Thursday, May 28

World NO Tobacco Day Symposium scheduled for May 30

New legislation in Congress would allow the Food and Drug Administration to band flavored cigarettes (which are marketed to youth) but not band menthol cigarettes (which are marketed to Blacks). Some health experts believe that this plan could leave Black Americans at more risk.

The Southern University Ag Center's Communities of Color Network monitors the tobacco industry in Louisiana and educates the community. 

On May 30, World NO Tobacco Day, at 11am the CoC Network will host a symposium for area churches to learn outreach education strategies to make their church community 100% tobacco free.  Join us in educating your family and friends about smoking risks on World NO Tobacco Day. 

For more information on this symposium, contact Latricia Dixon, regional coordinator, Communities of Color, (225) 771-2242 ext. 283 or Visit for more on the CoC Network.

Wednesday, May 27

Sales Tax Holiday May 30 - 31

The 2009 Louisiana Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday will take place on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31. On these two days, shoppers can purchase specified emergency supplies free of the four- percent state sales tax in preparation for the 2009 hurricane season, which begins on June 1. During the two-day holiday, tax-free purchases are allowed for the first $1,500 of the sales price of each of the following items:

• Self-powered light sources, such as flashlights and candles;

• Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, and weather-band radios;

• Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting;

• Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits;

• Gas or diesel fuel tanks;

• Batteries – AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, or 9-volt (automobile batteries and boat batteries are not eligible);

• Cellular phone batteries and chargers;

• Non-electric food storage coolers;

• Portable generators;

• Storm shutter devices – Materials and products manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically for the purposes of preventing window damage from storms (La. R.S. 47:305.58);

• Carbon monoxide detectors;

• Blue ice products.

The 2009 Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday does not extend to hurricane-preparedness items or supplies purchased at any airport, public lodging establishment or hotel, convenience store, or entertainment complexes.

The Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is an annual event. The 2009 sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 30, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 31.

Thursday, May 14

Workshop, farm tour explore management intensive grazing, May 27

A Management Intensive Grazing Workshop and Farm Tour for county agents and other agriculture professionals will be held Wednesday, May 27, 2009, at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge.

MIG is a grazing system where the animals are allowed to graze small portions of the pasture for short periods of time while other areas recover. The workshop, which includes lunch, a workshop manual, and a DVD on management intensive grazing, is free for county agents and other agriculture professionals. Farmers are also invited to participate.

Sign-in begins at 7:45 a.m. and the workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. Morning sessions include visits to the Center’s Experiment Station and two farms where management intensive grazing is practiced. During the afternoon session, Ron Morrow of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas will discuss the methods and benefits of management intensive grazing.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please register for the workshop by contacting: James McNitt at, or (225) 771-2262 x 270, Carl Motsenbocker at or (225) 578-1036, and Emily Neustrom at or (225) 578-1037.

The workshop is sponsored by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program. For more information, contact McNitt at (225) 771-2242 ext. 270.

Wednesday, May 13

Ready, Set, Go!

Plans are underway statewide as youth prepare to travel to Baton Rouge for the 2009 Family and Youth Expo, "READY, SET, GO: Encouraging Youth to Win the Academic Race." 

The June 18-20, 2009, expo is the culminating celebration for the Ag Center's youth development programs. All activities will be held on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

Contact your local agent or Wanda Burke, Ph.D., youth development specialist, (225) 771-2242 ext. 325 for more information. 

Tuesday, May 12

Parent educator schedules emergency preparedness workshop series

The Southern University Ag Center's family and human development office will present a one-hour workshop on emergency preparedness, May 20, at the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives, 232 S. Liberty St., in Opelousas. Stacey Nevills, parent educator, will explain weather bulletin information, evacuation processes, and post emergency procedures. The May 20 workshop begins at 6 p.m. 

Seating is limited to the first 25 participants. 

A second workshop is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2009, at the Southwest Center. To register or for more information, contact Nevills at (337) 943-2410 or The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives is a satellite campus of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Its mission is to improve the socioeconomic well-being of citizens in rural communities within a 10-parish region

Monday, May 11

Church's 'beefing up' gets media attention

One of the most memorable experiences from this year's Livestock and Poultry Show was the participation of a local church congregation in the Junior Auction. The church, Mount Zion First Baptist, purchased the Grand Champion and an additional three steers, four lambs, and three hogs. This Saturday (May 9), The Advocate  featured the church's support of the Ag Center's Show in the article, Church buys livestock for charity work. Read it at

Hand hygiene critical for healthy living

Proper hand washing has proven to be the most effective way to protect yourself against viruses, staph infections, colds, and even food contamination, but many people still don't wash their hands or don't wash them properly. Improving hand hygiene can stop the spread of germs and illnesses. Ag Center researcher Fatemeh Malekian, Ph.D., shares six steps for proper hand washing to keep you healthy. Read steps and see photos for proper hand washing at

Friday, May 1

New resource offered for small businesses

Small business owners can find business start-up information, forms, and success stories online on the new website for the Center for Rural and Small Business Development. Designed by a small business client of the center, the website is user-friendly with a calendar of training events, SBA applications, and IRS forms. Visit the site at

For more information, contact Gloria London, director, Center for Rural and Small Business Development, at (225) 771-2242 ext. 327 or or Eual Hall, business development specialist, at