Tuesday, July 28

SU Ag Center Scientist Interviewed by the Institute of Food Technologists

Dr. Malekian 
Baton Rouge, La - As a chair person for the Education and Extension Division at Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Professor Fatemeh Malekian, nutrition and food science at the SU Ag Center was interviewed by the IFT Student Association. The article entitled, “Science Meets Food” is available online at http://sciencemeetsfood.org/a-chat-withfatemeh-malekian-education-extension-outreach/

The IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo is the only annual event that brings together the brightest minds and the most respected food professionals from around the world in industry, government, and academia. Present at the meeting were trendsetters in product development, senior-level executives from the world’s top food companies, and department heads from leading universities. Participants gained technical and applied food science knowledge; connected with the who’s who in food science; discovered the latest global trends and the newest innovations; identified new suppliers and met with current ones, choosing from more than 1,000 exhibiting companies. This year’s IFT themed “Where Science Feeds Innovation,” was held July 11-14, 2015, in McCormick Place South Chicago, IL.

The Institute of Food Technologists is an organization with over 20,000 members. The IFT Student Association (IFTSA) is a forward-looking, student-governed community of IFT members.


BOLD Project Participants hold Teen Summit in St. Tammany Parish

From left, Rica Trigs, BOLD participant Leisha Cousin, SU Ag Center Extension Assistant Dana Isaac, BOLD participant JaLesia Cousin, Meagan Callier, Briana Wilson, and Kyra Turner pose for a photo after the Teen Summit on July 11 in Madisonville, LA. 

RolesModels of Hope co-founder JaLesia Cousin, standing far left in white, takes a photo with youth and speakers following the Teen Summit held on July 11 as part of the Building Opportunities through Leadership Development (BOLD) curriculum.

Baton Rouge, LA- Self-confidence, empowerment and knowing your self-worth were the resounding themes of the 2015 Teen Summit held at the Historic St. James Baptist Church in Madisonville, La. on July 11.

More than 40 teens attended the summit, which was co-sponsored by the church and RoleModels of Hope, a non-profit organization established to empower young women to make better life decisions through self-development trainings.

SU Ag Center’s Building Opportunities through Leadership Development (BOLD) Project participants JaLesia and Leisha Cousin are the co-founders of the RoleModels of Hope organization.

“BOLD has provided us with the skills needed to make the dream of starting a non-profit organization a reality,” said JaLesia Cousin. 

“The BOLD project has developed our leadership skills to enable us to positively impact the lives of both young women and young men in St. Tammany Parish,” said Leisha Cousin.

Southern University Ag Center Extension Assistant Dana Isaac attended the summit and was awed by the presentation.

“The Teen Summit was inspiring, heartfelt and uplifting. There were a number of speakers on the program; all of them did extremely well. The three that stood out the most were host, JaLesia Cousin, Rica Trigs and Meagan Callier. Their stories were powerful, insightful, useful to teens in high school as well as those entering their freshmen year in college,” said Isaac. “The teen summit was a blessing to me. I encourage the Cousins to continue their work with young people in the community. I was happy to be a part of their successful event,” she added.

The BOLD Project is an evaluative and technical assistance project designed to develop teams of emerging leaders who work together across racial, class and community boundaries in innovative ways to promote community and economic development in rural and under-served communities throughout Louisiana. The project was developed by SU Ag Center’s assistant specialist of community and economic development, Dr. Kenyetta Nelson-Smith.

BOLD participants are required to develop new community projects or enhance existing projects throughout the duration of the course.

The Project is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 session. Classes will begin on Saturday, October 17, 2015 for registered participants.  Interested candidates should submit an application form via email to kenyetta_smith@suagcenter.com or print and mail to: Building Opportunities through Leadership Development. P.O. Box 10010, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.

For additional information about the BOLD Project, visit http://suagbold.org/insidebold.html.

Monday, July 27

SU Ag Center Accepting BOLD Application for 2015-2016 Class Session

Baton Rouge, LA - The Building Opportunities through Leadership Development (BOLD) Project is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 session. Classes will begin on Saturday, October 17, 2015 for registered participants.  Interested candidates should submit application form via email to kenyetta_smith@suagcenter.com or print and mail to: Building Opportunities through Leadership Development. P.O. Box 10010, Baton Rouge, LA 70813. Applications are due by September 15.  More details are available at http://suagbold.org/insidebold.html

The purpose of the Building Opportunities through Leadership Development project, developed by the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center is to improve the leadership development capacity of rural and under-served communities throughout Louisiana. BOLD is an evaluative and technical assistance project designed to develop teams of emerging leaders who work together across racial, class and community boundaries in innovative ways to promote community and economic development. 

BOLD is a pilot project of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s Community and Economic Development Office to improve the leadership and economic development capacity of rural communities throughout Louisiana.
Through a combination of workshops and community projects, BOLD nurtures the ideas and focuses on the energy that is already present in the region. The project offers training and support to both emerging and established community leaders through sessions which topics include:
Leadership Introduction; Leadership; Team-building; Community Vision and change; Group/Organizational Leadership Skills; Community Assessment; Motivation; Communication; and Conflict Management.

Vision: to provide Louisiana residents with the tools and knowledge necessary to become stronger, equipped leaders in their communities.

Goals: Through extensive training, exercise, skill development, and individual and group activities, BOLD participants have the opportunity to effectively and efficiently develop leadership roles in their community through a logical approach. 
BOLD also enables individuals to apply learned leadership skills and principles to individuals and issues in the community, and develop teams of community residents who can work together to address community concerns.

For more information about BOLD contact Dr. Kenyetta Nelson-Smith, Project Director, at
225.771.5598 or kenyetta_smith@suagcenter.com

Wednesday, July 22

Southern University Ag Center and College of Business Team Up to Provide Business Development Training to Current and Future Small Business Owners in Ferriday

Pictured from left are, Beatrice Cummings, Dr. Ghirmay Ghebreyesus and Dr. Sung No, both from the SUBR College of Business, Town of Ferriday Alederman Elijah Banks, Eual Hall with the SU Ag Center and Ferriday Mayor Gene T. Allen. 
Members of the Southern University Ag Center and the College of Business held a meeting with Ferriday Mayor Gene T. Allen to introduce a 10-week business development training for small business owners.

Baton Rouge, LA- Eual Hall, Business Development Specialist in the Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the SU Ag Center, and Drs. Ghirmay Ghebreyesus and Sung Chul No from the SU College of Business held a meeting with the Town of Ferriday Mayor, Gene T. Allen and members of the town’s council on July 22 to introduce a small business development series.

The 10-week training series, called a small business track training, will focus on small business development, record keeping and Microsoft Excel.

These trainings are being proposed as a means to boost the economy of Ferriday and surrounding areas.

For additional information, contact Mr. Hall at 225.771.4105.


Tuesday, July 21

Southern University Ag Center Participates in 4-H National Conference in Washington, DC

L-r: Dr. Gina E. Eubanks, Dr. Adell Brown, and SU System President Belton pose with Louisiana youth participating in the 2015 Citizenship Washington Focus Program while visiting the US Congress in Washington, DC

L-r: SU Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension Eubanks, SU System President Belton, CWF Coordinator Franklin, Youth Specialist Wanda Burke and SU Ag Center Interim Chancellor  Brown pose with Louisiana  CWF youth in DC
Baton Rouge, LA - Tiffany Franklin, a 4-H state Citizenship Washington Focus Coordinator at the SU Ag Center accompanied a delegation of six youth to the 2015 CWF in Washington DC, July 12-18. Four of the youth represented East Baton Rouge Parish and two St. Landry Parish. The National 4-H youth who attend the CWF program are usually selected by 4-H state or county coordinators.

Citizenship Washington Focus is the premier 4-H national summer conference that gives 4-H youth the opportunity to explore, develop, and refine the civic engagement skills they need to be outstanding leaders in their community, country and world. Through sightseeing tours in Washington, D.C. and hands-on educational workshops, youth learn about the history of our nation and how they can apply their leadership and citizenship skills when they return home. Full details of the CWF are available online at www.4HCWF.org

Citizenship Washington Focus is a week-long 4-H citizenship program for youth ages 14-19. CWF provides opportunities for young people to: Strengthen communication, leadership and other citizenship skills on a national level; Understand the importance of civic and social responsibilities as they relate to the development of better citizens and leaders; Exchange ideas, practice respect and form friendships with other youth from diverse backgrounds. 

Franklin can be reached at 225-771-2242.


Southern University System Celebrates 125th Anniversary of the Signing of the Second Morrill Act With Other 1890 Land-Grant Universities in Washington, D. C.

Southern University System President/ Chancellor Dr. Ray Belton, standing second from far right, poses for a photo with the presidents of the 1890 Universities in Congress' Agriculture Committee Chamber. 

Southern University Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension Dr. Gina Eubanks, SU System President/ Chancellor Dr. Ray Belton, SU Ag Center 4-H Life Coordinator Tiffany Franklin, Director of the SU Ag Center's Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives and Youth Specialist Dr. Wanda Burke and SU Ag Center Interim Chancellor Dr. Adell Brown take a photo with the youth participating in the 4-H Citizenship Washington Project.

Individuals visit the Southern University Ag Center display during the 1890 University Exhibit on July 15 in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Baton Rouge, LA- Southern University System President/ Chancellor Ray Belton and several members of the SU Ag Center and Baton Rouge campus participated in the Capitol Hill celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Signing of the Second Morrill Act of 1890. This Act created land-grant universities for African-Americans.

The celebration, which was held in Washington, D. C. from July 14 – 16, 2015, provided an opportunity for the presidents of the 19 Historically Black land-grant universities to testify before congress on the accomplishments and importance of each institution. The universities also participated in an exhibit displaying their campus academic, research, and outreach program offerings.

The event concluded with a convocation in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Jefferson Building in the Library of Congress. Convocation speakers included U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, U.S. Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, and U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe.


Friday, July 10

SU Ag Center’s Carolyn Robinson Has Been Elected President of the State's Consumer Sciences Association

Carolyn Robinson, SU Ag Center's Associate Area Agent of Family and Consumer Sciences in East & West Carroll and Morehouse Parishes was elected President of the Louisiana Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science.

Baton Rouge, LA- Southern University Ag Center’s Carolyn Robinson, Associate Area Agent of Family and Consumer Sciences in East & West Carroll and Morehouse Parishes, has been elected President of the Louisiana Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (LEAFCS).

Robinson was installed as president-elect of the association during its Annual Convention held at Hotel Mazarin in New Orleans, May 4-6.

The LEAFCS is a Louisiana State University organization which empowers Extension educators to enhance their leadership skills, effect change, and focus on professional development. 

It is the Louisiana affiliate of the National Extension Associate of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS). Its mission is to educate and provide recognition to Extension professionals who positively impact the quality of life for individuals, families and communities where they live.

Robinson will serve a one-year term beginning in May 2016.

For additional information about the Louisiana Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, visit http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/administration/about_us/professional_organizations/leafcs/.


SU Ag Center Welcomes Youth from Newman Community Center to Model Garden tour

Youth tour group arrives in the garden

Youth learn about vegetables including squash
Baton Rouge, La - The Southern University Ag Center opened its door to summer campers from the Jewel Newman Community Center for a tour of the model garden on July 10, 2015.
Chaperons from the Community Center brought 21 youth enrolled in their summer camp, ages 5-13, for a visit to the Southern University Ag Center’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Demonstration Farm. The youth enjoyed the model garden with a show and tell tour presented by Zanetta Augustine, associate extension specialist.  An excited group of young boys and girls explored, touched and talked about vegetables, chickens, rain water tanks, composting bins and even trying their hands at planting seeds in the greenhouse, among other educational questions and discussions. They went home with a bag of informational goodies from the SU Ag Center.

The Jewel J. Newman Community Center functions as the focal point of social, medical and recreational activities for citizens in the North Baton Rouge area.

The Southern University Ag Center’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Demonstration Farm is a show-and-tell garden is for the public. This educational garden gives information on vegetable varieties, planting instruction, composting techniques, and other relevant information. Farm tours are available throughout the year.  

The garden is maintained and nurtured by Dawn Mellion-Patin, PhD, Extension Specialist, and Zanetta Augustine.  To schedule a tour, please contact Dawn Mellion-Patin or Zanetta Augustine at the SU Ag Center by calling 225-771-2242.


Tuesday, July 7

SU Ag Center Staff Provides Parents With Information on Second-Hand Smoke & Teen Stress Management

Dana Isaac, SU Ag Center Extension Assistant, receives a certificate of appreciate from Shatonda Chandler, Family Advocate of the Prescott Early Head Start, after making a presentation on the Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities (YOLO) Program on June 24, 2015.

Communities of Color Network Regional Coordinator, Frankie Poland receives a certificate of appreciate from Shatonda Chandler on June 24 after speaking to the school's parents about the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Baton Rouge, LA- Southern University Ag Center employees Frankie Poland and Dana Isaac made presentations during the Monthly Parent’s Meeting of the YWCA Prescott Early Head Start, 5262 Prescott Rd., on June 24, 2015.

Poland, who is the Regional Coordinator of the SU Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network, discussed the dangers of second-hand smoke and provided examples of how non-smokers come in contact with it; such as being in a room with someone who is smoking or in a vehicle. She also listed all the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes and explained how smoke can linger in carpets, drapes, clothing, hair and other items.

Isaac, who is an Extension Assistant for the SU Ag Center, made a presentation on the Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities (YOLO) Program, which helps young people make better choices; teaches parents stress triggers for youth; behaviors parents should be aware of and tips for teens on how to cope with stress.

The parents and staff that were in attendance were very engaged and asked many questions. They also received information on second hand smoke and tips on how to help teens cope with stress.

Both Poland and Isaac were presented with Certificates of Appreciation by the YMCA staff.

Frankie Poland can be contacted at 225.771.6237 for information on the Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network. Dana Isaac can be reached at, 225.771.3902 for information on the Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities Program.


Tuesday, June 30

SU Ag Center Bids Farewell to Inaugural Chancellor

Chancellor Williams admires his retirement cake

Williams flanked by Brown, left, and Eubanks at farewell celebration

Williams' retirement cake
Baton Rouge, La - The Southern University Ag Center’s first chancellor, Dr. Leodrey Williams says goodbye after 14 years of esteemed service.  June 30, 2015 marks the end of an era with Williams as SU Ag Center chancellor, part of his 50 years as outstanding figure in the Cooperative Extension arena at the national, state and local levels. During his tenure at the SU Ag Center, Williams was assisted by Adell Brown Jr., vice chancellor for research and Gina E. Eubanks, vice chancellor for extension.  On June 30, the SU Ag Center family gathered around the chancellor with a cake to offer him best wishes on his retirement. Effective July 1st, Dr. Brown will step up as Interim Chancellor of the Southern University Ag Center.


Friday, June 26

SU Ag Center to Collaborate on Morehouse Black Farmers’ Field Day

Baton Rouge, La - The Morehouse Parish Black Farmers’ Association and the Southern University and LSU Ag Centers will be hosting their 14th annual field day on July 24, 2015 at Mr. Harper Armstrong’s farm in Collinston, Louisiana starting at 7:30 a.m.

Every year, the event includes presentations and farm tours of highly successful farms.

For full details, please contact Odis Hills at (318) - 281-5741 or 318/ 281-5742.


SU Ag Center Concludes Record-breaking Family and Youth Expo

Youth in the SU Ag Center model garden

Youth learn about the harmful effects of tobacco use

12-year old Miracle Styles competes in public speaking 

Quiz bowl contest
Baton Rouge, La - The Southern University Ag Center’s annual Family and Youth Exposition successfully concluded on June 20 with an awards ceremony.  The culminating event for the 2015 youth development program activities statewide, brought nearly 600 youth together for a two-day educational, fun-filled experience. Each year, Southern University Ag Center specialists, agents, and researchers deliver a memorable program. This year was different in the number of participants topping the 500 mark with Avoyelles Parish leading with a record-high of 256 students.

This year’s Expo was themed "Discover the Reward of Educating & Advancing Minds." The youth made a strong connection with the agricultural sciences and beyond.

The youth competitions were outstanding. In the Quiz Bowl contest, Iberia Parish took first place in the junior category and Morehouse Parish came in first among the senior teams. The second place in the junior category went to East Baton Rouge Parish while St. Helena/Tangipahoa placed third. In the senior category, St. Landry Parish placed second and Calcasieu was third.

The Illustrated Talk and Public Speaking competitions centered on diverse topics and comprised of three categories respectively. In the ages 9-12 group, Isaiah Bonner of Caddo Parish took first place and Joseph Goodbear & Makhi Carnell of St. Martin Parish placed second. Among the 13-15 year old, Taylor Threats & Chardai Burks of West Carroll Parish placed first, Jasmine Owuamanam of St. Martin second, and Jordan Curry of Madison Parish third. In the 16-18 year category, the lone contestant, Seth Portier of St. Martin took first place.
Among the Public Speaking contestants, in the ages 9-12 category, Marqus Maitland of Desoto Parish took first place, Miracle Styles of Madison Parish, second and  Quinn Jean-Batiste of St. Martin third. In the 13-15 age group, Kayla Hawkins of Orleans Parish won first place, while Jon’Terrinee Lewis of St. Landry Parish, second and Amaiya Bickham also of St. Landry third. The 16-18 year old winners were first, Kanessia Crouthers of Madison Parish and second Aerial Anderson of Orleans Parish.  
Youth arrived on Thursday, June 18, got acquainted and enjoyed fun activities on the grounds of the Southern University Ag Center despite scattered showers. The next two days, they participated in educational seminars, workshops, illustrated talk, public speaking, and quiz bowl competitions. The event concluded on Saturday, June 14 with awards and recognition. 
Our retiring Chancellor Leodrey Williams was present for his final Youth & Family Expo and bid farewell to the youth with parting advice.  “Life is about helping somebody else better their lives,” said Dr. Williams.  He concluded with an expression of thanks to all.

Dr. Wanda Burke serves as Youth Development Specialist and Expo event chair. 

Thursday, June 18

SU Ag Center Chancellor Leodrey Williams to retire after working in Ag for half a century

Dr. Leodrey Williams, Chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center

Baton Rouge, LA- After 50 years of service in the century-long cooperative extension program, Chancellor Leodrey Williams, Ed. D of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will retire on June 30.

Dr. Williams grew up working on his family’s farm and said it was a way of life. “That was the only income we had. My father was a farmer and, at a very young age, I started plowing and cultivating the field. It was just work and going to school,” he added.

Williams was not formally introduced to agriculture until high school as a member of the New Farmers of America Program. His participation in the program’s quiz bowl contest allowed him to visit Southern University and reside in the dormitories while in high school.

After graduating, Williams enrolled at Southern University and originally planned to major in bacteriology. “It sounded good, but I don’t know anything about it,” he admitted.  After sharing his plans with his Vocational Ag instructor, the former teacher said, “Boy you don’t know anything about bacteriology, you’re going to major in Agriculture,” added Williams with a laugh. “So I majored in Vocational Agriculture.”

He never planned to use his degree to teach in a classroom, but wanted to work in Foreign Services. “I wanted to work internationally in developing countries,” said Williams. “That was my interest.”

However, things did not work out as planned. He ended up taking the ‘Peace Corp’ Exam during his senior year and was selected to go to a foreign country. He declined the offer to take a class he needed to graduate and asked to be reassigned later.

Just before his graduation, Williams was drafted to the Army. “I didn’t get a chance to go to the Peace Corp. After three years and a couple of months in the Army, that was enough Foreign Service for that time. I was ready to go to my professional job,” said Williams.

After turning home from the Army, Dr. Williams visited his former Ag teacher, Mr. Carolina Chapman, in search of work. Mr. Chapman told him the only position he knew of was as an assist county agent in Richland Parish. And based on the history of that parish and circumstances surrounding civil rights demonstrations, he would not recommend that job. Williams replied, “If a person has one bit of human in him, I’ll be able to get there and get along with him.”

In 1965, after being hired as the assistant county agent for work with Negros in Richland Parish, Dr. Williams began his professional career in Agriculture with Cooperative Extension. Six weeks later, the title was deemed illegal after the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Although Williams was assigned that specific title, he also worked with white farmers. “I worked with some (white farmers) who said I was the only person that worked with them. White agents had never worked with them,” said Williams.

In 1971, Southern University established its own extension office and hired Williams as an agricultural specialist, along with a small staff, to recruit and create programs. He later held quite a few positions at both Southern University and Louisiana State University. As a director, he served on several national committees and was appointed ombudsman of a national task force organized to ensure the “upward mobility of extension.” He would go on to become the national director of this task force and was in charge of funding for extension programs at 104 land-grant universities.

In 1995, Dr. Williams returned to Southern as the cooperative extension director, and in 2001, was asked to lead the newly formed Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, the fifth campus of the Southern University System. His planned was to work for two and a half years, but has held the position for 14 years. As Chancellor, his focus has been to move and grow the Center as an intricate part of the Southern University System.

 “With the shortage of resources in higher education, we have not been able to get the funding that has been appropriated for us,” said Williams. “I hope we will get to the point where funding appropriated for the Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center will be used for that purpose,” he added.

After retiring on June 30, he plans to volunteer for charitable organizations and hospitals. “Whatever I do, I plan to remain active,” said Williams.

The Southern University Ag Center will host a retirement celebration for Dr. Williams on June 18 at Boudreaux’s, 2647 Government Street in Baton Rouge. Funds generated from the event will support the Leodrey Williams Scholarship Fund.


This article was written by LaKeeshia Giddens and Donna Badon.

Wednesday, June 17

SU Ag Center set to host 300 youth during 2015 Family and Youth Expo

Baton Rouge, LA- Approximately 300 youth from throughout the state will converge onto the Southern University Ag Center for the 2015 Family and Youth Exposition from June 18-20 on the SU Ag Center and SU Baton Rouge campuses.

This year’s theme is “Dream: Discover the Rewards of Educating & Advancing Minds.”

During the expo, youth will compete in the following competitions:

·         Public speaking and illustrated talk - Friday, June 19 from 9 a.m. - noon in the Smith–Brown Student Union on the Southern University campus.
·         Quiz Bowl – Saturday, June 20 from 9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Smith-Brown Student Union.

The youth will also participate in interactive and educational seminars and workshops such as:

·         Hands on Smart Phone
·         The Art of Agriculture
·         “Keeping it Real” About Tobacco Use

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Donna Andrus will serve as the keynote speaker for the event. Andrus, known to many as “Dr. Truth” has been described as a consummate professional motivational speaker. He delivers uplifting and enriching messages to audiences of all ages, races, cultures, and religious denominations.

Andrus also has an extensive military background and has served in the United States Marine Corp, Army and Air Force. He earned an Associate, Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Education: Marriage and Family Therapy from Our Lady of Holy Cross College. He also holds a Doctor of Divinity and is a member of the National Speakers Association as well as the International Speaker’s Network. He has written a book entitled, “Man in the HOOD” offering his prescription for the recreation of the positive male image.

For additional information about the Southern University Ag Center’s Family and Youth Expo, contact Dr. Wanda Burke at 225.771.2242.