Thursday, January 29

Meat sales continue for 66th year

The Southern University Ag Center has launched the meat sales campaign for our annual livestock show, Feb. 27-28. Again this year, we will allow contributions to be used to purchase meat for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Last year, you made monetary contribution (not direct meat purchases) that resulted in a nearly 800 pounds of fresh meat to be purchased and donated to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

Your contribution—in any amount— will impact the state in two ways: first, the contributions will be added up to purchase the meat directly from the young herdsmen who raised the livestock and the purchased meat will go directly to the food bank for immediate distribution. All monetary contributions go to purchase the meat from a youth who has raised it on a local farm and to the processing unit who cleans, cuts and prepares the meat for consumption. You can purchase meat or make a donation using this form:

Your purchase or contribution encourages  young Louisiana herdsmen to experience the rewards of a career in livestock production and provides more fresh meat for the families GBRFB serves. The Southern University Ag Center does not receive commission from sales or contributions. More information and meat purchase forms are available at

Contact: Renita Marshall, DVM, livestock programs director, at

Tuesday, January 27

Researcher to disclose tobacco industry secrets, Feb. 3

Experimental psychologist Victor DeNoble, Ph.D., will present "What the Tobacco Industry Doesn't Want You to Know" Tuesday, February 3, at the Southern University Baton Rogue J.K. Haynes School of Nursing.

The 11 am forum is DeNoble's tell-all discussion on tobacco industry secrets. He has been a key witness in government hearings examining the practices of the tobacco industry. His testimony was an important part of the mounting evidence that damaged the tobacco industry's creditability and ultimately led to the multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement. This forum is free and open to the public, including middle and high school groups.
Sponsors: Southern University Ag Center Communities of Color Network, Southern University School of Nursing, Tobacco-Free Living, and Our Lady of the Lake College.

For more information, contact Linda Early Brown,

Wednesday, January 21

USDA Awards $300,000 for Training and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced Dec. 9 that USDA is awarding more than $14 million in grants to organizations throughout the country that will provide training and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will receive $300,000 in funding to support the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

The Institute is a two year, course of study specifically designed to guide small, socially disadvantaged, limited resource farmers or minority farmers through the transformative process of becoming successful agricultural entrepreneurs, said Dawn Mellion Patin, PhD, MBA, institute director and agricultural specialist. The institute currently has 34 participants and has graduated 58 farmers from 14 states.

According to USDA, the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) grant program enables socially disadvantaged producers to successfully acquire, own, operate, and retain farms and ranches, and to assure equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs. A socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice without regard to their individual qualities.

Generally, socially disadvantaged producers who participate in OASDFR-funded projects develop profitable new farming or ranching practices, receive loans more rapidly, increase their farm or ranch income, continue farming or ranching longer and are less likely to go out of business.

This has been the case for the Southern University Ag Center's Institute graduates, said Patin. Graduates have been appointed to the advisory boards of Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and Southern Region Risk Management Education programs, as well as, to state and local advisory boards and taskforces in 8 states. “They have been invited to serve as panelists and keynote speakers at conferences all across the country. They are serving as model farmers in several states and their farms are used demonstration sites. Three graduates have been selected as Small Farmers of the Year for their states.”

Graduates have also started farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture initiatives and are featured in educational videos.

“Most importantly, (the graduates are) taking back to their communities what they have learned and sharing with others.” For more information visit, or contact Patin at (225) 771-2242 ext. 201.