Friday, February 12

Zika Virus - What You Need to Know

Baton Rouge, La - You may be hearing a lot about the Zika virus on the news and its expansion in the Americas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to update the public with information on symptoms, prevention, and the latest cases of infections in the United States. Learn more by visiting

Thursday, February 11

SU/LSU Ag Center Partners with Lafayette Agencies to Offer FREE Financial Literacy Classes

Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center has partnered with the Lafayette Parish School System’s (LPSS) Adult Education Program and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System to provide free Financial Literacy Classes for the community.

The three part Lunch Hour Talks series, named ‘Money Matters: A Financial Literacy Class for Anyone!,” will be held from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Feb. 23, March 8, and March 15 in the Cafeteria Meeting Area at the LPSS LeRosen Campus, 516 East Pinhook Road in Lafayette, La.

Angell Jordan, SU Ag Center Assistant Area Agent for Acadia and Lafayette Parishes, will teach participants how to set financial goals, create a budget and spending plan, banking and much more.

Tickets are required to attend and can be obtained by visiting or by calling the LPSS Adult Education Program at 337.521.7266.


Southern University Ag Center Agent Participates in Job Shadow Day

Job shadow day participant Robert Jackson stands outside the St. Helena Parish Extension Office on Feb. 2, 2016.

Robert learns how to make a smoothie on the 'Smoothie Bike,' at the St. Helena Parish Extension Office.

Baton Rouge, La. – ‘Job Shadow Day’ is a full-day event to help middle school students gain exposure to the various careers that this world has to offer.  On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, Nicolette Gordon, Southern University Ag Center Assistant Area Agent, introduced Robert Jackson, a sixth grader at Westside Jr. High School, to the wonderful world of careers in Cooperative Extension.  Gordon provided a first-hand look at the personal skillset, knowledge and education Jackson would need in order to pursue a career in this field. Although this event is designed to partner youth with careers of interest, it is also used to gain exposure to those careers that are not necessarily familiar to them.

Jackson’s day started off in the office, and making a mail run.  While dropping a letter in the postal box, he was greeted by a prominent member in the Greensburg community.  “This is where he learned his first lesson about Cooperative Extension,” said Gordon. She quickly reminded him that being an area agent is solely dependent upon building good relationships within the community.

Gordon also discussed that Cooperative Extension requires being in the field, and created a grocery shopping assignment for Jackson that would require him to buy ingredients to make a smoothie. She explained that recruiting youth to live healthier lives is one of the primary focuses that the SU Ag Center spends a substantial amount of time promoting.  After completing the shopping assignment, she also allowed Jackson to try the Smoothie Bike.  This hands on approach was used to explain to Jackson how the Smoothie Bike is very essential in educating, and recruiting youth to live healthy.  At that very moment he decided that Cooperative Extension could potentially be a career, he said, “I like that you can ride your bike at work to make a smoothie.”

Gordon also gave him a tour of the St. Helena 4-H Goat Farm to see the Boer & Norwegian Goats that will be shown during the SU Ag Center’s 73rd Annual State Livestock Show in March.


Wednesday, February 10

Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives Educator Creates Community Wellness Program

Partnership with Anytime Fitness
Opelousas, LA – The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives (1209 Diesi St., Opelousas, LA 70570) is set to begin an exercise accountability program “Commit to Being Fit and Healthy” on March 14, 2016. Research has shown that individuals who are participating in group fitness tend to stay committed and active longer than individuals who attempt to start alone. Commit to Being Fit and Healthy is a holistic wellness program and will include both exercising and eating healthy.  In addition to this once-weekly program, “Anytime Fitness” of Opelousas has volunteered to become a wellness partner and offer participants and their families discounted membership, registration fees, and free guest passes.

“Upon meeting with Seth (Anytime Fitness, owner), he was so excited to be given the opportunity to give back to the community; we agreed that overall wellness is a vital part to living a healthy lifestyle”, said Krystle Washington. “When I first began to develop this program, my major goal was to locate a gym that would partner with me and help accomplish  the Southwest Center’s goal of decreasing obesity in adults and youth by increasing physical activity and  improving lifestyle choices; I hope the entire community comes out and takes control of their health,” said Washington. 

To view the news segment on Commit to Being Fit which aired on KATC-3, February 10, follow this link:

For questions or to register, please contact Krystle Washington at (337)943-2410 or

The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives is a satellite arm of the Southern University Ag Center, located in Opelousas to serve a ten-parish region of Southwest Louisiana.

Friday, February 5

SU Ag Center Administrators and Staff meet with the Director of the Southern Rural Development Center

Steven Turner, Director of the Southern Rural Development Center, (seated in the center) discusses Rural and Economic Development collaboration opportunities with SU Ag Center administrations, researchers and specialist during a Feb. 5 meeting at the Ag Center.

Baton Rouge, La. – Southern University Ag Center researchers, specialists and administrators held a meeting with Steven C. Turner, Director of the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), on Feb. 5 at the SU Ag Center. 

The meeting was held to discuss possible Rural and Economic Development collaborations between the SU Ag Center and the SRDC.

Turner, who previously served as head of the Mississippi State University (MSU) Department of Agricultural Economics, officially became the director of the SRDC on Jan. 1.

The SRDC, which is housed on the MSU campus in Starkville, Mississippi, is one of four regional centers coordinating rural development research and Extension education programs with land-grant institutions on both the regional and national level.

The SU Ag Center will continue to partner with the SRDC and other rural development organizations in an effort to strengthen the rural communities of Louisiana.


Thursday, February 4

SU/LSU Nutrition Agents receive a Walmart Foundation Grant & Hold Food Demo for Walmart Customers

Standing from left are, SU Ag Center Extension Specialist De'Shoin York, SU Ag Center Nutrition Agent Carol Sensley, Walmart Store Manager Tiffany Johnson, LSU AgCenter Nutrition Agent Shatonia McCarty and LSU AgCenter EFNEP Manager Sharman Charles.
From left, LSU AgCenter's Shatonia McCarty, Southern University Board Member Raymond Fondel and SU Ag Center's Carol Sensley pose for a photo during the grand opening of a Lake Charles Walmart Neighborhood Store on January 20, 2016.

Baton Rouge, La. – Calcasieu Parish Nutrition agents with the Southern University and LSU Ag Centers were presented with a Walmart Community Health and Wellness Initiative grant by the Walmart Foundation during the grand opening of a Lake Charles Walmart Neighborhood Store on January 20.

The award, which will be used to provide support to community outreach through the promotion of health and wellness among Lake Charles residents, was presented to Southern University Ag Center’s Carol Sensley and LSU AgCenter’s Shatonia McCarty for their work with the Creating, Healthy, Enjoyable Foods (C.H.E.F.) Cooking Camps.

Sensley, McCarty and several C.H.E.F. Camp participants provided food demonstrations and samples for the store’s customers during the event.  

SU Ag Center Extension Specialist De’Shoin York along with LSU Ag Center’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Manager Sharman Charles were present to support the efforts of the agents. 

SU Board of Supervisors member Raymond Fondel, Police Juror and City Administrator Elijah Guillory and retired SU Extension agent Donna Jones also stopped by and sampled the food prepared during the demonstration.

For additional information about the C.H.E.F. Cooking Camps, contact De’Shoin York at 225.771.2242.


SU Ag Center to Host 22nd Annual Black History Quiz Bowl

Quiz bowl display for 2015
Baton Rouge, La - The Southern University Ag Center will Host its 22nd Annual Black History Quiz Bowl in the SU Ag Center auditorium on Feb. 25th at 3:00 pm.  All students are eligible to participate. Teams (4 members each) must register by submitting a roster to by Friday, February 19. The roster may also include an alternate member.  Rules and study guide are available. For rules, follow this link -, and for study guide, click here -

Plaques will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams, and all participants will receive a book by or about some aspect of the Black experience. 

This event is organized by Owusu Bandele, Professor Emeritus. He can be reached at 225-284-0063 or for further information. 


Friday, January 29

SU Ag Center awarded $1.5 Million Community Development/ Disaster Recovery Grant

Baton Rouge, La – The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center has been awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant that will provide economic recovery and revitalization of communities that suffered damage as a result of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

The majority of the grant - $1,002, 149.03, which was funded by the Louisiana Division of Administration’s Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit, will provide dedicated funding for the purchase of a high tech, state of the art mobile education and technology unit that the Center will use to provide educational training, bring Interact access, hands on testing and live instruction to low-to-moderate income families residing in the most marginalized areas and remote corners of the state.

“The Southern University Ag Center is excited to help the citizens of Louisiana through this program,” said Southern University Ag Center interim Chancellor Adell Brown, Jr. “We will help small farmers re-establish their businesses as a result of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.  The funds will also allow the Center to retrain residents for new employment opportunities. These resources are critical in aiding the SU Ag Center’s continual dissemination of vital educational programs to those needing services the most.”

The program, named Enhancing Capacity of Louisiana’s Small Farms & Businesses, will provide four certification courses in the areas of: Small Ag Business Development; Small Ruminant Production; Food Safety and Sustainable Urban Agriculture to the residents of the 53 parishes declared as federal disaster areas after the storms.

According to the ‘Economic Impact of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike on Louisiana,’ report released by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, the financial impact of both storms was between $10 - $20 billion, affecting approximately 97,000 businesses and small farms.

Data from the LSU AgCenter estimates the losses to the Louisiana agricultural industries to be $1.1 billion in total impact and $5.32 billion in aggregate farm gate value.

“Recovering from the agricultural losses caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike has been particularly challenging for Louisiana’s small farmers,” said Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes.  “We are proud to have partnered with Southern University’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center to use disaster recovery funding to help these farmers, providing training that will improve their operations and make their small businesses successful far into the future.”

“The SU Ag Center will use the funding to expand and in some cases develop new educational programs to enhance the knowledge base of small farmers in communities impacted by the hurricanes,” said Dawn Mellion-Patin, project director of the program and Agricultural Specialist at the Center.

“These citizens have suffered so much and for so long. The Southern University Ag Center has a long withstanding tradition of working with marginalized audiences and this effort is a perfect complement to our current efforts while broadening our reach statewide,” added Patin.

With a report from the Louisiana Association of United Ways stating that 40 percent of Louisiana’s households either fall into the class of the working poor or are in poverty; this program hopes to open new avenues of delivery, instruction, production and markets through its various certification courses to end the economic struggles of the state’s poverty stricken parishes.

“This funding will allow the SU Ag Center’s researchers and specialists an opportunity to take research-based information into communities to citizens and address the needs as voiced by the underserved,” said Gina E. Eubanks, the Center’s Vice Chancellor for Extension.

Hurricane Gustav made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana on Sept. 1, 2008 as a category 2 storm with peak winds of over 90 miles per hour. Ike made landfall only 12 days later on Sept. 13, 2008, as a category 2 hurricane near Galveston, TX with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.

The aftermath of the storms caused the following parishes to be declared federal disaster areas:

Acadia Parish, Allen Parish, Ascension Parish, Assumption Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Beauregard Parish, Calcasieu Parish, Cameron Parish, Catahoula Parish, Concordia Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Carroll Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Evangeline Parish, Franklin Parish, Grant Parish, Iberia Parish, Iberville Parish, Jefferson Davis Parish, Jefferson Parish, La Salle Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Livingston Parish, Madison Parish, Morehouse Parish, Orleans Parish, Ouachita Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, Rapides Parish, Richland Parish, Sabine Parish, Saint Bernard Parish, Saint Charles Parish, Saint Helena Parish, Saint James Parish, Saint John the Baptist Parish, Saint Landry Parish, Saint Martin Parish, Saint Mary Parish, Saint Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Tensas Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Union Parish, Vermilion Parish, Vernon Parish, Washington Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, West Carroll Parish, West Feliciana Parish and Winn Parish.

“At the conclusion of this project, we expect that Louisiana's most marginalized small farmers and agricultural business owners will have the opportunity to increase incomes and expand their businesses and farms. Ultimately we expect Louisiana's small farmers and agricultural businesses to move from being at crisis levels to experiencing long-term sustainability,” said Patin.


SU System Celebrates its Fourth Anniversary as a 100% Tobacco-Free System

Southern University Ag Center’s CoC led charge to implement the tobacco-free policy
Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network (CoC), led the charge in Louisiana as the Southern University System became the first University System to establish a 100% Tobacco-Free Policy.  CoC, under the leadership of its director, Linda Early Brown, initiated this policy effort. 

The CoC is a statewide entity that educates communities of color about the dangers of tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and the availability of smoking cessation resources.  The network’s regional coordinators, Hendrix Broussard; Urina Holt; LaTonya Owens and Frankie Poland, continue to lead the way in this endeavor statewide through educational workshops. The program is funded via a grant with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living. 

In October 2012, CoC recommended the 100% Tobacco-Free Policy to the Southern University System (SUS) Board of Supervisors and it was approved with an effective date of January, 2013.  This was approximately a year prior to the state mandate that all Louisiana colleges and universities adopt a similar tobacco policy effective August 1, 2014.

According to the policy, the use of tobacco products on any Southern University campus is prohibited by students, staff, faculty or visitors in campus buildings, facilities, or property owned or leased by the Southern University System and outside areas of the campus where non-smokers cannot avoid exposure to smoke; on campus grounds, facilities, or vehicles that are the property of the campus; and at lectures, conferences, meeting, and social and cultural events held on school property or school grounds.  Further, the sale or free distribution of tobacco products, including merchandise on campus or at school events is prohibited.

The Communities of Color Network extends congratulations to all SU Ag Center employees and thanks them for their continued efforts in assisting with  the implementation of the 100% Tobacco-Free System Policy and encourages them to continue their efforts in making the System a place to live, learn, work,  and play where healthier air for all is the norm.  

SU Ag Center Scientist Publishes Article

Dr. Malekian
Baton Rouge, La. – Fatemeh Malekian, Southern University Ag Center professor of food and nutrition has published an article entitled "Nutritional Characteristics and Consumer Acceptability of Sausages with Different Combinations of Goat and Beef Meats," in the Functional Foods in Health and Disease Journal - Vol 6, No. 1, January 2016. You can find the article by following the link below:

Tuesday, January 26

SU Ag Center staff among the slate of expert presenters for the Southern SWAG Conference

Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – Southern University Ag Center staff members Mila Berhane, Stephanie Elwood and Owusu Bandele (retired professor emeritus) are listed among the conference presenters for the 25th annual conference of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SWAG), Inc.

The conference, themed Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms, will be held in Lexington, KY from Jan. 27-30, 2016.

Both Berhane and Elwood will make a joint presentation on “Getting Great Starts,” which will discuss the best systems for growing transplants in heated tunnels or greenhouses.

Berhane will also make a presentation on “Integrated Ecological Weed Management: Examples of Organic Farms in the South,” with experts from North Carolina and Georgia.

Bandele will present during the Friday Edition of ‘Voices From the Field: The Everyday Work.’ This special event will feature individuals whose everyday work contributes to remarkable progress in the areas of sustainable, organic and/or local food movement.

The Southern SWAG Conference provides practical tools and solutions for sustainable and organic farmers, as well as, creates more vibrant community food systems. The event is planning to draw more than 1,000 farmers and local food advocates from across the nation.

Its’ mission is to empower and inspire farmers, individuals, and communities in the South to create an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, and humane.

For additional information about the conference, visit

How to Manage Phytophthora Crown Rot on Southeast Louisiana Strawberries

Photo of a strawberry plant suffering from crown rot.

Baton Rouge, La. – Southern University Ag Center Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Ahmad Robertson, Sr., along with state plant pathologists Drs. Raj Singh, Melanie Ivey and LSU Ag Center vegetable specialist Dr. Kiki Fontenot, recently visited several strawberry farms in St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes to assist farming operations suffering from crown, root and stem rots this winter.

The specialist provided the farmers with an action plan with control recommendations for insect and disease management.

Last year Southeast Louisiana received 12 inches of rainfall in late October. This excessive soaking after rain showers and storms can ruin a plants’ roots, which in turn affects how plants grow.  Strawberries are among the most challenging horticultural crops to grow in the South due to high levels of soil borne pathogens, such as phytophthora.

When the soil becomes saturated with water, this pathogen can produce and release zoospores, which swim through water-filled pores to infect plant tissue. Infections can occur during cool to moderate temperatures, which are typical throughout Southeast Louisiana fruit and vegetable production cycles.

Symptoms of phytophthora usually begin in the upper part of the plant's crown and spread downward. The youngest leaves wilt suddenly and often turn a bluish green color. Wilting spreads quickly throughout the plant, and complete collapse occurs within days.  When infected plants are cut open, a brown discoloration can be seen in the crown's vascular tissue or throughout the crown's tissue.

Field Management:  
The pathogen can be controlled in production fields by using soil fumigation and good cultural practices. These practices include the use of certified transplants, avoiding poorly drained soils, and preparing fields to provide good soil drainage during wet weather. 

Soil Preparation:
Good surface drainage is absolutely necessary for a successful vegetable garden. Water standing in the garden for long periods of time is fatal to the growth of vegetables. Low and wet areas can be improved by adding eight inch layers of top soil (two-three yards of topsoil per 100 square feet) to raise the garden site. Also make sure to put in drains to carry water away from the garden and plant crops on high rows.  All vegetable crops in Louisiana should be grown on raised beds at least 10 inches high. High rows encourage good drainage, especially during times of heavy rains.

Cultural Control:
Use raised beds and carefully managed drip irrigation; plant in non-infested soils that have good drainage. Soil solarization has been shown to be effective for the control of soil borne pathogens and weeds. Solarization is a method of using the natural energy of the sun to sufficiently heat the soil to temperatures high enough to kill many soil pests. To use this method, a clear plastic tarp is used to cover the soil, trapping heat beneath it. Pests that may be killed during solarization includes nematodes, plant diseases, and weeds. Most nematodes are killed when the soil temperature goes above 118 degrees.  The hottest months, June, July, and August, are the best times for solarization. Adequate moisture should be present in the soil to irrigate it, if necessary before treating. If conditions are dry it’s advisable to run some type of irrigation or soaker hose under the plastic to water the soil during the course of the treatment. The plastic tarp should be left on the area for eight weeks.

Control Management:
Commercial farmers should use fungicides, such as Ridomil Gold SL or Aliette WDG, to manage crown rots.  Begin a fungicide application at the first sign of disease and repeat applications according to the product’s directions.

Maintaining good sanitation of planting beds, inspecting plants, handling plants carefully, using crop rotation and planting resistant cultivars are great practices for disease management.

For more information, contact Ahmad Robertson, Sr. in the Tangipahoa Parish Extension Office at 985.748.9381, or in the St. Helena Parish Extension Office at 225.222.4136.


Monday, January 25

SU Ag Center Helps to make the Vision Clearer at local High Schools in 2016

Vision board materials.

Kentwood High Magnet School O.M.G. Club members use visual materials to complete their individual vision boards, which represent their personal goals for 2016.

Kentwood, La. – On Wednesday, January 20th the Southern University Ag Center hosted a Vision Board Party for the Outstanding Mature Girlz (O.M.G.) Club at Kentwood High Magnet School.  There were 40 young ladies in attendance, anxiously waiting to create a visual of positive affirmations that reflected their personal goals for 2016.

Vision boards are visual representations of what an individual envisions for their life. Individuals are encourage to use personal photos or visual materials to define their year-long aspirations and goals. 

“I was really excited to see so many young ladies not only include college on their vision boards, but they were also cutting out magazine clippings that represented our beloved Southern University,” said SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, Nicolette Gordon.

After the club members completed their vision boards they were instructed to hang their boards in a place where they could view their dreams and aspirations daily. 

The next vision board party is scheduled to take place at St. Helena College & Career Academy in February.

For more information about the O.M.G. Club, contact Nicolette Gordon in the Tangipahoa Parish Extension Office at 985.748.9381, or in the St. Helena Parish Extension Office at 225.222.4136.

(Article written by Nicolette Gordon, Assistant Area Agent at the SU Ag Center.)


SU Ag Center Represented at 2015 PAWC Conference

Malekian, left, shares poster information with conference attendees

Cyrus, left, and Malekian make an oral presentation on human health

Cyrus and Malekian demonstrate smoothie preparation to conference attendees
Fatemeh Malekian, Professor, Nutrition Sciences and Kasundra Cyrus, Extension Specialist/Family and Human Development attended the 73rd Annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (PAWC) which was held on December 6-8, 2015 at the Kellogg Conference Center, Tuskegee University. The SU Ag Center participants made a PowerPoint presentation titled "Effect of Whey Protein/Resistant Starch on Body Weight" and a poster presentation in conjunction with shake/smoothie preparation demonstration.  

The conference was themed: “Beyond the Veil – Agriculture, Families and Communities of the Future: Local, National, and Global Perspectives"

The Professional Agricultural Workers Conference is a forum committed to a world that values and promotes equal opportunity equitable access to information and technology for sustainable development of communities and natural resources. The conference began in 1942 mainly with Tuskegee University and local and state support and participation. It is now national in scope including representatives from the national land grant community, and from the state, federal, and private sectors. The 2015 PAWC will be held in December 6th to 8th at the Kellogg Conference Center, Tuskegee University.


Louisiana Strawberry Growers Should Protect Their Berries from Freezing Temperatures

SU Ag Center Area Agent for St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes, Ahmad Robertson (pictured on the left in a black jacket), analyzes strawberries with Tangipahoa grower Frank Arnoe during a recent farm visit. 

Baton Rouge, La. – To have a rich strawberry harvest in the spring, the berries should be well protected against frost. With this season’s plunging overnight temperatures, it is important to consider implementing a freeze protection plan for your strawberry buds and blossoms.  

Temperature control is important during the winter and early spring when the flowers are susceptible to frost.  Tangipahoa growers aren’t taking any chances as they have an action plan of laying out row covers this winter. During recent farm visits with LSU Ag Center Specialists, Drs. Raj Singh and Kiki Fontenot, we learned how commercial vegetable producers such as the Liuazza’s, Faust’s, Mendez’s, Arnoe’s, Capace’s, and Holmes are protecting their crops and using integrated pest and disease management practices.

Strawberries are grown annually in Louisiana and have been an important horticulture crop for centuries. Both Tangipahoa and Livingston Parishes are traditional commercial production areas for the crop. These commercial growers started harvesting their berries in Mid-November. Production usually slows up during the winter and peaks again in March and April, just in time for the annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.

It is recommended that strawberry growers cover their plants whenever the temperature drops below 35 degrees. Currently, Louisiana commercial and home strawberry farmers should be protecting their green fruit and buds with row covers.  You may take the following steps to protect your plants from freezing: 
  • ·         Place row covers, made of light polypropene fabric, directly on top of the plants to protect the fruit and blooms from frost.  The heavier the cover, the more protection they will provide. The covers work by trapping heat during the day, which promotes plant development and earlier harvest.  The covers should be removed during the day when temperature rises above 40 degrees to allow pollination, pest control, and prevention of leaf scorch. 

  • ·         Black plastic and pine straw mulch are also great management practices that can be used on a farm operation.

  • ·         Also plan ahead to manage cold injury risk and obtain reliable weather forecast with necessary parameters.

During one of the farm visits, Tangipahoa growers Mr. Frank Arnoe and Guy Capace, reminisced about the how they used sprinklers in the late 80’s and mid 90’s to protect their crop and having to stay up all night to monitor their berries.
The practice of using sprinklers as a method of freeze protection is effective, but it must be used correctly. The idea is to slowly build ice over the plant or row covers during the period when temperatures are below freezing. As ice is formed some heat is released to the plant's surface and the surrounding air, due to fusion. 

To do this, sprinklers must be turned on before temperatures are at 34-35 degrees. Use low volume sprinklers to apply irrigation throughout the night to build an ice cover over the plants. 

The farmers said they were happy when row covers (what they referred to as new technology) was available to purchase and improved their production.

Below are some freeze terms and information on what can happen to plants if they are not protected.
Freeze Terms                                                                        What happens without protection?
Frost – temperatures around 30 to 32 degrees                          little or no damage

Light freeze – 28 to 30 degrees                                           light damage mostly to foliage

Hard freeze – mid-twenties                                                  kills more tender tropical plants,  substantial damage to others

Severe freeze – low twenties                                                major damage or death to virtually all tropical plants

Catastrophic freeze – teens                                                  death to most tropical plants

For additional information, contact the St. Helena or Tangipahoa Parish Extension Service Offices by calling (985) 748-5462, (225) 222-4136, or email

(Article written by Ahmad Robertson, Sr., Area Agent for St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes.)


Wednesday, January 20

Southern University Ag Center’s CoC Network attends the Baton Rouge “Breathe Free” 2016 Kick off Campaign

Pictured are partners of the 2016 Breathe Free campaign following the Breathe Free Press Conference on January 20 in the Galvez Plaza of Downtown Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge, La. – In partnership with local health agencies, the Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network Director, Linda Early Brown and Regional Coordinator, Frankie Poland participated in the Breathe Free Press Conference on Wednesday, January 20th, to announce the 2016 “Breathe Free” campaign. The event was held in Galvez Plaza in Downtown Baton Rouge.

The purpose of the press conference was to kick off the second annual “Breathe Free” campaign, which is designed to raise public awareness about the importance of providing tobacco-free environments for the entire community.  The 2016 campaign will run from January 20 through January 27, and will feature messages in hospital, clinics, on social media and throughout the city, including Southern University, to encourage Baton Rouge to “Breath Free.”