their families.
Conference participants learn about what is working to help producers effectively manage the following types of risks associated with their agribusinesses: Production, Price or Market, Financial, Legal/Institutional, and Human Risk.

The Wisteria Alliance is a relatively new training series offered by the Southern University Ag Center, with the goal of providing practical, hands-on activities for women who live on farms, those interested in starting a farm, and /or urban / community gardeners. All of the trainings are designed for women, and are primarily conducted by women. During the training sessions, facilitators strive to create an atmosphere where women are comfortable asking questions, and learning different tasks normally reserved for men, in a warm nurturing environment.

Southwest Center to Hold Couponing Class in Opelousas

Baton Rouge, La – The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives, an outreach arm of the Southern University Ag Center, will hold a Couponing Class on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 1209 Diesi St., Opelousas, LA 70570, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This FREE workshop is entitled, “Couponing 101,” and the first in a series, which will ultimately teach participants the art of “extreme couponing.” Participants will learn how to purchase items at low cost or no cost. All participants are encouraged to bring a friend.

In today’s economy, learning how to save money is a very valuable and necessary skill. Couponing can save the average family thousands of dollars annually, and become a catalyst for financial independence. Families can use the money saved from coupons for trips, an emergency fund, savings account, home repairs, etc.

For questions or comments, please contact Krystle Washington at (337) 943-2410.

Southern University Ag Center Slated to Host Delta Dairy Goat Show

Previous show winner
Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center will host the Delta Dairy Goat Show from Saturday May 23, 9:00 AM - Sunday May 24, 2015 3:00 PM.  The Delta Dairy Goat Assoc. and Southern University will hold their annual dual ring dairy goat show Memorial Day weekend at the Edmund Maurice Arena in Baker, LA.  This is a chance to participate in 4 ADGA/AGS sanctioned shows in 2 days!!  There will be a buck show on Sunday for those who want to show the "other half of the herd"!!!  Visit the Association’s website for forms and more at

For further detail, contact Mrs. Christie Monroe at (225) 771-4350 or via email at

Monday, May 18

The SU Ag Center is set for its 2015 Family and Youth Exposition

Youth interact with staff in past Expo
Baton Rouge, La. - The SU Ag Center will hold its 2015 Family and Youth Exposition from June 18-20 in Baton Rouge.  This year’s theme is “Dream: Discover the Rewards of Educating & Advancing Minds.” The public speaking and illustrated talk competitions will be held on Friday, June 19 from 9:00 a.m. - Noon in the Smith –Brown Memorial Union on the Southern University campus. The guidelines and registration forms for the Public Speaking and Illustrated Talk Competitions are available online. You can either visit the SU Ag Center website and look at the June Events or click on this link to access and download the PDF files. 

Extension agents are advised that registration forms can be completed electronically and forwarded via email to or faxed to 225-771-2861.  For further detail, contact Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin via email or telephone at 225-771-3532.


Friday, May 15

SU Ag Center to Co-host LA SARE Baton Rouge Area Farm Tour

Baton Rouge, LA- The Southern University and LSU Ag Center’s will co-host a Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Baton Rouge Area Farm Tour from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.

The one day tour is being held to serve as an outreach activity for local sustainable farmers. Participants must provide their own transportation and drive themselves with a map to the participating farms. The tour will begin with Luckett Farm, followed by Louisiana Pride, then Yardbird Farms and end at the McKowen Farm.

To download the updated map with driving directions visit,  

After the tour, McKowen Farm and Slow Food Baton Rouge will sponsor a picnic featuring food from the farms visited during the tour. Individuals interested in attending the event are encouraged to donate $5 per person, bring their own libations, side dish items and a blanket.

SARE is a professional development program sponsored by the Southern University and LSU Ag Centers. The centers work together to implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana's Ag professionals through research and the implementation of science-based practices. The program’s educational initiatives include workshops, long-distance education training sessions, field trips, resource manuals and informational bulletins.

For more information about the tour or to volunteer, please contact Ann Savage at or Anna Claire Ferchaud at


Board of Supervisors Names Dr. Brown Interim Chancellor for SU Ag Center

Dr. Adell Brown, Jr.
Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Board of Supervisors has named Dr. Adell Brown Jr., as Interim Chancellor for the SU Ag Center effective July 1, 2015.  Prior to now, Brown served as Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and currently as Vice Chancellor for Research and Executive Vice-Chancellor.

Brown has over 42 years of experience in higher education and agriculture, with 39 of those years at Southern University.

He has held several positions within the SU Ag Center and the SU Baton Rouge (SUBR) campus. These positions included Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance in the College of Business; Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration at the SU Ag Center; Associate Specialist and Specialist/Extension Economist; Assistant Administrator and Specialist for Agriculture; Acting Administrator and Assistant County Agent for the Cooperative Extension Program at SUBR. He also served as Small Farm Coordinator for the College of Agriculture at SUBR.

Apart from of his employment with the Southern University System, Brown has been Vice President for Research, Planning, Community and Economic Development and Tenured Associate Professor in Business for the College of Business at Mississippi Valley State University;  Program Manager for the USDA’s Cooperative State Research Services Office of Small-Scale Agriculture in Washington D.C.; USDA Visiting Professor for Farmer Home Administration and  Research/Teaching Assistant for the Department of Agricultural Economics at Louisiana State University.

He is also the Immediate Past President/Chair of the 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Baton Rouge, a non-profit organization where African-American males assume roles of community leadership, responsibility, and guidance to enhance the lives of youth.

Brown earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from Northeast Louisiana University, a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Finance from the University of Southwest Louisiana and a Doctorate in Agricultural Economics with concentrations in Production Economics, Statistics and Management from Louisiana State University.


Wednesday, May 13

Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives Wraps up Spring Computer Training

Training participants celebrate with cake 
Baton Rouge, La. - Having fun and learning about computers can all happen at once, and the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives (SCRI) wrapped up its eight-week Spring Computer Training Program for adults on Wednesday, May 11, 2015. This class was targeted for adults 55+ from the community of St. Landry Parish and collaboration with Experience Works group on teaching topics that range from a basic Introduction to Computer, Microsoft Office, to Internet use. This mission of this program was to provide adults hands-on experience and education on computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom. The computer training program helped participants build their confidence when using computers in the library, at home, at work, or when looking for a job. There were 10 students who took advantage of these free classes and received certificates of completion for participating in this program. The computer class was well received by participants, and many are looking forward to the next computer session. This is one of several programs the SCRI offers to improve the socioeconomic well-being of citizens in rural communities within the a ten-parish region of Southwest Louisiana, and we want to continue to provide community programs that will address their scientific, technological, social, economic, and cultural needs.

The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives, located in Opelousas is an outreach arm of the Southern University Ag Center.

For more information about computer training program, contact Goldie C. Jordan at 337-943-2410 or email


SU Ag Center Announces St. Helena Agriculture Day Sustainable Farm Tour

Baton Rouge, La. - The Southern University and LSU Ag Centers alongside Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (S.A.R.E.) will host Agriculture Day Sustainable Farm Tour at  the St. Helena Multi-Purpose Facility at 31676 Hwy in 16 Amite, LA 70422 on June 15, 2015. The event will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will consist of commercial and consumer horticulture and beef cattle forages farm tours, a program for youth and adults. The tour will comprise of visits to six sustainable farming operations in St. Helena Parish.

To pre-register and for ADA accommodation, please contact Robertson R. Ahmad by June 5th. He can also be reached for additional information at,  or 985-748-9381 & 225-222-4136


SU Ag Center Collaborates on St. Helena Sheriff’s Office Garden Beautification Project

Front to Back: Ahmad R. Robertson, William LLOYD, Sam Banks, TriDarion Dehon, Jermil Myles, Scott Galmon, Jerqualin Singleton, Regina Hughes, Lameisha Pikes, Savannah Fisher, and Debra Dyson
Baton Rouge, La - On May 7, 2015, St. Helena Sheriffs received plants and materials from Bracy’s Nursery and Hammond Research Station to landscape their flower garden. Ahmad R. Robertson, Louisiana Master Gardner’s Frances Davidson, Betty Curry, and Ollie Fultz, St. Helena College & Career Horticulture Academy Mr. Terry Guy S.H.C.H. Ag Teacher, and St. Helena Parish Trustees architected a beautiful flower and herb garden. The team planted annuals, and perennials, herbs, roselle hibiscus and Louisiana Super Plants for beautification.

The students and trustees learned about planning, preparing soil, spacing, depth, and mulching.  The St. Helena Sheriff’s Office and staff will enjoy the colorful landscape created by the SU and LSU Ag Centers.  

“Increasing the understanding of agriculture is essential to today’s students so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies. The community surrounding your school deserves a beautiful and safe environment, and beautification projects may help encourage students and parents alike to participate actively in your school's social and academic life,” said Robertson.
The landscape beautification project is just another example of how closely the local government and local schools work together to create an aesthetically pleasing entry feature the community can be proud of, and a sense of pride and unity amongst local citizens. This project was led by Ahmad R. Robertson Agriculture & Natural Resource Agent St. Helena & Tangipahoa Parish and Sheriff Nathaniel Williams.

For more information, contact the St. Helena or Tangipahoa Extension Service at 305 E Oak St., Amite, call (985) 748-5462, (225) 222-4136, or email or 


Supply Chain Management Training Rescheduled for May 21

Baton Rouge, LAThe Supply Chain Management training which was set for May 14 has been rescheduled for May 21. The date change is due to a scheduling conflict with area high school graduations.

The free training, which is being hosted by the Southern University Ag Center, in conjunction with the Economic Development Administration University Center (EDAUC) in the College of Business (COB) at SU’s Baton Rouge campus, will be held at 6 p.m. in the LSU/SU Ag Center, 114 North Cedar Street in Tallulah.

Any small business owner who is involved in ordering supplies or merchandise from a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer is encouraged to attend the training.

Dr. Jose Noguera, Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing at the SU College of Business, will teach participants how managing their supply chain can reduce costs, increase market share and sales, and build solid customer relations.

This is one of several sessions in a series of trainings aimed at boosting the economy of Madison Parish and surrounding areas.

For additional information or to pre-register for the training, contact Mrs. Sarah Sims at 318.574.2465 or Dr. Sung No at 225.771.5954.


USDA Announces $30 Million Available for Producers to Develop New Products

Baton Rouge, La. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, recently announced that USDA is making $30 million available nationally to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

“Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put that creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation’s economy. This support is especially important for beginning farmers, military veterans engaging in farming and smaller farm operations participating in the local and regional food system.”

More information on how to apply is on page 26528 of the May 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through are due July 2.

VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects are given special priority in applying for VAPGs. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.

For more information on the VAPG program, visit
Before you apply: Request a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number if your organization doesn’t already have one. Register your organization with the System for Award Management (SAM) if you aren’t already registered. Remember, you’ll need your DUNS number to complete your registration. Also, make a note of your CAGE code and expiration date because you’ll need those for your application.
Additional requirements: You need to read the Federal Register notice for the details on what is needed for an application. You may also need to fill out required forms.  You can get copies of those forms from your nearest Rural Development Office.
For questions in Louisiana, visit or the State Office at 3727 Government Street, Alexandria, LA 71302 or call 318-473-7920 | 844-325-6950.

Tuesday, May 12

SU Ag Center Interacts with Guest from US Department of Agriculture

Mr. Tim Sheehan, USDA, addresses SU Ag Center group
L-r: Doze Butler, SUBR, Oscar Udoh, Adell Brown Jr., Fatemeh Malekian, and Renita Marshall interact with Sheehan
Baton Rouge, La – The Southern University Ag Center welcomed Tim Sheehan on May 12, 2015 for a brief tour and presentation. Mr. Sheehan, Senior Program Manager of the Borlaug Fellowship Programs was visiting from the United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Office of Capacity Building and Development, Trade and Scientific Exchanges Division to share information on the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program. Following his presentation to a handful of administrators, faculty and staff of the SU Ag Center and SUBR, Sheehan was led on a tour of the Center's research labs and facility.
The program is named after Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, Father of the Green Revolution. It helps developing and middle-income countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing scientific training and collaborative research opportunities for mid-career researchers, policymakers, and university faculty. The program matches participants with experts in their field at U.S. host institutions.

The program objectives are to build relationships to advance agricultural trade and capacity building through scientific exchanges and to help developing nations strengthen agricultural practices by providing scientific training and collaborative research.

The full detail of the program is available at


Monday, May 11

SU Ag Center Participates in National Extension and Research Administrative Officers Conference

Kim Butler, seated, roll-plays in leadership session by Linda Batiste, right
Oscar Udoh, left, teaches first time attendee Ervin Antoine how to navigate the conference
Angela Jackson, left, soaks up information at a session
SU Ag Center group gathers between sessions
Alice Dyson, right, samples California agricultural products
Baton Rouge, LA - The SU Ag Center was well represented at the National Extension and Research Administrative Officers Conference (NERAOC) held May 3-7, 2015 in San Diego, California. The conference was attended by more than 500 participants targeting administrative staff across the United States, its territories and the Islanders who work in areas such as evaluation, finance, grants, human resources, etc. This annual conference brings the officers of the United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) to the same table with Land-Grant institutions (1862, 1890, 1994, HIS, 2008), experiment stations, and territories to discuss important issues affecting agricultural research and extension.

The theme of the 2015 conference was “Golden Opportunities.” The United States Congress, after debating for about two years, finally passed the Farm Bill dubbed The Agriculture Act of 2014. This year’s conference included some sessions focused on the Farm Bill, the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. NERAOC provides an avenue for the USDA/NIFA experts to inform partners about new policies and procedures and how they may impact funding of several programs.

USDA/NIFA is stepping up its mandate for actual evaluation to show outcomes and impacts on funded projects/ activities. Information obtained is used to defend the USDA/ NIFA budget before Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. Linda Batiste, Director of Finance at the SU Ag Center, in collaboration with LSU Ag Center staff presented a session entitled “Leading from any Chair.”


USDA Announces Agriculture one of the Best Fields for new College Graduates

Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them

Baton Rouge, LA – On May 11, 2015, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor's degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.

"There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture," said Secretary Vilsack. "Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world's most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050." Read the full report online at

Other highlights of the report include:
  • Even as enrollments in these programs increase and the job market becomes somewhat more competitive, good employment opportunities for the next five years are expected.
  • Growth in job opportunities will be uneven. Employers in some areas will struggle to find enough graduates to fill jobs. In a few areas, employers will find an oversupply of job seekers. 
  • Expect to see a strong employment market for e-commerce managers and marketing agents, ecosystem managers, agricultural science and business educators, crop advisors, and pest control specialists.
  • Job opportunities in STEM areas are expected to grow. Expect the strongest job market for plant scientists, food scientists, sustainable biomaterials specialists, water resources scientists and engineers, precision agriculture specialists, and veterinarians.

The report, Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015-2020, is the eighth in a series of five-year projections initiated by USDA in 1980. The report was produced by Purdue University with grant support from NIFA.


Friday, May 8

SU Ag Center to Provide Roselle Hibiscus Workshop in Amite

Baton Rouge, LAThe Southern University and LSU Ag Centers will host a Roselle Hibiscus Workshop on May 21, 2015 in Tangipahoa Parish at the Extension Office, 305 East Oak St., Amite, LA 70422.  This free event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and topics will include disease management, health benefits, production, weed control, cooking and canning.

For ADA accommodation, pre-registration, or more information, please contact Ahmad R. Robertson at,  or call (985)-748-9381; (225)-222-4136.


Thursday, May 7

SU Provides Free Supply Chain Management Training to Madison Parish

Residents from surrounding parishes are welcome to attend

Baton Rouge, LAThe Southern University Ag Center, in conjunction with the Economic Development Administration University Center (EDAUC) in the College of Business at SU’s Baton Rouge campus, will hold a free Supply Chain Management Training.

The free training will be held at 6 p.m., May 14 in the LSU/SU Ag Center, 114 North Cedar Street in Tallulah.

Any small business owner who is involved in ordering supplies or merchandise from a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer is encouraged to attend the training.

Dr. Jose Noguera, Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing at the SU College of Business, will teach participants how managing their supply chain can reduce costs, increase market share and sales, and build solid customer relations.

This is one of several sessions in a series of trainings aimed at boosting the economy of Madison Parish and surrounding areas.

For additional information or to pre-register for the training, contact Mrs. Sarah Sims at 318.574.2465 or Dr. Sung No at 225.771.5954.

Wednesday, May 6

2015’s Braud Cattle Farm Field Day Draws a Crowd of More Than 200

Dr. Gary Hay from the LSU AgCenter discusses Body Condition Scoring with field day attendees.

Dr. Ron Strahan, an LSU weed scientist, teaches participants how to improve the condition of a pasture.

Event was co-hosted by Southern University and LSU Ag Center’s

Amite, LA- Over 200 ranchers, farmers, families and Tangipahoa Master Gardeners attended the 2015 Braud Cattle Farm Field Day on Saturday, May 2 in Amite, La. at the Braud Cattle Ranch.

The event, which was presented by Mr. Malcolm Braud, Southern University and Louisiana State University Ag Centers, provided individuals involved in the beef cattle industry with information on everything from cattle handling to land management techniques.

Activities began with a welcome and introduction by SU Ag Center Agriculture & Natural Resource Agent for St. Helena & Tangipahoa Parishes, Ahmad R. Robertson. Followed by a series of sessions on the following topics:
  • ·         Body Condition Scoring, presented by Dr. Gary Hay, Professor and Extension Specialist of Dairy Science at the LSU AgCenter.
  • ·         Pasture Improvement & Management, presented by Dr. Ron Strahan, Associate Professor at the LSU College of Agriculture’s School of Plant, Environmental & Soil Sciences.
  • ·         Herd Health Programs Prevention vs. Treatment and Beef Cattle Herd Management Practices Surveys, both presented by Ahmad R. Robertson.

The afternoon session focused on castration, feeder cattle, new animal health products and regulations.

Producers left the field day with information that will help them become prepared for the current market, enable them to build their own cow herds, and better manage their pastures.

“If you follow the cattle market at all, you’ll know that cattle prices are at historical highs. This market price increase has certainly been reflected in the meat counter at your grocery store,” said Robertson. “St. Helena & Tangipahoa beef cattle producers who are enjoying the increase in prices are also facing those same high prices when purchasing cattle to expand their herds,” he added.


Monday, May 4

SU Ag Center holds School Garden Graduation Program For Area Students

Dr. Adell Brown, Executive Vice Center and Vice Chancellor for Research at the SU Ag Center, speaks to students on April 29 during the School Garden Graduation Program.

Students listening to the keynote speaker during the ceremony.

Essay and video contest stipend winners pose with Vice Chancellor for Extension, Dr. Gina Eubanks (standing far left on the second row); Assistant Extension Specialist, Stephanie Elwood (standing far left on the front row) and School-Based Gardening Projects Coordinator, Tiffany Franklin (standing far right on the second row).

Baton Rouge, La. – More than 75 students received certificates of completion for participating in the Southern University Ag Center’s School Garden Program.

Students from Southern University Laboratory School, Scotlandville Magnet High School and Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Middle Academy, were honored during a graduation ceremony held at the SU Ag Center on April 29.

The yearlong United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) program, titled “Eradicating Food Deserts Through School Gardens,” taught students basic, transferable gardening techniques from the SU Ag Center's self-produced curriculum.

Carolyn Hill, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) District 8 Representative, served as keynote speaker for the event. She encouraged graduates to use what they’re learned from the program to help them grow in life.

Ten students were also awarded $100 stipends for participating in an essay and video contest. Students were required to complete a written or video essay demonstrating “The effect of fast food on your health: Good or Bad.” Additionally, the students had to actively participate in at least 34 hours of the SU Ag Center’s Eradicating Food Deserts indoor classroom and outdoor garden lessons to be eligible to enter the contest.

For more information about the SU Ag Center’s School Gardening Program, contact Tiffany Franklin or Stephanie Elwood at 225-771-2242.