Tuesday, September 29

Software training gain momentum

The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives’ basic computer software training is gaining momentum throughout the Center’s 10-parish reach. 

Since November, more than 200 citizens have participated and benefited, said class organizer Latonia Morrison-Frank. Many participants are using this new training on their jobs, businesses and for self improvement. 

“Participation in these basic courses are yielding a more confident citizenry in using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to create and edit documents, forms, business advertisements, presentations, and tracking of data,” she said.

The chambers of commerce in several of the parishes served have founded the trainings positive for their communities. Each session is met with increased participation from local sheriff departments, governmental departments, banks, businesses and other community entities. 

Due to limited number of computers, the majority of the trainings can only accommodate ten participants per session. However, this has not impacted the interest. In Acadia and Allen Parishes, the Chamber of Commerce wants the Southwest Center to “keep coming back”. They are anxious about future offerings of the trainings and eager to get the word out to the community, said Morrison Frank.

For more information, contact Morrison-Frank, regional market/analyst developer, at the Southwest
Center for Rural Initiatives (337) 943-2410 or latonia_morrisonfrank@suagcenter.com

Monday, September 28

Bourlaug Fellows train at Southern University

The Southern University Center for International Development Program hosted the 2009 Borlaug Fellows Women in Science Fellowship and the Southern University Ag Center provided assistance and training to the Fellows.

The Fellowship provides training to agribusiness entrepreneurs from the African countries of Kenya and Malawi. 

Four fellows were selected based on their leadership skills and business experiences. The group travelled to Southern University's Center for International Development Program for six weeks, ending this month. During this period, they attended lectures, went on field trips and shadowed trainers assigned to them.

Program participants included: Eunice Mwongera, Managing Director of Hillside Green Growers and Exporters Company, exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables from Kenya. She came to gain knowledge that will assist small scale farmers to increase and improve the quality of their fruit and vegetable products for export; and to improve business skills and ability to mentor other female business entrepreneurs.  

Stella Kachoka, Traditional Authority Coordinator for “Concern Worldwide,” Malawi, interested in crop diversification techniques, specifically in cassava and sweet potatoes. She came to gain increased understanding of food production that matches domestic and export market needs. Patience Mgollimwale, Farmer Organization Development Coordinator with Malawi Enterprise Zones Association, came to seek skills in farmer cooperative development and trade policy issues related to agricultural exports.

Maness Nkhata, Managing Director for Kakoma Estate, a company that specializes in livestock and crop production, wanted to gain knowledge in business development, management and financial resource mobilization,specifically microfinance for small to medium-scale businesses. 

The program was coordinated by Rufus Nwogu, PhD, assistant director, Southern University Center for International Development Programs. Several faculty from the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center provided training.  Fatemeh Malekian, PhDfood scientistprovided the ServSafe Essentials for food handling. Adell Brown, PhD, vice chancellor for finance and administration, and Oscar Udoh,PhD, coordinator for planning and evaluation, provided lectures on risk management, forming cooperatives, marketing and building trade capacity. James McNitt, PhD, retired animal science professor, provided a series of farmer training modules for production of safe food. Renita Marshall, DVM, director of livestock programs, and Mila Berhane provided tours of the Experiment Station and Horticulture area.

The program is administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International
Development, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. To read more about the Borlaug
Fellowship Program, visit: http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/borlaug/borlaug.htm

Friday, September 4

Malekian receives Polaris Award

Southern University Ag Center researcher Fatemeh Malekian received the Polaris Award from The Greater Baton Rouge Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. during its seventh annual banquet.   Named for the North Star, the award highlights volunteers who have favorably affected diversity and unity in the Baton Rouge area.  Malekian was recognized for her research and work with  health and nutrition, community outreach, childhood obesity, and food safety. The Greater Baton Rouge Pan-Hellenic Council is a non-profit service organization composed of representatives from eight of the nine Greek-letter organizations. 

Thursday, September 3

Beat the Back to School Blues

Many children feel nervous or even scared the first few weeks of  school because of all the new things: new teachers, new friends, and maybe even a new school. Luckily, these "new" worries only stick around for a little while. You can beat the back to school blues by knowing what to expect.

Going Back to School Tips
  • Get enough sleep so you will be able to stay awake in class.
  • Eat a balanced breakfast to give you the energy you will need.
  • Try to go to school with a positive attitude every day (although it's OK to have a blue funk sometimes).
  • Give school your best effort.
  • Develop good work habits. That means writing down your assignments and turning in your homework on time.
  • Take your time with assignments in and out of the classroom, If you don't understand something, ask the teacher.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
Read more tips at http://www.suagcenter.com/News%20Archives/Jul-Aug2005/BackToSchool.html