Friday, April 30

Beef Cattle Field Day slated for May 15

Cattle producers are invited to a Beef Cattle Field Day on Saturday, May 15, at the Southern University Ag Center, M.A. Edmond Livestock Arena, Highway 61N, in Alsen.

The field day will include lessons on beef production, forages, nutrition, herd health,pesticides, weeds, Estrus synchronization, artificial insemination, body conditioning and scoring, Louisiana Cattle Market, and mixed-grazing research.
Lunch is provided to registrants. Registration begins at 8 am.  
Speakers include Dr. Chris Robichaux, county agent, St. Martin; Dr. Divia Jaroni, food microbiologist, and Christie Monroe, assistant director, livestock show programs, Southern University Ag Center; and Crispen Kinner, county agent, Nacogdoches, Texas.
To register, contact the Southern University Ag Center Livestock Show Programs Office at (225) 771-2242.

Small Farmer Ag Institute continues third class

The 3rd class of the Small Farmer Ag Leadership Institute training took place at North Carolina A&T State University, March 18-20. 

More than 30 participants from 12 states gathered for hands-on learning in and out of the classroom. Classroom session presenters and topics included: Mike Lanier, Agribusiness agent, Orange County Center—How to Direct Market Local Farm Products; Robin Adams, director of agricultural communications, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, NC A&T SU—Make It Plain: Communication for Success; Gary S. Bullen, extension associate, North Carolina State University—Tools, and Methods of Evaluating a New Enterprise; Carmen Humphrey, chef, Marketing Grants and Technical Assistance Branch—An Overview of USDA/Agricultural Marketing Service and Programs that Benefit Small Farmers; and Michelle Eley, Extension, NC A&T SU—Establishing an Effective Marketing Plan. 

The trip culminated in a small farm tour of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. The small farm tour included visits to the high tunnels/greenhouse, blueberries/raspberries, crop rotation/livestock rotation and post-harvest handling facilities.  Immediately following the training session, positive feedbacks were noted on Facebook sites. 

First, the North Carolina CEFS had this to say: “Thanks to the Small Farm Leadership Institute for visiting CEFS today. Thirty-one folks from MS, LA, KY, SC, OK, TX, AR, CO, NC, FL, GA, MO and Al were repre-sented.” Available online on Facebook at:Facebook: 

Second came the headline: Trip to North Carolina Yields Immediate Benefits from Phoenix Gardens in Georgia. “Just got back from my AG Leadership session in North Carolina. Saw a lot of great stuff and got a TON of great information,” posted Brennan Washington on Facebook. 

Washington is continuing his journey as a member of Southern University's Agricultural Leadership Institute.

He continues to express his experience and knowledge gained. “The highlight of our session was a trip to a research farm jointly run by North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State University and local organizations. Among the things I saw was their swine opera-tion and their organic farm plots. Of particular interest to me were their high tunnel operations in which they were growing strawberries and other crops.” 

“We learned about a growing tube that we plan to put into use in our melon growing project this sum-mer. As is always the case, I came home with information that would immediately help me in my quest to sustainably grow food here in Law-renceville, Georgia. Thanks to Southern University and North Carolina A&T,” Brennan concluded. 

Visit the Phoenix Gardens site at:!/pages/Lawrenceville-GA/Phoenix-Gardens/193889153474 

Dawn Mellion-Patin, PhD, agriculture specialist, is director of the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute. 

Thursday, April 29

National 4-H conference rejuvenates Louisiana youth

Four Louisiana students arrived in Washington, D.C. last month to attend the 2010 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The six-day conference consisted of youth delegates from 49 states and two countries representing 1862, 1890, and 1994 land grant colleges and universities. 

The youth delegation from the SU Ag Center were: Kaylon Benjamin, sophomore, Lafayette High School; Jeremi Edwards, junior, La Grange High School; Darrell Griffin, sopho-more, St. Helena Central High School; and Kori Williams, sophomore, Thurgood Marshall Early College High School, New Orleans. Supervis-ing the group were Wanda Burke, PhD, youth development specialist, and Hendrix Broussard, assistant area agent, Orleans Parish. 

The youth participated in roundtable discussions about their respective state programs and shared ideas that they could take from other states and use to make an impact on youth back in their home communities. 

The delegates got a chance to tour his-toric landmarks, witness the changing of the guards at the Tombs of The Un-known Soldiers, and see the 911 me-morial at the Pentagon. They also met with some elected officials from Lou-isiana to address youth issues in their communities. They met with Congressman Charlie Melancon, Congressman William Cassidy, Senator David Vitter, and an assistant to Senator Mary Landrieu. Another highlight of the trip was meeting Oscar award-winner Monique while at the airport in New Orleans. 

Tuesday, April 20

8th Annual Fair Housing Summit slated for Thursday

 Glenn Harris is the luncheon keynote speaker for the 2010 Fair Housing Summit being held at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Thursday, April 22, 2010.  He is the Manager of the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI).  The Initiative works to eliminate institutionalized racism in City government and promote multiculturalism and full participation by all residents.
Glenn previously served four years as the Southeast District Coordinator for the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.  Southeast is one of Seattle’s most diverse neighborhoods; 80% of residents are people of color and of those 40% are recent immigrants.  As the liaison between the City and the many diverse communities within southeast Seattle, Glenn worked with residents, neighborhood groups, business associations, and issue-based organizations to inform the community of City program and policies, while also responding to residents’ interests.
Glenn came to City government after four years association with Western States Center, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides technical assistance, training, research and policy analysis in an eight-state region to organizations working to achieve social change.  Glenn was the Center’s development director and anti-racism trainer.
The City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative builds on the work of the civil rights movement and the ongoing efforts of individuals and groups in Seattle to confront racism.  The Initiative’s long-term goal is to change the underlying system that creates race-based disparities in our community in order to achieve racial equity.
In addition to Harris, presenting at the Summit are:  James Perry, Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, James Gilmore, CEO of Bayard Research Group LLC, Rhonda Jackson, Manager of OXFAM America Gulfcoast Program, Atty. Marla N. Williams, Executive Director of Louisiana Housing Alliance, Kenyetta Nelson-Smith, Assistant Specialist of Community and Economic Development at the Southern University Ag Center, and Edward Ashworth, Louisiana Budget Project Director for LANO.
Seven sessions will convene including four tracks of training for participants.  Workshop topics and panel discussions will include:  Community Benefits Agreements; A Portrait of Louisiana; and Residential, Rental, Lending and Insurance Housing Issues. 
Co-sponsors for this event are:  UREC, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Capital One, Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless, Louisiana Housing Alliance, The Homeownership Center, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, Wells Fargo, Greater Baton Rouge Community and Economic Development Coalition, and Louisiana Housing Community Economic Development Collaborative.
For additional information, contact UREC at (225) 356-8871 ext. 211 or visit to download the registration form from UREC’s Resource Library.

Monday, April 19

Trail riders enjoy horse competition

Vincent Williams, president of LA Posse Trail Riders, Lacombe, Louisiana, was a first timer at the Southern University Ag Center's annual horse show and trail ride this weekend. 

Williams is 1992 SU alumnus and has been showing horses and trail riding for more than 30 years.  He found out from other riders about the SU show and decided to join the fun. Now, he plans to return next year because "it was a pleasure".  

He joined more than 400 horsemen, women, and youth who gathered at the M.A. Edmund Livestock Arena for the annual competition that is organized by the Center's Livestock Show Programs Office. 

For more information on the horseshow, contact Christie Monroe, assistant director, livestock show programs, at (225) 771-2242 ext. 330 or christie_monroe(at) (Photo by Bridget Udoh) 

Monday, April 12

Trail Riders leave Monroe for 7-day journey to SU Ag Center Horse Show

Members of the Bayou State Trail Riders saddled up at the Monroe Civic Center, yesterday  heading to Southern University in Baton Rouge for the 40th Annual Horse Show and Trail Ride this weekend.

The trail ride will camp overnight in Archibald, Winnsboro, Clayton, Ferriday, St. Francisville and Baton Rouge and make special stops at schools along the route.

The journey is scheduled to last seven days, ending with the riders joining more than 500 riders who will gather at the Ag Center's M.A. Edmond Livestock Arena in Alsen, Friday, April 16. The group will make a scholarship presentation at Southern University's Baton Rouge campus, Friday at noon.

On Saturday at 2 pm, trail riders will caravan from F.G. Clark Activity Center, through North Baton Rouge and into the arena in Alsen.

Horse show events include: timed horse events, stick horse events for kids, gaited horse show, music by Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band. 

Horsemen and youth will compete in pee-wee, open, old timer, and junior barrel; tie-downs; break aways; team roping; steer dogging; and steer undecorating. 

Daily gate fee is $10 or $15 for the weekend. Children 12 and under are free entrants. Gates opens at noon Friday and at 7 am Saturday. No four-wheelers allowed. For more information, view the Horse Show announcement at

Monroe News Star photographer Arely D. Castillo captured photos of the Trail Riders leaving Monroe. View them at

Contact: Christie Monroe, assistant livestock show director, (225) 771-2242 ext. 328 or christie_monroe(at) 

German engineer to present tree decay detection workshop

German engineer Lothar Göcke of Aargus Electronic Gmbh will present sonic tomography during an April 19 workshop on tree decay detection at the Southern University Ag Center.
principal engineer during development of sonic tomography since 1997, Göcke will discuss sonic tomography, electric impedance tomography, and static tree pulling tests for assessing tree stability.

Topics will include: sonic tomography for detection of tree decay; electric impedance tomography and how to use it in combination with sonic scans; instruments for tree pulling tests; and effects of Hurricanes on trees. 

On-site demonstration of the electric impedance tomography and pulling test instruments. 

The workshop begins at 10am in Room 138 of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, A. O. Williams Hall, in Baton Rouge. (Directions at )

To participate, request a registration form from Dr. Yadong Qi, professor of urban forestry at yadong_qi(at) or (225) 771-2242.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Hosted by the Southern University's Ag Center and and Urban Forestry Program. 

Photo by Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service,

Friday, April 9

Radio interview focuses on FFA Career Development Event

Last month, Southern University hosted the 16th Career Development Event for FFA Region IV chapters. 

One of the event organizers William Augustine, research assistant with the Southern University Ag Center, was interviewed about the 1,100 students who traveled to the campus to participate in seven competitions.

Tune in Sunday, April 11, to Baton Rouge's MAX 94.1FM at 6pm-8pm to hear Augustine discuss the highlights of the event. For more information, visit or contact Augustine at (225) 771-2242 ext. 287 william_augustine(at)

Small Ruminant field day, continuing education session set for April 23, 24

The latest research-based information on raising small ruminants – sheep and goats – will be presented at two consecutive events: a continuing education session for extension agents and veterinarians on April 23 and a field day for producers on April 24. 

Both events will be at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge.

Registration for the April 23 continuing education sessions will begin at 9 a.m. in room 1212C of the School of Veterinary Medicine on Skip Bertman Drive between Nicholson Drive and River Road. The sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. on small ruminant herd and flock health and parasite control. Lunch is included in the registration fee and will be followed by sessions on nutrition for show and commercial production and grooming and management essentials. Continuing education fees are $20 for agents and $50 for veterinarians to receive five hours of credit from the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association. Speakers include Dr. David Pugh from Fort Dodge and Dr. Christine Navarre and Dr. Jim Miller from LSU.

The April 24 Small Ruminant Producer Field Day will feature speakers on the status of small ruminant production, grazing and forages, carcass yields and meat characteristics from different breeds, management and marketing for new and existing sheep and goat enterprises, and target marketing. Afternoon demonstrations will be on farmer market booths, FAMACHA training for parasite loads, and routine management practices.

Registration fees for the producer field day are $10 for an individual and $20 for families, with an additional $10 fee for FAMACHA certification. 

Field Day registration begins at 8 a.m. in the same room and will start at 8:30 a.m. Field Day speakers include Stuart Gardner from Natural Resources Conservation Service; Curtis Chisley from Southern University; and Blake Ryals of  Ryals Goat Dairy in Mississippi. The events are co-sponsored by the LSU AgCenter, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Producers, veterinarians and agents can pre-register or obtain additional information on the two events from Ken McMillin at 225-578-3438 or; Jim Miller at 225-578-9652; Sebhatu Gebrelul at 225-771-2262 or; or Lisa Gray at 225-771-2262 ext. 316 or

Wednesday, April 7

400 attend annual business procurement conference

More than 400 business owners and contractors had the opportunity to network and meet contracting officers and purchasing agents for local, state, and federal agents during the Sixth Annual Connecting Businesses with Contracts Procurement Conference on March 23.

“They also received excellent information on how to successfully market their business, as well as, pointers regarding the new Disadvantaged Business Enterprise American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Bonding Assistance Reimbursable Fee Program, along with the Small Business Administration Surety Bond Guarantee Program that now guarantees up to $5 million,” said Gloria London, director of the Center for Small and Rural Business Development at the Southern University Ag Center.

This procurement conference brings together potential and existing contractors, entrepreneurs and government agencies for business match making opportunities. “Through this (free event) participants increase their knowledge and skills about business development, contracting and business sustainability,” said Eual Hall, business development specialist with the Center.

Representatives from the United States General Service Administration discussed federal supply schedules, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided pertinent information on food commodity contracting opportunities. The Louisiana State Contractors Licensing Board and the Louisiana Office of State Purchasing presented steps to becoming licensed contractors and participating in other state contracting programs including the Hudson and Veteran initiatives.

The procurement conference is hosted annually by the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and its Center for Rural and Small Business Development,   Louisiana Small Business Development Center in Baton Rouge, United States Small Business Administration, Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and Louisiana Economic Development.

Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company, Communities of Color Network, USDA Rural Development, Southern University System Foundation, Entergy, DEMCO, and Urban Restoration and Enhancement Corporation were sponsors. 

Next year, this conference will be held on March 29 at Southern University.

Farmers get assistance with Pigford claims

Louisiana farmers and producers who need to know how receive funds from the recent black farmer discrimination lawsuit are invited to the Southern University Ag Center and LSU Hammond Research Station next week to learn more.

Last month, the USDA and the Department of Justice announced a $1.25 billion settlement for farmers claiming they suffered racial discrimination in USDA loan programs. Under the terms of the new settlement, individual farmers may demonstrate their entitlement to relief through a non-judicial claims process.

The Louisiana Association of Cooperatives and the Fiduciary Management Group, LLC, will host two meetings pertaining to the process, the Pigford settlement, key financials of the settlement, what farmers are eligible, and the three classes of farmers affected.

The meetings are: Friday, April 16, 2010 at the LSU Hammond Research Station, 21549 Old Covington Highway in Hammond at 11am; and Saturday, April 17, at the Southern University Ag Center, Bldg 181 B.A. Little Drive in Baton Rouge at 11am.

Contact the Louisiana Association of Cooperatives Office for more information at (504) 319-1085 or email lcooperatives(at) 

Monday, April 5

Ag Center hosts state's largest rabbit show, Saturday, April 10

The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will host the 39th Annual Rabbit Show, Saturday, April 10, at the M.A. Edmond Livestock Arena, on Highway 61N in Alsen.

Show activities begin at 8:30 a.m.

With competitions in 16 sanctioned rabbit breeds, this show is the largest in the state. Organizers anticipate more than 250 youth exhibitors showcasing their rabbit. Participating youth represent FFA chapters, 4-H Clubs, and other school groups. The annual event that teaches leadership skills, character development, and entrepreneurship skills.

The Rabbit Show is sanctioned by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, and is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Rabbit Breeders Association.

For more information, contact Renita Marshall, DVM, livestock show programs director, (225) 771-2242 ext. 330 or renita_marshall(at)

All events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 1