Friday, March 12

Women History Month Spotlight on Sarah Sims

Sarah Sims, SU Ag Center's Nutrition Educator for Madison and Richland Parishes, discussed the equipment needed to properly make preserves and jams from fresh fruits and vegetables during the 8th annual Fall Garden Workshop on Nov. 26, 2019.

Baton Rouge, LA - During this Women History Month, we highlight the work that Sarah Sims is doing in the area of Family and Consumer Sciences and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed).

For 44 years, Sarah Sims has served the citizens of Madison Parish through her work as a Family and Consumer Sciences (FSC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) nutrition educator.

“I have never had a day that I didn’t want to go to work,” recounted Sims. “I enjoy most of everything about my job. Being able to interact with people and learn daily. It’s very rewarding for me,” she expressed.

Sims says her fondest memories working at the Southern University Ag Center are bringing youth to the Southern University campus to participate in the Youth Expo.

“I really loved the Youth Expo,” said Sims. “We live in a very some town and small youth don’t get a chance to travel outside of town. When we would bring the children to the campus you would hear them say wow or awesome! And over the years I have had the opportunity to work with entire families. I worked with the mother, then the mother’s children, and now the grandchildren,” said Sims.

She even created a Wall of Fame which contained the photos of students from the parish that have attended and graduated from Southern University.

Although the pandemic has stopped Sims from conducting face-to-face visits with her constituents so still enjoys her work.

“I am 70 years old, but I feel like I’m six inside and I’m going to continue to learn something new every day,” said Sims.


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Monday, February 22

SU College of Ag set for its Second Virtual Student Forum

SU College of Ag Lucky Jags Flyer
Event flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS) will host its second virtual forum for its Ag students at 6 p.m. on March 17, 2021 via Zoom.

The forum will provide students with information on upcoming opportunities in Ag and tips on leadership skills from Chancellor-Dean Dr. Orlando McMeans and the faculty and staff of the CAFCS. By participating, students will also earn extra credit in their courses and meet other Jags in Ag.

The theme of the forum will be "Lucky Jags" and the College will be "going green" by highlighting the Department of Urban Forestry.

To register for the forum, visit

For additional information or if you have questions, contact Saturn Douglas at or



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Friday, February 12

Southern University Ag Center’s Owusu Bandele uses the Black History Quiz Bowl to teach youth the importance of Black History


Baton Rouge, La. – For 26 years Southern University’s Black History Quiz Bowl has been held on the campus as an educational tool used to stimulate the university’s students. The competition covers a variety of topics, including current events, politics, history, sports, and entertainment.

The quiz bowl’s organizer, Dr. Owusu Bandele begin the event in 1994 after several faculty and staff decided to have a Black History program within the University’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS).  Dr. Bandele decided to host a discussion on Black Female/Male Relationships. Following the success of the event, his research associate at the time, Marion Jarvis, suggested that he host a quiz bowl, and thus the CAFCS Black History Quiz Bowl was born. 

Dr. Bandele said it became his passion to educate youth about Black history after graduating from Towson State University in 1963.

“The history curriculum was taught from a white supremacy perspective, and did not include the history and contributions of African Americans,” recounted Dr. Bandele. “When I began teaching middle, and later high school in Baltimore City, I always incorporated our history in my teaching.  Likewise, in teaching agricultural courses at Southern University I always included the rich history and contributions that Africans and African Americans have made to the agricultural sciences,” he said.

In 2016, Bandele, with the help of Erica Williams Mitchell, conducted two elementary Black History Quiz Bowls at Brownsfield and Audubon Elementary Schools. Dr. Bandele also hosted a science quiz bowl with special emphasis on the scientific achievements of African and African Americans at Audubon Elementary that same year.

“Initially, the teachers at Audubon were somewhat uneasy because much of the information that I provided in the study guide was not covered in their curriculum,” added Dr. Bandele. “However, they were pleasantly surprised at the level of preparation and outstanding performance of their students,” he added.

The Southern University Ag Center has continued to conduct Black History Quiz Bowls at the school each year. 

In 2017, Dr. Bandele began conducting quiz bowls at several middle schools in the Baton Rouge area, and included high schools the following year at individual schools, culminating in middle and high school championships at the Southern University Ag Center with the best teams from each school competing. 

Plaques or medallions are given to the top three teams in each division, and all participants at the championship rounds receive books written by or about people of African descent. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Southern University Ag Center to postpone its 2021 Black History Quiz Bowl, but plans are underway to safely host the event.

Bandele began his tenure at Southern in 1987 as an assistant professor. He went on to obtain the rank of associate professor, and later, full professor in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences until the establishment of the Southern University Ag Center in 2001. In 2009, Bandele was awarded the title of professor emeritus following his retirement.

Erica Williams Mitchell, a Research Associate at the Southern University Ag Center, has assisted Dr. Bandele in conducting the Black History Quiz Bowls at all levels for the past twenty years and was a member of the team that won first place during the first Collegiate Black History Quiz Bowl in 1994.



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Thursday, January 28

SU College of Ag Professor Dr. LaShunda Hodges named one of 1,000 inspiring Black Scientists in America


Dr. LaShunda Hodges, Assistant/Associate Research Plant and Soil Science Professor in Southern University's College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, has been named one of 1,000 inspiring Black Scientists in America.

Baton Rouge, La. –  Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences Assistant/ Associate Research Plant and Soil Science Professor Dr. LaShunda Hodges has been honored as one of the 1,000 inspiring Black Scientists in America by Cell Mentor.


The list of scientists was compiled by a community of scholars and includes scientists from universities and the private sector. The December 28, 2020 article was published to “dismantle the myth that outstanding Black scientists make up a small percentage of the scientific community.” 


Before joining Southern’s College of Ag, Dr. Hodges served as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Soil and Plant Sciences in Alcorn State University’s Department of Agriculture, a Visiting Scientist for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Crop Production Unit and a Research Associate/ Native Grass and Wildlife Habitat Project Manager for the Southern University Ag Center.


Hodges earned a B.S. in Soil and Plant Science, an M.S. in Agronomy, both from Alcorn State University and a Ph.D. in Agronomy-Environmental Planning and Management from Louisiana State University.


The article and the full list of scientists are available at



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Friday, January 15

Small Business owners invited to SU Ag Center, SBA webinar on PPE & EIDL Programs


Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. –  The Southern University Ag Center has partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration to host a webinar for small business owners to discuss the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.


The virtual event, which will be held at 6 p.m. on January 26, will provide participants with information on the PPP application process, participating lenders, requirements for the first and second draw applicants, and covered periods and loan terms.


Participants will also receive information on the EIDL Program’s application period, businesses who are eligible for an EIDL advance, information on how to request reconsideration for the program, as well as information on how to address credit issues.


To register for the webinar, visit



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Monday, January 4

Members of Congress Deliver Record Levels of Support for the 1890 Historically Black Land Grant Universities during the 116th Congress

Bipartisan HBCU Caucus helps champion Land-Grant Investments in Students and Research

Washington, D.C. – The 1890 Universities Foundation, representing the 19 Historically Black Land Grant Universities, extends its appreciation to the members of the 116th Congress for their continued advocacy on behalf of our 1890 Land Grant Universities. The FY 2021 Appropriations bill supported initiatives that will help our universities respond to many of the pressing challenges confronting the communities we serve. 

Of specific significance to the 1890 community are increases in funding for: Education Grants to 1890 Universities; 1890 Extension programs, Evans-Allen Research, Facilities Improvements, 1890 Centers of Excellence and Scholarship Programs. Also of note is the HBCU Capital Finance Debt Relief bill (HR 7380), which will provide $1.3 billion in Capital Finance Debt Relief for our universities. 

“We especially want to thank U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), David Scott (D-GA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Doug Jones (DAL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for their unwavering support and for leading the way to enable these increases in all of our 1890 Land Grant programs. In addition, we thank the Members of Congress who continue to recognize the significant impact of COVID-19 on our students, our research, our facilities and our cooperative extension programs, said Dr. Mort Neufville, President & CEO of the Foundation. 

“Our Universities will continue to face tremendous challenges and opportunities as we rebound from the pandemic and it is important that our recovery efforts also enable us to be better prepared for all future disasters. Again, on behalf of the 1890 community, we thank the Members of Congress for their support during these unprecedented and challenging times. We look forward to continuing our engagement with our elected leaders during the FY 2022 appropriations process,” concluded Dr. Neufville. 

This press release was written by Paul Brathwaite. For more information on the 1890 Universities Foundation visit: 


Wednesday, December 16

It's Time to Prepare your Citrus Fruit Trees for the Winter Months

It's important to protect your fruit trees from freezing temperatures. Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash.

Baton Rouge, La. –  As the weather continues to become colder it’s important to take precautions to protect your citrus trees. These trees are frost-tender and are likely to be damaged by freezing temperatures. Because of this, citrus trees are usually grown in hardiness zones 9-11.

When a freeze is coming (temperatures reaching 32°F or below) measures need to be taken to minimize damage to your citrus trees.

The longer the temperature remains under 32°F, the more damage it can cause.

Follow these steps to protect your citrus trees throughout the winter.

Step 1.  Make sure your tree is watered well, this helps insulate the soil and roots. Make sure the bottom of the tree is also mulched well with either pine bark mulch, pine straw mulch, etc.).

Step 2. Cover the tree with a sheet or row cover, this protects the leaves from dew accumulation – which is actually what harms the leaves once the dew turns to frost.

Step 3. If the tree is too large to cover, you can focus on protecting the lower trunk of the tree with a tree wrap, bubble wrap, foam rubber, or Styrofoam to prevent cold damage, this can be placed before the threat of the first frost and left on the trunk throughout the winter.

Step 4. After the temperature rises the next day or so, remove the sheet from over the tree branches.

Step 5. Make sure to glean or remove all mature fruits before the freezing temperatures.

For any questions contact Stephanie Elwood, SU Ag Center Sustainable Urban Ag Trainer for the Enhancing Capacity of Louisiana's Small Farms and Businesses Programs at  


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Friday, December 4

SU Ag Center discusses the importance of the Census during a virtual workshop


The Southern University Ag Center partnered with the Louisiana Tri-Parish Alumnae (LTP) Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to encourage Louisiana residents to complete the 2020 Census.

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center and the Louisiana Tri-Parish Alumnae (LTP) Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held a virtual Census workshop called “Counting Small Towns is a Big Deal.”


More than 4,000 individuals viewed the workshop, which was live-streamed on the Facebook pages of the Southern University Ag Center and the LTP, as well as through the Cisco WebEx virtual format.


SU Ag Center Community and Economic Development Assistant Specialist, Gerald Williams was the speaker for the August 4, 2020 event. Viewers were provided with information on how data from the Census is used to determine how billions of federal funds are distributed to fund programs and services for the next 10 years.


Louisiana residents, especially those individuals residing within rural communities, were asked to complete the 2020 Census to ensure the families in the state’s small towns and communities were counted.


The Southern University Ag Center will continue to partner with community and faith-based organizations to provide its clientele with information and services to help them live successful and productive lives.


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Monday, November 30

Dr. Tiffany Franklin appointed to Governor Edwards Juvenile Justice Advisory Board


Dr. Tiffany W. Franklin was recently appointed to Governor John Bel Edwards Advisory Board of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Baton Rouge, La. –  Tiffany W. Franklin, Ph.D., has been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve on his Advisory Board of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Dr. Franklin was initially appointed to serve on the board, which assists in the establishment of juvenile justice policy by providing advice and counsel to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, the Louisiana Legislature, and the Governor on ways to facilitate greater juvenile justice system effectiveness, in 2017. She was reappointed to the board by Governor Edwards on October 30, 2020.

“Being part of this advisory committee puts me in the position to propose effective policy changes to our state’s juvenile justice system, serving all youth, primarily those disproportionately incarcerated,” stated Franklin.

She is also a member of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ), serving in her second year.

Dr. Franklin is the Associate Youth Specialist and Program Leader of  4-H Youth Development at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. In this capacity, she also coordinates programming to develop School Gardens in food desert areas near Southern University, as well as Prison-Based programs serving those incarcerated, along with their families.


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Tuesday, November 24

Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse Receives 2020 Frank Panyko Distinguished Service Award


Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse, Professor of Agricultural Economics in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, has been awarded the 2020 Frank Panyko Distinguished Service Award by the Food Distribution Research Society.

Baton Rouge, La. – The Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) held its virtual conference on October 13, 2020, where distinguished members of the society are honored for more than 10 years of service, and organizational leadership.  This year Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse, Professor of Agricultural Economics (Southern University College of Agricultural, Family & Consumer Sciences) received the 2020 Frank Panyko Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes FDRS members how have demonstrated outstanding service and leadership within the organization, exhibited exemplary efforts in promoting the FDRS, provided outstanding training and guidance to incoming FDRS leadership, and provided outstanding support in mentoring FDRS members.

“I am exceeding grateful to the Society for recognizing my contributions and those of our graduates and for embracing diversity in the organization,” said Dr. Meyinsse. “I am also very proud of the fact that I am the first female from an 1890 institution and one of five women to receive this prestigious award since its inception in 1996.”

Since the mid-’90s, Dr. Meyinsse has served in many capacities for the Food Distribution Research Society and currently serves on the Editorial Review Board. She has been instrumental in recruiting many colleagues at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to joining the society. FDRS essentially provides a forum for agricultural economists, nutritionists, and food scientists at 1890 institutions to present and publish their research results, to reach a global audience, to interact with practitioners in the United States, and to broaden understanding of some of the real-world issues facing food producers and distributors.

“Dr. Patricia, I know a lot of fine individuals that came through Southern University and you appear to be the connecting dot,” said VP of Logistics and Outreach, Dr. Ronald L. Rainey. “I just want to commend you for all of your support over the years and applaud with you your commitment over the years. You have been a shining light to a number of faculty and the honor is well deserved.”

Dr. Meyinsse stated that her only regret is that the pandemic prevented her from receiving the award in person.

She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Economics from The University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Meyinsse also earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.


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Friday, November 13

SU Ag Center’s Family & Human Development Unit goes Live to Reach Families


SU Ag Center Family and Consumer Sciences Parent Educator, Aryn Broussard discusses activities that stimulate development in children during a Facebook Live on October 9.

Baton Rouge, La. – Several months into the pandemic, Louisiana reported the highest number per capita of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country. To assist families within the state, the Southern University Ag Center’s Family and Human Development Unit provided individuals and families with information on “Maintaining Social Ties during the Coronavirus Quarantine." This information was presented to families in churches and organizations in the communities served by the Unit.


During this time of social distancing, the Unit utilized Facebook to expand its reach to families. Through this platform, the Unit held Facebook Lives on the topics of Communicating Good Health Practices, Reducing Sodium in your Diet, Budgeting, and Activities that Stimulate Sensory Development in Children.


Recently, families throughout Louisiana have endured the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Delta and Laura. To educate the community, the Family and Human Development Unit shared hurricane preparedness tips from the Southern University Ag Center, Louisiana Department of Health, and Healthy Baton Rouge, as well as information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the proper way to wear and remove face masks.


The SU Ag Center’s Family and Human Development Unit provides research-based programs that address parenting, childcare, family economic stability, consumer education, and stress. Programs in this area work to strengthen the capacity of families to nurture, support, and guide their members throughout their lives. Programs managed within the Unit include Parents Preparing for Success, Full Circle of Parenting, Child Care, Family Resource Management, Second Chance 2 Recover, and Emergency Preparedness.




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Thursday, November 12

SU Ag Center set to host Virtual Fall Garden Workshop


Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center will hold its virtual Fall Garden Workshop from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Monday, November 23 via Zoom and YouTube.

The workshop will highlight Urban/Community, Organic and Small Vegetable Farms, discuss harvesting techniques, Fall Vegetable Selections, and Garden Designing.

The virtual event is free and open to the public. To register, visit

For nine years, the SU Ag Center has held a Fall Garden Workshop to provide teachers, community garden coordinators, backyard gardens, and individuals interested in gardening with information on how to prepare their gardens for the Fall season.

The Ag Center and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program are co-sponsoring this event.

For additional information about the Southern University Ag Center’s Virtual Fall Garden Workshop, email Zanetta Augustine at



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Wednesday, November 11

Join the SU Ag Center on Nov. 19 for the Great American Smokeout Day


Great American Smokeout Day
Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network (CoC) will host a Facebook Live at 11 a.m. on Nov. 19 in observance of Great American Smokeout Day.


The virtual event will provide individuals with educational tips and resources to help them successfully quit smoking.


“The Great American Smokeout Day was established by the American Cancer Society in excess of 40 years ago to highlight one single day to encourage individuals to quit smoking or to make a plan to quit,” said Linda Early Brown, Director of the Communities of Color Network. “While most individuals are aware of the negative impact of tobacco usage, this day serves as a reminder to jumpstart making healthier choices.  More than ever, during these unprecedented times, an opportunity to improve your health would be most beneficial,” added Brown.  

The Great American Smokeout Day is observed on the third Thursday of November every year.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.


“Join the Communities of Color Network at the Southern University Ag Center by quitting, setting a date to quit, or help influence others to be mindful of the importance of Great American Smokeout Day,” urged Brown.


The live stream will air on the Southern University Ag Center’s Facebook page.


For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network, email or visit



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Friday, November 6

SU Ag Center set to hold a free Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course


Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course Flyer.

Baton Rouge, La. – SU Ag Center will host a virtual Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course from November 16 - November 19, 2020. 

This course is ideal for fruit and vegetable growers and individuals interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires, ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’  

Course participants must be present for the entirety of the four-day course and have equipment with audiovisual capabilities (microphone and camera) to allow for class participation. 

The training is free, but registration is required and seating is limited. To register, visit

Registration will close on November 6.

The training is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, the Southern Center for Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance to Enhance Produce Safety, the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and the LSU AgCenter.

For additional information or questions, contact Chelsea Triche at or Allison Dumas at  


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Monday, November 2

Brunetta Gamble-Dillard named Vice Chancellor for Finance at SU Ag Center


Brunetta Gamble-Dillard has been named the Vice Chancellor for Finance at the SU Ag Center.

Baton Rouge, La. – Brunetta Gamble-Dillard has been appointed the Vice Chancellor for Finance at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Dillard has more than 21 years of higher education experience working with grant management, financial planning, policies and procedures, human resources and federal, state, and local fiscal matters.

As the Vice Chancellor for Finance, Dillard will provide oversight to the SU Ag Center’s Finance Unit and be responsible for managing the Center’s accounting and external reporting functions as well as establishing and managing the implementation of policies and procedures for the Unit.

Prior to joining the Ag Center, Dillard served as the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance and the Interim Executive Director at West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation.

She also served as an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation and a Business Manager for NGK Spark Plug Manufacturing (USA) Inc.

Dillard is a member of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia State College and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.


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