Tuesday, January 17

SU Ag Center Clients receive Young Ag and Outstanding Ag Producer Awards during Ag Expo Luncheon

Pictured from left during the Ag Expo's agricultural awards and legislative appreciation luncheon are, SU Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, State Representative Katrina Jackson, Crystal Johnson, Ag Expo Young Agricultural Producer Award recipient Nik Morris, Debra Sensley, Spencer Sensley, Skyler Sensley, Ag Expo and State Legislator Outstanding Producer Award recipient Willie Sensley, SU Ag Center Area Agent Odis Hill and State Senator Mike Walsworth. 

Baton Rouge, LA – Nik Morris and Willie Sensley, both clients of the SU Ag Center, received recognition during the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council and University of Louisiana at Monroe’s College of Business and Social Sciences Agricultural Awards and Legislative Appreciation Luncheon.

The luncheon, which is one of several events held during the annual expo, took place at the West Monroe Convention Center in Monroe, La. on Friday, January 13. It honors legislators and regional leaders in agricultural production, service and business.

Morris was presented with the Young Agricultural Producer Award by State Representative Katrina Jackson. State Senator Mike Walsworth presented Sensley with the Outstanding Agricultural Producer Award, along with an Outstanding Producer Award from the State Legislature.

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture, Mike Strain, D.V. M., served as keynote speaker for the luncheon.

The North Louisiana Agri-Business Council is a not-for-profit corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its mission is to provide education across all demographics regarding agriculture’s contributions to the basic needs of food and fiber, and economic welfare.

For additional information about the Council or its Ag Expo, visit agexpo.org.


Tuesday, January 10

SU Ag Center Clients to Present at National Conference

Edith Gross, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain and Alfred Gorss

Baton Rouge, LA – Edith and Alfred Gross from St. Helena Parish are among producers traveling to Lexington, KY for the annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) conference, January 25-28.

They are serving as presenters at this year’s conference on the topic of “Intensive Cattle Grazing on a Small Scale.” This retired couple talks about making a profit on a 25-acre, 12-cow herd.

The Grosses have owned and managed Two G Ranch, a 25-acre Black Angus ranch, since 2007. They were seeking higher ground from weather like Hurricane Katrina. Alfred became sold on the rotational grazing strategy after traveling with the Southern University Agricultural Extension Center to a training featuring Dr. Ann Wells (2017 presenter). Thereafter, Alfred participated in an SU 18-month Agriculture Leadership Institute and numerous workshops and seminars (including three SSAWG Conferences) on fencing, grass management, animal health, and marketing strategies. After retirement, Edith participated in a six-month SU Agriculture Leadership Institute. She has led sessions on recordkeeping and farming as a small business. By using a combination of marketing techniques—private sales and stockyards—they have developed a profit-making operation. Alfred and Edith are active members in the local cattle group, St. Helena Cattle Company, and Louisiana Ranchers and Farmers Association. Because they are late starters in the farming community, they welcome the opportunity to share their story with others who have shared goals.

About Southern SAWG

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, commonly known as Southern SAWG, was founded in 1991 to foster a movement towards a more sustainable farming and food system – one that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane. It functions as a regional entity, working with and through hundreds of associated organizations across 13 southern states. By building partnerships, sharing information and conducting analysis, it transforms isolated ideas and innovations into practical tools and approaches for widespread use.

 Click here to read more about SAWG

Thursday, January 5

SU Ag Center and SU System Foundation Held an Initiation Meeting with RFP Developers

In advancing the Medical Marijuana Program the Southern University Ag Center and the Southern University System Foundation held an initiation meeting on Jan. 5 with the Marijuana Policy Group and the Denver Relief Consulting, who have been contracted as RFP developers for the operation.

Potential vendors should register at http://www.suagcenter.com/cannabis.


New Orleans Pelican Organization Provides 30 tickets to Tangipahoa Youth for the Pelicans Game

Kentwood After-School and Summer Enrichment Program (KASEP) campers anxiously watch the New Orleans Pelicans take on the LA Clippers on Dec. 28, 2016.

Baton Rouge, LA – Thirty participants from Kentwood After-School and Summer Enrichment Program (KASEP) were recipients of one free game ticket to the Pelicans vs. Clippers game on December 28, 2016.  This initiative is a collaborative effort spearheaded by KASEP Program Director, Eric Brumfield; Political Leader, Derrick Edwards; and SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, Nicolette Gordon. 

Youth along with volunteers that have worked with the program throughout the summer were able to enjoy, one more day of free time before returning back to their regularly scheduled programs for the next semester.  Many youth anxiously watched as the Pelicans went on to beat the LA Clippers with 1.4 seconds left on the clock in a very close game.  

“Going into the New Year, we’re going to make sure every child that participates in our program gets a chance to experience an NBA game,” said Eric Brumfield.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, or community partnerships with the Kentwood After-School and Summer Enrichment Program, please contact Nicolette Gordon via email at nicolette_gordon@suagcenter.com or in the Tangipahoa Parish Extension Office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 985.748.9381. 

Tuesday, January 3

SU Ag Center to partner with the Water Institute

During the year, The Water Institute will work with various partners on the restoration project, including Southern University Agricultural Center, Forum 35, the LSU AgCenter,  and the state's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Read more in the Advocate.


Friday, December 16

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the SU Land-Grant Campus

SU Ag Center now accepting meat pre-sales for Annual Livestock Show

Baton Rouge, La – The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will host its’ 74th Annual State Livestock & Poultry Show on March 2 - 4, 2017 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena, Hwy. 61 North, in Baton Rouge, LA.

The Livestock Show Office is currently accepting pre-orders for non-processed choice meats from various livestock. All proceeds from meat sales go directly to participating youth as a reward for their hard work and financial investment. The following meat choices and quantities are now available for pre-order:

·         Whole beef $2,000
·         Half beef $1,000
·         Fourth beef $500
·         Whole pork $225
·         Whole lamb $200
·         Whole goat is $175
Those who don’t pre-order their meat are invited to do so during the show’s ‘Junior Auction Sale’ on Saturday, March 4 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The office will deliver the meat to two locations, either the Cutrer Slaughter House in Kentwood (985) 229-2478 or Rouchers in Plaquemine (225) 687-4258.   

There is a processing fee that is not included in the original cost of the meat. All purchases must be paid by money order or check and made payable to the Southern University Ag Center Livestock Show, prior to picking up the meat from the slaughter house.

Donations to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank are also welcome.

Southern University has held an annual Livestock Show since 1943 and has continued the tradition of providing an opportunity for the state’s youth to showcase their animals, gain entrepreneurship skills and receive character and leadership training.

For more information on the SU Ag Center’s Livestock Show, how to participate in the show or how to purchase meat; visit http://www.suagcenter.com/livestock-programs or contact the Livestock Show Office at 225.771.5270 or 225.771.6208.


Wednesday, December 14

SU Land-grant Campus participates in joint Ag Center Annual Conference

Chancellor-Dean Phills addresses annual conference audience with updates from the SU Land-grant Campus
Baton Rouge, La. – Chancellor-Dean Bobby R. Phills presented updates on the Southern University Land-gran Campus during the joint annual conference hosted by the LSU AgCenter, December 13-14. In his address, Dr. Phills emphasized partnership across the three arms of the land-grant units – teaching, research and outreach between the two agricultural centers in all program area. 
In his updates from the LSU AgCenter, Vice President and Dean Bill Richardson stressed the importance of using available resources to provide quality programs in Louisiana despite the on-going budget cuts.
Both administrators focused on moving the agricultural centers in Louisiana to a better place.

Monday, December 12

Southern University Ag Center is Nutritionally Yours!

Stephanie M. Elwood, center, interacting with students at Bridge Academy as they start their fall gardens in Kindergarten and 1st Grade classes
Baton Rouge, La. - The Southern University Land-Grant Campus is Nutritionally YoursNutritionally Yours encompasses the Land-Grant Campus’s signature Extension nutrition programs and serves 13 parishes in the state. Our signature nutrition programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed), the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP), Creating Healthy Enjoyable Foods (C.H.E.F) Camp & Growing Healthy Initiative. Our Nutritionally Yours programs provide direct and indirect education to the citizens of Louisiana using a policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) approach. The policy, systems and environmental change approach goes beyond programming into the systems that create the structures in which our program clientele live, work and play.

Nutritionally Yours intends to do just that through our Growing Healthy Initiative. The planting of vegetable gardens, fruit trees, berry bushes, classroom container gardens, are all used to help increase nutrition knowledge and encourage behavioral change amongst our clientele. The Growing Healthy Initiative provides hands-on nutrition education, fresh foods access and sustainable environment in our Nutritionally Yours sites.  The initiative is implemented by our Family and Consumer Science Agents and SNAP-Ed, EFNEP Nutrition Educators.

As part of the Growing Healthy Initiative, Stephanie M. Elwood, Extension Associate, and Kiyana E. Kelly, East Baton Rouge Nutrition Educator, started fall gardens for 125 students in two classes at Bridge Academy in Baton Rouge. Vegetables like Arugula, Bok Choy, Cabbage and Mustard Greens were planted in the gardens on December 5. 

Our nutrition education programming aims to educate the citizens of Louisiana about the positive benefits of making healthy nutritional choices, expanding their food dollar, and preparing food safely.

For more information about the Nutritionally Yours programs, contact us at 225-771-2242 or ellen_mcknight@suagcenter.com.

Thursday, December 1

Southern University Ag Students Sponsored Clothing Bank huge Success

Ms. Stewart shopping during the clothing bank event in the Southern Niche Boutique on SU Baton Rouge campus
Baton Rouge, La - The clothing bank event took place on Thursday, December 1, from 9:00 a.m.-12 Noon in the student-run retail boutique-laboratory, Southern Niche in Pinkie Thrift Hall.  Members of the community turned out for the student-sponsored event hosted for individuals affected by the recent flood in Baton Rouge. Flood victims were able to select clothing, shoes, and other accessories at no cost, with assistance from Jasmine Guillory, MBA graduate student who was excited to help in coordinating the event.

“I believe this was an amazing event, and I am so happy I was able to be a part of such an occasion,” said Guillory.

One beneficiary of the clothing bank, Brandy Steward is a two-month employee of the Mayberry Dining Hall on Southern’s campus.  This mother of five young children expressed her gratitude for the clothing bank which she learned about through the Digest publication. 

“I’m happy they did this. I lost everything in the flood. I think it is great that you are doing this because I missed the first time they did it. This is wonderful,” said Stewart.

Dr. Doze Butler, Associate Dean for the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences serves as lecturer for FCSC 497, Sustainably in Design, Apparel Merchandising and Textiles in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, as well as Project Director of the Southern Niche Retail Boutique-laboratory.


Wednesday, November 30

SU Ag Center to host Pedal 2 Keep the Promise in Greensburg, La.


Baton Rouge, LA – The SU Ag Center will host ‘PEDAL 2 KEEP THE PROMISE!’ a National Campaign to promote keeping the promise to having a healthy body, mind & spirit!

The ride will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2016, beginning at 5 p.m. behind the St. Helena College & Career Academy and continuing through the Town of Greensburg!

Participants can ride their own bike or rent a lighted bike for $15.

For more information, contact Nicolette Gordon at 225-222-4910.


Monday, November 28

Southern University Ag Students to Sponsor Clothing Bank for flood victims

Baton Rouge, La - Students in FCSC 497, Sustainably in Design, Apparel Merchandising and Textiles in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences will host a clothing bank for individuals affected by the recent flood in Baton Rouge.

For this event to be successful, we need YOU to donate new or very gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories appropriate for students, faculty, and staff. Please deliver contributions to Room 102 in Fisher Hall on Monday and Tuesday, November 28 & 29, 2016

The clothing bank event will take place on Thursday, December 1, 2016, from 9:00 a.m.-12 Noon in the student-run retail boutique-laboratory, Southern Niche-Pinkie Thrift Hall, Room 155.  Individuals who were affected by the flooding will be able to select clothing, shoes, and other accessories at NO COST.

For more information, please contact Ms. Jasmine Guillory at (225) 771-3660. Thank you!


SU Ag Center offers free ServSafe Certification for individuals in the food industry

Baton Rouge, LA – Foodborne illnesses caused by over 30 major pathogens are estimated to affect approximately 9 million people in the United States every year. Educating the public about following proper food safety practices are crucial. Food safety is a critical necessity for any dining and serving food experiences.

For this reason, the Southern University Ag Center will held a free ServSafe certification program for individuals who are currently in the food service industry or those interested in opening a food business in the future.

The certification program will be held on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in room 138 of A. O. Williams Hall – SU Ag Center Building, 181 B. A. Little Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. The program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Conference for Food Protection. The SU Ag Center offers the food safety (ServSafe) certification program to the public free of charge.

To attend the class, participants must purchase the ServSafe Manager Book 6th edition, English (ESX6R) and the exam answer sheets, English only (SSEAS). 

The book and answer sheets can be purchased at the Barnes and Nobel’s located at 2 Union Square, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 (on the LSU campus) or online at www.servsafe.com for $70.30 and $38.00, respectively, plus shipping and handling.

For more information or to register for upcoming classes, contact Fatemeh Malekian at 225-771-0251.


Wednesday, November 23

Outstanding Mature Girlz Club Elect Officers at St. Helena College & Career Academy

Shy'Janae' giving her speech for president during the OMG Club election on Nov. 7. Photo by Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center Assistant Area Agent.

Baton Rouge, LA – Just less than twenty-four hours before all of America would cast their votes for the 45th Presidents of the United States, the members of the Outstanding Mature Girlz (O.M.G.) Club made their way to the polls.  Candidate hopefuls gave brief speeches to their peers, in hopes of becoming the next leaders of the all-girls club during the 2016 -2017 school year.

“I love that I can run for President, it reassures me that I can do anything,” said Shy’Janae Hookfin who stunned her peers with a unanimous vote.  Students also elected Chriterra Brumfield - Vice President, Ariel Scott - Secretary, J’Qualene Floyd - Treasurer, Shermil Myles - Parliamentarian, Symone Bryer - iReporter, and Khristian Muse - Chairman.

The O.M.G. Club is an in-school and out-of-school club designed to create fun, informative public awareness platforms for girls in and around the state of Louisiana, to help service and educate them in the areas of HIV/AIDS and all other STD, and health related fields. 

This club also includes fun project based activities that will help girls learn new skillsets, all while promoting a healthy body, mind and spirit!


SU Ag Center’s 2016 Fall Garden Workshop a blooming success

Baton Rouge, LA – After several reports that the August 2016 flood waters contained chemicals and both human and animal feces, many gardeners and farmers in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas were wondering about the health of their soil.

With that fact in mind, the Southern University Ag Center themed its' 2016 Fall Gardening Workshop, “Recovering Your Soil – Gardens, Farms and Spirit!” The workshop, which was held on Nov. 22 in A. O. Williams Hall - SU Ag Center - drew a crowd of more than 80 small and backyard gardeners, farmers and school and community garden coordinators.

Southern University Ag Center Chancellor – Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Bobby R. Phills welcomed the attendees to the Land-Grant Campus – made up of the SU Ag Center and the College of Agriculture.

“When people think about the SU Ag Center, they only think about this building. But the SU Ag Center is also the agents housed around the state,” explained Phills.

Southern University Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension, Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin also addressed the attendees and explained why the SU Ag Center holds the Fall Gardening Workshop on the week of Thanksgiving every year.

“We started this workshop four years ago and it is held at this time any year because we wanted to give the teachers an opportunity to come and take information back to their schools,” said Patin.

Other presentations included a hands-on demonstration on Healthy Soils by USDA Natural Resources Conversation Services State Soil Scientist, Michael Lindsey, which discussed the importance of having cover crops to reduce soil run-off; Collecting Soil Samples Correctly, which explained the proper way to collect a soil sample and where the sample should be taken to be tested; Flood Resistant Trees for Louisiana’s Climate, which provided examples of the various water resistant trees that grow in the state as well as ways to plant trees in a manner that will allow them to serve as a barrier against flooding; Is Produce Safety Important?, which explained the importance of following safety rules and regulations when growing and harvesting produce and Growing with the Seasons, which discussed the types of fruits and vegetables that can be grown in each season.

Attendees were also able to participate in either a hands-on fig propagation or wreath and bow making demonstration.

The Fall Gardening Workshop was co-sponsored by the Southern University Ag Center, its Wisteria Alliance Program and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program. 

Photos from the event are available here.


Monday, November 21

SU Ag Center – College of Ag enters into partnership with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service

At the MOU signing between the SU Ag Center - College of Ag and the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service are, seated from left, Elanor Starmer, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator and SU Ag Center Chancellor - Dean of the College of Agriculture Dr. Bobby R. Phills; and standing, Arthur Neal, SU Grad and USDA Deputy Administrator for Transportation and Marketing Programs; Allison Johnson, USDA Liaison Officer; Ken Keck, Director of the USDA's Local Food Research and Development Divison; Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, SU Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach; Bruce Summers, USDA Associate Deputy Administrator for AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program and Richard Lucas, USDA Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy Support. Photo by Dr. C. Reuben Walker, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Chairman of the Department of Agricultural Sciences.

Baton Rouge, LA – Southern University Ag Center Chancellor - Dean of the College of Agriculture Dr. Bobby R. Phills, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on November 2, 2016 during a visit to the USDA’s Washington D.C. headquarters.

As a part of the MOU, AMS will provide $50,000 to support the Beginning Agricultural Youth Opportunity Unit (BAYOU) Program at Southern University.

The BAYOU program provides an array of recruitment and retention activities for high school seniors and incoming college freshman by providing them with first-hand knowledge about career opportunities in Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Business or the natural sciences.

The MOU will strengthen the SU Ag Center – College of Agriculture’s partnership with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

St. Landry Parish Ag/ Garden Education Program on the MOVE!

Students at Washington Elementary participated in the Southwest Center for Rural Inititatives "Youth Grow" gardening program. 

Baton Rouge, LA – If anyone knows the mental, physical, educational, and health benefits of exposing youth to gardening, it is Antonio Harris. As a lifelong gardener and resident of St. Landry Parish, Harris succeeded in lobbying the school board to approve the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives (SCRI) newest program, “Youth Grow.”

“Youth Grow” is a children’s gardening program aimed at developing sustainable garden education programs that connect youth to nature, educates them on the benefits of consuming fresh-grown food, and provides interdisciplinary learning opportunities.

The program creates a pathway for increasing and introducing agriculture engagement within the school community. Through the use of lesson plans; students will learn Social Studies, Math, English and Language Arts, Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth Science. The Youth Grow program has been approved at all St. Landry Parish Elementary Schools.

St. Landry Parish serves as a pilot to the full potential of the program, which aims at having raised bed gardens at each elementary school within the ten parishes served by the Southwest Center.

“These gardens give us the opportunities to not only introduce youth to agriculture and gardening at an early age, but also Southern University,” said Chasity Johnson, youth agent in St. Landry Parish.

Students and teachers at Washington Elementary planted cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in their four new raised-bed gardens supplied and installed by the Southwest Center/ Southern University Ag Center.

SU Ag Center’s Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives uses Fall Harvest to assist community

Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives volunteer Jessie Clark harvesting sweet potatoes at the North City Park Community Garden in Opelousas, La.

Baton Rouge, LA – The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives (SCRI) currently maintains several community gardens throughout St. Landry Parish.

Throughout the year, the garden and land is cared for by Jessie Clark. Recently, Jessie and the Southwest Center staff harvested sweet potatoes from the North City Park Community Garden in Opelousas, La. The garden is located within a low-income housing area, and was constructed through a partnership with the Opelousas Housing Authority.

The sweet potatoes harvested were given to residents to ensure they would have fresh produce.

“We see the blue van working out here all the time, and really feel blessed when they provide us with what they grow,” said a resident.  


Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives Educates Rural Youth on Careers in Agriculture

Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives Director Antonio Harris, sitting on left, and Extension Agent Krystle Washington, sitting on far left, share information about careers in agriculture.

Baton Rouge, LA – The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives staff participated in the 19th Annual Career Futures Expo on October 26, 2016 at Northwest High School in St. Landry Parish.

Every 10th grade student (roughly 1,200 students) from St. Landry and Evangeline Parishes traveled to explore the different career paths displayed during the expo.

The event, which was hosted by the St. Landry and Evangeline Parish Chambers of Commerce, St. Landry & Evangeline Career & Technical Education Programs and the St. Landry & Evangeline Parish School Boards, was designed to help 10th grade students identify and explore career interests that provide them with the opportunity to interact with professionals looking to the future and exploring their options.

“I was very amazed and impressed by the students’ knowledge and interest in our field,” said Kayla Fontenot, youth agent.

The staff of the Southwest Center also took the opportunity to speak with the students, and promote the BAYOU program and ultimately attending Southern University’s College of Agriculture post-graduation. 

“Recruitment starts early, so if we can introduce them to the College of Agriculture in 10th grade; we are planting the seed for them to become future Jaguars and ultimately leaders in Ag,” said Krystle Washington, Extension Agent in St. Landry Parish.

To read more about the event and see additional pictures, visit the Daily World