Tuesday, May 19

SU Ag Center set to co-sponsor a Virtual Town Hall on Hurricane Preparedness

The event will focus on Hurricane Preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center will co-sponsor a Virtual Town Hall on Hurricane Preparedness in the Wake of COVID-19 on May 21 at 12 p.m. (central) with the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) and the eXtension Foundation.

The town hall will provide individuals with a platform to discuss ideas and best practices in preparing for the 2020 Hurricane Season. The goal of the event is to highlight the work cooperative extension is doing and share the resources and programs available to communities through the Cooperative Extension System.

Krystle Allen, Extension Associate with the Southern University Ag Center, will be a panelist during the event along with Gena Laterhs, Planning Branch Manager with the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. Representatives from the University of Florida, North Carolina State University, Mississippi State University, Florida A&M University, Ohio State University, and Tuskegee University will also participate in the panel.

Registration information for the Virtual Town Hall is available at https://bit.ly/2WICNXM.



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Monday, May 18

College of Ag student Irene Lewis named Southern University’s Chief Student Marshal

Irene Lewis, a Southern University Agricultural  Sciences major with a concentration in Plant and Soil Sciences, will graduate with the highest grade point average in the Spring 2020 Class.

Baton Rouge, La. – Irene L. Lewis, a Southern University Agricultural Sciences major with a concentration in Plant and Soil Science, has been named the University’s Spring 2020 Chief Student Marshal, the student graduating with the highest grade point average in the class.

“I am honored to serve as Chief Student Marshal to remind the Class of 2020 that we are resilient,” said Lewis, who graduated with a 3.9 grade point average.

Irene went on to say that she began college wanting to graduate as the chief student marshal but admitted that she quickly learned that a college experience is more than academics.

“I learned that my college experience was much more important than my grades,” said Lewis. “It is about the people you meet and the memories you make. I never would have thought I would experience “virtual graduation,” but here we are. I say all of that to say, even though life did not follow an exact path for me, I am

glad we can still celebrate,” she added.

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the first time Lewis had a disruption from her planned path. In 2016, her home flooded days before the start of her freshman year at college.

“It was difficult starting class almost immediately after losing the home I grew up in,” said Irene. “It was even more difficult watching my family have to bounce back and my siblings adjust to moving to a new town all in a matter of months,” expressed Irene.

“I think watching how strong both my younger brother and sister were as well as having my parents, family, and friends there to love and support me helped me tremendously,” said Irene. “As I started at Southern in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, I also learned that more than anything, I had a family away from home and a support system that would bring me a long way,” added Irene.

During her college career, Irene was active in several student organizations.

She was elected the National Undergraduate President of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization for the 2019-2020 year and Region IV National Undergraduate Vice President of MANRRS for the 2018-2019 year where she represented the organization’s college chapters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. Irene was also active in the local Southern University Chapter of MANRRS where she served as both the Secretary during the 2017-2018 academic year and Historian during the 2018-2019 year.

Irene credits her time at Southern University for helping her grow as an adult.

“Throughout college, I learned a lot about myself and my leadership abilities. I learned that, through balancing several organizations, responsibilities, and my personal life, I needed to take time to take care of me, my needs, and my wellbeing,” said Irene. “My professors in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences taught me how to build a community. My interests have evolved greatly from my freshman year, but throughout, they have demonstrated that my possibilities are endless,” she expressed.

After graduating, Irene will spend the summer as an intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. During the Fall 2020 semester, she will begin working on a Masters of Public Administration at The Ohio State University, focusing on food access policy. She will also have the opportunity to complete her second year of studies while working in Washington D.C. on a fully funded fellowship.

Irene is a 22-year-old native of  Baton Rouge by way of Central, La. She is the daughter of Eric and Maura Lewis and a 2016 graduate of Runnels High School.



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Friday, May 15

Meal Planning Made Easy

Baton Rouge, La. – Meal planning is a great way to provide healthy meals for your family, while saving money and time. It may sound complicated, but after you have done it once or twice it will become easy. Having a plan for meals, snacks, and beverages will help you balance out the food groups. Marianna Langston, SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences in Union and Morehouse Parishes has provided the following steps to help make meal planning easier.

Take Inventory

Inventory and organize your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Organize your pantry by grouping similar items together like canned vegetables, grains, canned fruits, etc. Check expiration dates on items and move items that will expire soon to the front. Inventory the refrigerator and freezer, making sure to check expiration dates.

Make a Meal Plan

Start with a plan for one week, this will make planning easier. Decide how many meals, snacks, and beverages will be needed for the week. Plan based on what you already have, what is in season, and on sale. Include foods from all five food groups on MyPlate. Be sure to vary protein choices, use a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Choose a variety of meals that include budget-friendly meals and family favorites. Gather your recipes once you decide what you will be cooking. Make a list of ingredients needed for each recipe. Compare the items on the list with what you already have and mark them off the list.

Make a Grocery List

A grocery list will save you time and money. Having a grocery list will help get you in and out of the store faster and reduce the number of trips to the grocery store. Sticking to the list will help prevent impulse buys, which will save you money. Write down items on your grocery list as they get low. Keep the list in a place that is easily seen and keep a pen close, this will make it easier to add items.


Make leftovers into new meals. Think of the “leftover” as an ingredient in a different recipe. Be creative when planning new meals. Leftover meat could be used in quesadillas, casseroles or a stir fry. Rice can be used as a new side dish, in casseroles or desserts. Pasta can be turned into a pasta salad or casseroles. Vegetables can be used in casseroles, quesadillas, soup, or a new side dish.

Have Themed Nights

Theme meals are an easy way to make meals fun and add variety to family meals. Have family members come up with ideas for themed meals. This gives everyone an opportunity to be a part of the planning. Some ideas for themed meals include pasta night, burger night, throwback Thursday (make childhood favorite meals), stir fry night, kid’s choice, and soup and sandwich night.

Information for this article was gathered from the USDA’s Choose MyPlate MyWins Tips: Meal Planning Made Easy and Plan Your Weekly Meals materials.



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Wednesday, May 13

SU Ag Center Gives a Helping Hand to the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana

Family and Consumer Sciences Assistant Area Agent Angell Jordan assisted the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana during a grab and go meal distribution for youth on April 30.

SU Ag Center Gives a Helping Hand to the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana

Baton Rouge, La. – Angell Jordan, Family and Consumer Sciences Assistant Area Agent at the SU Ag Center’s Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (SARDI) assisted the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana in feeding area youth during a grab and go meal distribution on April 30.

Angell aided the organization in distributing hundreds of boxes of meals to youth within the Opelousas community. The boxes contained meals for seven days, which included breakfast and lunch.

“Many kids are not eating all three meals due to school closures but the administration team at the Boys & Girls Club is trying to make sure that no kid goes hungry while out of school,” said Jordan.

The grab and go meal distributions will continue for several weeks and Jordan said she will continue to participate with this effort.

The Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana is located at 814 E. Laurent Street in Opelousas, La. For information about the organization and upcoming events, visit https://www.bgcacadiana.com.

SARDI is a satellite campus of the SU Ag Center housed in Opelousas, La. The institute focuses on improving the socio-economic well-being of citizens in rural communities within a ten-parish region of St. Landry, Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, and Vermillion Parishes.



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Monday, May 11

SU Ag Center and Front Yard Bike Shop provides seed starter kits to youth

Baton Rouge, La. – SU Ag Center’s Growing Healthy program has been working with its partner, Front Yard Bike Shop, to provide youth with seed starter kits during the stay at home order.

The kits consist of four different types of vegetable seeds, a seed tray, soil, and plant labels.

“This will give the students something to keep them occupied and maybe some of them will even turn into successful vegetable gardens,” expressed Stephanie Elwood, SU Ag Center Extension Associate.

During the governor’s stay at home order, the staff of Front Yard Bikes has been delivering up to 150 meals daily to their students who would have normally participated in their after school programming, along with grade-appropriate academic worksheets. The SU Ag Center provided the starter kits to add to their efforts.

Front Yard Bike Shop is a non-profit bike mechanics and afterschool program. It also serves as the location of the SU Ag Center’s Growing Healthy program, which is the gardening component of the Ag Center’s SNAP-Ed program.

SNAP-Ed is the nutrition promotion and obesity prevention component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the U.S. domestic hunger safety net formerly known as Food Stamps that provides economic benefits to eligible, low-income individuals and families for food purchases.  The program teaches people using or eligible for SNAP about proper nutrition and how to make their food dollars stretch further. SNAP-Ed participants also learn to be physically active.

The SU Ag Center’s SNAP-Ed program has been in existence for more than 20 years and operates in 13 parishes throughout the state of Louisiana: Ascension, Avoyelles, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Jefferson Davis, Madison, Morehouse, St. James, Richland, and West Carroll.

For additional information about Front Yard Bikes, visit www.frontyardbikes.com. Information about the SU Ag Center’s SNAP-Ed program is available at, https://www.suagnutrition.com/.



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Friday, April 24

SU Ag Center among 1890 Land-Grant Universities receiving scholarship grant from USDA-NIFA

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The grant, which was made possible through NIFA’s 1890 Scholarship Program and authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, will provide full and partial scholarships to undergraduate students majoring in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences. 

“The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences are elated to be amongst the nineteen 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to receive this stellar and timely scholarship,” expressed Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Chancellor-Dean of the SU Ag Center and the College of Ag. “These funds carry the mandate of advancing the agricultural and food systems via the academic land-grant mission component.  We at the Ag Center and College of Ag view this scholarship as a game-changer, and are thankful to Congressman David Scott of Georgia for championing this important land-grant educational endeavor,” added Dr. McMeans.

The 1890 Scholarship Program provides scholarships to 1890 Land-Grant Institutes to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training of undergraduate students.

NIFA awarded more than $14 million to Southern University and the following institutions: Alabama A&M University, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Lincoln University of Missouri,  Alcorn State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Central State University, Langston University,  South Carolina State University, Tennessee State University, Prairie View A&M University, Virginia State University, and West Virginia State University.

It has a mission of investing in and advancing agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural sciences, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/impacts.  

Additional information and applications for the Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences’ 1890 Scholarship are available here.



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Wednesday, April 22

Dr. Orlando McMeans named to governor’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

Dr. Orlando McMeans, Chancellor-Dean of the Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, has been named to the state's COVID-19Health Equity Task Force. 

Baton Rouge, La. – Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Chancellor-Dean of the Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, has been named to Governor John Bel Edwards Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

“It is indeed an honor to be named to such a tremendously important and talented working group,” said Dr. McMeans. “As an African American growing up in southern Alabama under similar conditions to those most disproportionately and adversely affected by COVID-19, it affords me an opportunity to lend my life experiences and expertise to addressing this national issue,” he added.
The task force will focus on research and actions to improve health outcomes and equity for the state’s residents. The group’s progress will be monitored by a statewide Health Equity Dashboard.

McMeans was appointed with several other leaders from within the Southern University System. These leaders include Dr. Sandra Brown, dean of the Southern University Baton Rouge campus’ College of Nursing and Allied Health, who will serve as co-chair of the task force and Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, Southern University System Board Member and family practice physician.

Deleso A. Alford, professor of law at the Southern University Law Center; and Dr. Damien Ejigiri, dean and professor of the Nelson Mandela School of Government and Social Sciences will serve on the task force’s Public and Regulatory Policy subcommittee, which will focus on policies and laws that impact health disparities.

Southern University System President-Chancellor Dr. Ray L. Belton and Chief of Staff Dr. Katara Williams, were also appointed as part of the task force’s administration along with SU alum and Commissioner of the Louisiana Board of Regents, Dr. Kim Hunter-Reed.

The task force is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Friday, April 24.

For additional information about the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and a complete list of members, click here.


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Friday, April 17

Applications for the College of Ag’s Jag S.T.A.R.S. 1890 Scholarship are now available

The scholarship is open to freshmen majoring in the College of Agricultural, Family & Consumer Sciences

Baton Rouge, La. – The College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences is currently accepting applications for its Jag Student Training in Academics, Research and Service (S.T.A.R.S.) 1890 Scholarship.

The scholarship awards up to $10,000 a year for full scholarships and $5,000 a year for partial scholarships.

To be eligible for the scholarship, the student must be an incoming freshman majoring in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences with a 2.8 or higher grade point average.

In addition to a completed application, each applicant is also required to submit an official transcript, ACT or SAT scores, two letters of recommendation, and an essay explaining their interests and intent to pursue a career in Food and Agricultural Sciences and Related Fields.

Applications are available here. The application deadline is September 1, 2020.

For additional information on the Jag S.T.A.R.S. 1890 Scholarship, contact Michelle Briscoe-Long at 225-771-2152 or email michelle_briscoelong@suagcenter.com.



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Tuesday, April 14

SU Ag Center staff set to conduct a webinar for the National eXtension Foundation

Webinar to provide information on how to assist the community after an emergency.

Baton Rouge, La. – Members of the Southern University Ag Center’s JAGriculture team will discuss the role of Extension after an emergency during a webinar on April 16.

The webinar, which is hosted by the eXtension Foundation, will be held from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. (Central) and will use the 2016 Louisiana Flood as a conceptual lens to provide attendees with information on ways to provide programming and support to assist communities and citizens after a disaster.

The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. To register, click here.

SU Ag Center’s JAGriculture team consists of Krystle Allen, Extension Associate; Marlin Ford, Ph.D., Urban Agricultural Specialist; Kiyana Kelly, Family and Consumer Sciences Associate Agent; Nicolette Gordon, Assistant Area Agent for youth development; and Angell Jordan, Family and Consumer Sciences Assistant Area Agent.

The eXtension Foundation is a membership-based non-profit organization designed to aid the U.S. Cooperative Extension programs from land-grant universities/colleges located in every state and territory in becoming more visible by providing measurable impacts in support of educational outreach. eXtension is embedded in the U.S. Cooperative Extension System and serves on the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). The organization provides an array of opportunities for Extension professionals that foster innovation creation, the adoption of innovations at member institutions, and increased impact of Extension programs. For more information on eXtension membership, please visit www.eXtension.org.

A video of the presentation is available here.



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Thursday, April 9

College of Ag to hold Virtual Summer BAYOU Program

Application deadline has been extended to May 1, 2020

Baton Rouge, La. - Southern University’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences has extended the application deadline for its summer Beginning Agricultural Youth Opportunities Unlimited (BAYOU) Program.

The three-week program will be held virtually June 7 – 26, 2020 and will provide high school seniors and incoming college freshmen with an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about career opportunities in Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Business or the natural sciences.

To qualify, students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and have completed 11th grade. Graduating high school seniors must have either an ACT (SAT equivalent) composite score of 20 or above, or a 2.5 GPA, or rank in the top 50% of their high school graduation class and require no more than one remedial course. 

Applications are available here. The application deadline is May 1, 2020.

Questions and concerns about the BAYOU Program can be directed to Dr. Harold Mellieon at subayou1@gmail.com. 


Friday, March 27

Outstanding Mature Girlz Organization Launched Virtual Club Meetings

Members of the Outstanding Mature Girlz (OMG) Organization are learning how to properly communicate with their parents during the governor's stay at home order through virtual club meetings.
Baton Rouge, La. – As schools are closed around the nation, and the world is being encouraged to practice social distancing in the wake of COVID-19, many youth organizations are being tasked to find innovative ways to keep youth engaged.  On March 17, the Outstanding Mature Girlz (OMG) Organization launched its first virtual OMG Club Meeting.  These face-to-face meetings which were previously held in-school and out-of-school, with community service projects on the weekends have now found an innovative way to maximize their “Digital Footprint,” while still making “Social Change.”

“It’s amazing how this moment has come full circle,” said SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, Nicolette Gordon. “Previously, during our quarterly advisory meetings community stakeholders discussed ways to engage our youth groups through technology before this pandemic was even a thought,” she added.

In December of 2019, the Outstanding Mature Girlz Organization was awarded the Cox Charities Grant for $2,000 to use for OMG emPOWERed.  This grant, which is solely funded by Cox Communications employees, is intended to help keep all OMG Club members in South Louisiana connected.

“We’ve launched our OMG emPOWERed Sessions virtually online, and we are still keeping our young ladies motivated, encouraged, and ready to take over the world,” said OMG Organization’s Founder, Sashika Baunchand. “We want them to bloom right where they are planted.”  

Nearly 25 girls have joined in virtually through Blackboard every Tuesday, at 7 p.m. to practice leadership skills through the use of Parliamentary Procedure, and discuss monthly iValues such as Choice and Accountability. Moving forward Baunchaund stated that the organization will do everything that needs to be done to ensure that all club members remain safe throughout the duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  She also stated that she is very thankful for the many parents that have worked behind the scene to make the OMG emPOWERed launch successfully.