Monday, December 19

AG CENTER YOUTH SINGS AT LSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL GAME

BATON ROUGE, LA – SU Ag Center youth are excelling on all fronts. Daisha Christine Badon once again had an opportunity to do something exciting and special with her God-given talent.

In September, the LSU Athletics Department and the LSU School of Music selected Daisha to sing the national anthem at LSU Athletics events this year. She performed at the LSU Women’s Basketball game in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, December 18.

Badon is a graduating senior from Brusly High where she has been a member of the school’s choir and the talented art program. She currently sings with St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Youth Choir, under the direction of Celeste Veillion and studies piano with Ronald Perry of Baker Music. In addition, Daisha enjoys dancing. She is celebrating twelve years of dance education with Machita and Company of Port Allen.

After graduation from high school, she plans to major in music and performing arts, and further her education at the renowned Julliard in New York.

Badon is the daughter of Dwayne and Donna Badon of Brusly, and big sister to Dara.

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Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Session Held in Houston

Baton Rouge, LA - The Southern University Ag Center based Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute, Class IV held its second training session at Prairie View A&M University in Houston, December 14-17. The group consisting of 31 participants from 12 southern states came together for farm tours and classroom lectures. The first stop was Yonder Way Farm, which began in 2006 when owners Jason and Lynsyn Kramer decided to live out their dreams of owning a farm. Their business goal is to be good stewards of the land and raise their animals free of confinement in a natural environment. Classroom lectures included lessons such as, team building, leadership, diversity training, farming as a business, and creating a resource inventory. In all, 47 individuals attended the event.


For further detail, please contact Mellion-Patin, Project Director at (225)771-3532.

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Thursday, December 8

Southern University Ag Center Spotlighted in National Newsletter

Dr. Walker
Baton Rouge, LA – The Southern University Ag Center was spotlighted in the December issue of USDA National Organic Program Insider Newsletter. The spotlight followed a September visit to Louisiana by Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). During his visit, Dr. C. Reuben Walker gave McEvoy a guided tour of the Ag Center. Walker serves as one of 15 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) members. He succeeds Professor Owusu Bandele who served on the board from 2000-2005. The federal statutory board advises the Secretary of Agriculture on Organic policy. The Board meets twice a month to address organic agriculture issues.

The National Organic Board’s Organic Insider newsletter mentioned SU Ag Center on page 1 and spotlighted it on page 11 of the December issue. The spotlight focuses on the Center’s organic and sustainable agriculture production activities. The Organic Insider has a wide readership of approximately 3,500 internationally.

The full article is available online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5090466.

For further detail, please contact Reuben Walker at 225-771-3111

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Wednesday, December 7

Scotlandville community identified as the largest "Food Desert" in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, LA - The US Department of Agriculture has identified the Scotlandville community as the largest "Food Desert" in Baton Rouge. More than 18,000 people live in Scotlandville, and 89% of that community has "unacceptably low-access" to quality food.

The Together Baton Rouge (TBR) Food Access Team is working to bring a high-quality grocery store to Scotlandville, to address this food desert.

The TBR is conducting a "Food Access Survey" to demonstrate the need and the support for better food access in North Baton Rouge. Several congregations are planning a SURVEY SUNDAY on the Sunday before Christmas, to share this information and build a large base of survey participants.

Citizens located in, or near Scotlandville are encouraged to participate in the SURVEY SUNDAY-December 18. The survey is attached.

For more information, or to arrange dropping off completed surveys, please contact Edgar Cage, co-chair of the TBR Food Access Team, at (225)774-7979. Details are available on the website of Together Baton Rouge: www.togetherbr.org

For further detail, please contact Fatemeh Malekian at 225-771-2242

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USDA Seeks public comments on proposed Livestock Rule

Baton Rouge, LA - The USDA has proposed a traceability rule for livestock that will require identification for animals that enter interstate commerce. The purpose of this rule, called the Animal Disease Traceability Proposed Rule, is to find the source of any disease outbreak quickly.

Cattle, horses, goats, poultry, swine are among the livestock included. The rule is to take effect in early 2013 and the states will administer it. In addition to identification, veterinary health certificates will be required for all animals not covered by an exemption.

More information and access to the proposed rule are available at www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/

The public is invited to review the rule and submit comments by December 9 at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0091-0001 or via email to traceability@aphis.usda.gov or by Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery to: Docket No. APHIS-2009-0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit
118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

For further detail, please contact Emily King at 225-771-2242

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Tuesday, November 29

Pigford Settlement Claims Filing Period Opens for Farmers and Ranchers

Baton Rouge, LA - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently reminded African American farmers and ranchers that the period to file a claim in the Pigford II settlement has opened, and eligible candidates must file claims no later than May 11, 2012.

"With the opening of the claims process, African American farmers and ranchers who believe they are entitled to compensation under the Pigford II settlement must file a claim within 180 days in order to receive cash payment or loan forgiveness," said Secretary Vilsack. "The opening of this claims process marks another milestone in USDA's efforts to correct the wrongs of the past and ensure fair treatment to all current and future customers."

In February, USDA and Department of Justice announced an agreement with African American farmers to settle the Pigford II litigation for $1.25 billion. Congress passed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 that funded the settlement in November 2010, and the bill was signed by President Obama in December 2010.

The settlement arises from a class action lawsuit against USDA that alleges the Department discriminated against African-Americans who applied for or attempted to apply for farm loans or other farm benefits between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996. The settlement applies only to African-American farmers who meet specific eligibility requirements, including the requirement that they previously submitted a request to file a late claim in the 1999 Pigford I class action Consent Decree.

The filing period opened November 14, 2011, and continues for 180 days, until May 11, 2012.

Claimant services representatives can also be reached through calling 1-877-810-8110 or 1-866-950-5547. Claimants must register for a claims package (by calling the number or visiting the website) and the claims package will be mailed to claimants. All those interested in learning more or receiving information about the claims process and claims packages are encouraged to attend a meeting and contact the website or claims telephone number.

The website is www.blackfarmercase.com

The call number is 1-877-810-8110 or 1-866-950-5547

Claims period: November 14, 2011 to May 11, 2012

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Monday, November 28

Opelousas fights teen violence through summits

Baton Rouge, LA - Opelousas held its first Teen Summit on November 22 attracting a small cheering crowd .The the City of Opelousas sponsored the summit aimed at helping stop teen violence. The speakers ranged from former coach Raymond Duplechain to Dr. Aubrey Williams with Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives, a satellite entity of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

"I didn't know what to expect, but it was real. They gave them the Word, no ifs, ands or buts about it," said Elizabeth Dave, who brought her two teenage children to the summit, held in the teen center in South City Park.

Community activist Tyrone Glover, who organized the summit, said he and the other presenters hope to make this a regular event.

"We'd like to do this at least four times a year. We definitely want to help our youth and parents," Glover said.

The program was prompted by the death of a young man earlier this year who was killed in a knife fight with another teenager.

"There is too much violence going on. We need to start cleaning up the problem," Glover said.

During the program, Glover spoke of his own youth growing up in Opelousas, which saw him involved in many fights and drug dealing.

"I was part of the problem for a long time. Now I'm losing sleep trying to be part of the solution, but I can't do it alone. We need everyone to get involved," Glover told the assembled parents and teenagers.

Glover then introduced Lt. Donald Young, one of the Opelousas Police officers who helped get him off the street by arresting him.

"I'm a product of the streets from a single parent home," Young told the teens. "I know the streets are tough and peer pressure is running wild. We are losing a generation to crime and senseless violence."

While giving advice to the teens, Young also spoke to the parents, telling them the solution begins in the home. "It is all about keeping the lines of communication open," Young told the parents.

He also urged the teens to show respect to their parents. "They have been there."

Young then introduced former coach Raymond Duplechain, who Young said served as the father figure he did not have at home when he was growing up.

Duplechain's message was about choices. "If you want to change the results, you need to change yourself. Everything you do is a choice," Duplechain said.

Next, Dr. Aubrey Williams with the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives spoke on the importance of respect and emphasized that the goal of the meeting was to help young people understand respect for themselves and others.

"Respect is the first step. If they don't have respect for others, they can't have respect for themselves," Williams said.

From this initial meeting, Williams said the group hopes to work with the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives on a number of workshops to share lessons on leadership, character building and alternatives.

The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives is a satellite entity of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. For more information, contact the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives at 943-2410.

The Opelousas Daily World covered the event. The article is available at: http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20111124/NEWS01/111240312/Summit-seeks-end-teen-violence

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Tuesday, November 22

SU Ag Center receives national 4-H mentoring award

Baton Rouge, LA - The National 4-H Council intends to award a grant in the amount of $82,000 for its Mentoring Program – OJJDP Award 2011-MU-MU-0026 to Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Upon clearance of final application documents the related grant agreement will be issued.


For further details, please contact Tiffany Franklin at 225-771-2242.

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Monday, November 21

Health official applauds smoke free policy at SU System

Baton Rouge, LA - Louisiana Public Health Institute CEO Joseph Kimbrell sent a congratulatory letter to Southern University for implementing a system wide tobacco-free policy that goes into effect Jan. 2, 2011.


The SU Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network Program initiated the policy which recently met the Southern University Board of Supervisors’ approval.

The letter states that “While the university complies with the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act by maintaining smoke-free indoor facilities, the Southern University Board of Supervisors decided to go above and beyond by approving a policy that makes the campus grounds and events completely tobacco free, including prohibiting distribution, advertising or gifting of any such products.”

Read the full letter at the Advocate online. http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/1293328-123/letter-tobacco-free-su-campus-lauded.html

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Monday, November 14

SU Ag Center Celebrates Great American Smoke Out Day with a Cook Out

Southern University Ag Center is taking the lead in “clearing the smoke” with a kickoff celebration on November 17th. Southern University System Board of Supervisors adopted a 100% Tobacco-free policy on October 28 for all campuses effective January 2, 2012.


The Communities of Color Network (CoC) has been instrumental in providing educational awareness activities and advocacy events throughout the System in excess of four years under the direction of Linda Early Brown. Mrs. Brown states that “the vision of the University to adopt a 100% tobacco-free policy is phenomenal because it ensures the health and well-being of the University community.” This Kick Off celebration is in conjunction with the nationwide celebration, Great American Smoke Out.

CoC recognizes that quitting is hard, but smokers can increase their chances of success with help. Please join the SU Ag Center on November 17th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in a tailgate style Cook Off on the lawn of A. O. Williams Hall, featuring our chef, Chancellor Leodrey Williams and his staff of Sous Chefs (men at the Ag Center). Specialty foods will consist of the famous Ag Burgers and hot dogs! Free giveaways, cessation information and much, much more will be shared.

Frankie Poland, regional coordinator takes pride in the CoC’s motto which states “we are not waiting for the smoke to clear, but we are clearing the smoke.” She further emphasizes that by planning to quit, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.

CoC invites you to join the SU Ag Center in this fun-filled, educational event. For further details, please contact Linda Early Brown or Frankie Poland at 225-771-2242.

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Saturday, November 12

SU Ag Center Biosecurity Symposium Highly Successful

Baton Rouge, LA - The SU Ag Center urban forestry scientist, Daniel Collins, PhD, held a Biosecurity Symposium, Nov. 8-9, featuring George Washington Carver. Best known for his work popularizing the farming of peanuts and sweet potatoes, Carver also researched the fungi that preyed upon those and other crops.

The Advocate carried the story in the news section of the newspaper, November 9. The full story is available online at: http://theadvocate.com/news/1274452-123/su-exhibit-sheds-light-on.html

For further detail, please contact Dr. Daniel Collins at 225-771-2242

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SU Ag Center Chancellor to Receive Brotherhoood/Sisterhood Award

Baton Rouge, LA - Leodrey Williams, Chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and Roberta Madden, a former YWCA activist, will be honored at the 2011 Brotherhood/Sisterhood Awards Dinner on Wednesday, November 16 at 7 p.m.

The 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, in partnership with the 2011 Brotherhood/Sisterhood Dinner Committee will host the 49th annual awards dinner at the Hilton Capitol Center, 201 Lafayette Street.

Both Madden and Williams have long, impressive records of accomplishment of making outstanding contributions to the community in an effort to help break down barriers that divide society and stop people from achieving their goals. Madden's past includes a remarkable history of actively working, largely through the YWCA, to foster improved interracial and interpersonal relations within our community.

Williams has worked tirelessly for nearly 40 years to overcome barriers as well to help improve relationships among the races, faith organizations, and people of different socioeconomic backgrounds throughout the state of Louisiana.

The Brotherhood/Sisterhood Awards Dinner annually recognizes two outstanding individuals in the Greater Baton Rouge community who have devoted their professional, philanthropic, and volunteer capacities to humanitarian service. In advancing the mission of joining hands across racial, socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious lines, the honorees of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Awards have worked to break down the barriers that divide the community and prevent its citizens from working and living together in harmony.

The award is steeped in tradition, starting in 1963 under the leadership of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ). In 2006, the 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge assumed the legacy of this event from the NCCJ, which closed its doors in Baton Rouge that same year.

Tickets and table sponsorships are available. Individual tickets are $115 per person. Table sponsorships are available at the following levels: Gold - $3,500; Silver - $2,500; and Bronze - $1,500. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the 100 Black Men Office at (225) 356-9444.

Funds raised through the event go to support programs and services in the Baton Rouge area that help to advance the acceptance of racial, socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious ideas through the local community.

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Wednesday, November 9

Claims for Black Farmer Discrimination Case Against USDA Begins Nov. 14

Baton Rouge, LA - The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund announced on November 9 that the period for claimants in the lawsuit to file their claims will begin on November 14, 2011 and last for six (6) months.

On October 27, Judge Paul Friedman in the U.S. District Court approved the settlement for Pigford II lawsuit filed by black farmers against the USDA (otherwise known as "In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation").

The period for claimants in the lawsuit to file their claims will begin on November 14, 2011. It will be a 180-day period (6 months).

Here are some of the important details for everyone to understand about the process:

(1) Meeting with class counsel: Class counsel will be holding numerous meetings throughout the country to meet with claimants during the 6 month period to fill out the claim forms.

(2) Getting the claim forms: Late filers and those who think they are late filers in this second phase of the Black Farmer litigation should call the lawsuit administrator, EPIQ at 877 810 8110, to ask that their claim form be mailed to them. This should be done as soon as possible for a few reasons:

(a) All claimants will have a bar-coded claim form that is specific to the claimant and cannot be used by anyone else;

(b) The claimants will need to bring the claim form with them when they meet with class counsel to fill out the claim form.

(3) Time period for receiving relief payments: No payments will be sent to claimants who are successful in the lawsuit until the entire universe of all successful claimants is known. Class counsel has told us that they hope payments will be sent to successful claimants around the end of 2012 or into early 2013.

(4) Some misunderstandings of who is in the lawsuit and what to do: We are aware of many questions people have about their potential class membership. If individuals have any questions about whether or not they are in the lawsuit, they should immediately call the administrator in the lawsuit (EPIQ at 877-810-8110) to ask if they are on the list of claimants.

The claim form asks the farmer a set of questions about the years they farmed (this lawsuit applies to the period 1981 to 1996); the size and location of their farm or farms; the crops and or livestock they raised or intended to raise; the USDA loan(s) or other services they were seeking; the discriminatory treatment they received from USDA; and whether they complained about their treatment and to whom. Individual claimants should include on the claim form all incidents of discrimination they experienced from the USDA to include both loan and non-loan program requests.

"Many farmers are under the impression that they have already made a claim", said Ralph Paige, Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. "This is not the case. We have been fighting for ten years for late claimants to have their cases heard on their merits. Farmers will now get that chance and have the opportunity to make their case on their claim form. Our staff will be available to advise and assist people in this process."

Relevant documents:
* In re Black Farmer Litigation Settlement
* Judge Paul Friedman's Court Order
* Original Pigford v Glickman Consent Decree
For further details, contact Heather Gray at 404-765-0991; heathergray@federation.coop;
http://www.federation.coop/

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Monday, November 7

SU Ag Center to Host Organic Training and Listening Session, December 1

Baton Rouge, LA - USDA NRCS Organic Training and Listening Sessions will take place in November and December throughout Louisiana.

December 1: Ashford O. Williams Hall - Southern University Ag Center, B.A. Little Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70813

November 29: Dean Lee Research Center, 8208 Tom Bowman Drive, Alexandria, LA 71302

November 30: Lomax Hall - Louisiana Tech University, 201 Lomax Drive, Ruston, LA 71272

For further detail, please contact Carl E. Motsenbocker, Ph.D., at 225-578-1036 or email: cmotsenbocker@agcenter.lsu.edu

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Friday, November 4

Historic Settlement for Black Farmers

CNN reporter announced on October 28 thatTens of thousands of American farmers who suffered racial discrimination by the U.S. Agriculture Department in the 1980s and '90s may start getting compensation from a $1.25 billion settlement, a federal judge has ruled.”

"I'm very pleased that this has resolved itself," U.S. District judge Paul Friedman said. "It will provide relief to an awful lot of people."

 In an opinion filed in the case, Friedman deemed fair a proposed settlement that provides a system of compensation for black farmers who joined a class-action lawsuit claiming that they can prove racial bias in decisions related to Agriculture Department programs and support.

"Historical discrimination cannot be undone," Friedman wrote, citing a basis to establish payments "for the broken promise to those African-American farmers and their descendants."

As many as 68,000 African-American farmers who filed between 1999 and 2008 would apply for one of two forms of relief: "Track A" for a qualified claimant would lead to an uncontested payout of $50,000 after taxes, and "Track B" could yield up to $250,000 for damages that are substantiated by documents and other evidence.

"So many farmers had given up hope that this would ever come to pass," said John Boyd, the head of the National Black Farmers Association.

 Boyd said that "It's gonna take about a year to run all the farmers through the system, each case will have to be looked at in a forum that's also looked at by the court. Once the cases are checked, then the farmers start to get their money."

President Obama said in a statement that the settlement "is another important step forward in addressing an unfortunate chapter in USDA's civil rights history. This agreement will provide overdue relief and justice to African-American farmers and bring us closer to the ideals of freedom and equality that this country was founded on."

Friedman recalled details of presiding over the Pigford v. Glickman case in the 1990s, named after Tim Pigford, a black farmer who claimed racial bias in applications for USDA programs and financing.

"The farmers didn't think anything would come of it. They had been disappointed over the years by the government," Friedman said, "yet 16,000 of them collected something like $1.1 billion in that case."

Word spread that the government was willing to pay reparations, but other farmers who had valid claims of bias had missed the deadline to file. Friedman said Congress and the president then extended the statute of limitations "to get these disappointed people back in the case."

Boyd said the problem now is making sure farmers who became "late filers" are now aware the settlement is ready to go.

"Some of these guys were in their 60s and maybe by now have passed away," Boyd said. "Their family needs to know that if Daddy filed, they can still pursue his claim."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who in recent years easily acknowledged a history of racial bias among federal and local staff members in managing farm programs, said that he is "thrilled by the court's approval so we can continue turning the page on this sad chapter in USDA history."

 Friedman, reflecting on having spent more than 10 years on the case, said a documented history of African-American farming is a side benefit from all the research that has gone into "Pigford I" and "Pigford II," as the follow-up case became known.

With the two Pigford cases come details on the farming lives of tens of thousands of African-Americans that Friedman said will stand as "a case history of the claimants parents and grandparents." He said historians and lawyers will figure out how to make that record public while respecting privacy concerns.

Paul Courson, CNN
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Thursday, November 3

SU Ag Center Receives Shares from Corporation


L-R: Joe Mule, A.W.Szur, Dr.Leodrey Williams, Dr.Kirkland Mellad, Dr.Bhattachary Pradeep, Dr. Yemane Ghebreiyessus

This summer, the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center conducted a performance test to evaluate equipment for Drinkable Air Technologies from June to August. The major goal of the company is to improve the environment using new technologies at affordable prices. 

On October 18, the company donated ten thousand (10,000) fully paid and non-assessable shares of the Drinkable Air, Inc. to the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in return for participating in evaluating their equipment.
The objective of the study is to perform equipment performance test on the machine with respect to quantity and quality of water produced and electric usage in terms of kilowatt hours (KWH) consumed. 

The equipment was placed on level concrete blocks and was connected to 220 volts electrical box and meter to measure the electric usage (KWH) for water production. Volume of water produced and KWH consumed were measured at different intervals (5 min, one hour, 12 hours and 24 hours). Daily hourly temperature and relative humidity were obtained from the Southern University weather station located approximately 300 ft away from the equipment. Water was collected in a graduated cylinder and 5-gallon containers. For water quality analysis, filtered and unfiltered water was collected and is being analyzed in a laboratory.

Water production varied from 1.98 to 4.45 gal/hr and the average electric usage per hour was 6 KWH. Clouds and rain significantly influenced the temperature, humidity and water production. 

The advantage of this study is an opportunity to conduct further research that could integrate the unit with solar panels or wind turbine to harvest water for drinking as well as for watering gardens. This way of atmospheric water harvesting has great potential for wide agricultural use. For example, using solar panels and the machine can grow plants with no need of rainfall. Details of the study are available at
http://www.drinkable-air.com/index.htm

Yemane Ghebreiyessus, professor, urban forestry; Roosevelt Payne, research associate; and Mila Berhane, senior research associate of the SU Ag Center conducted the equipment evaluation.

For further details, please contact Dr. Yemane at 225-771-2242.

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SU Ag Center Receives USDA Funding for Rural Economic Development

On October 28, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding to provide business development assistance to entrepreneurs, agribusinesses, cooperatives and communities in economically challenged rural areas. USDA Rural Development is providing the assistance through cooperative agreements with ten 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. The announcement was made on the Secretary's behalf by Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien while attending a local Farm Bill listening session in Selma, Alabama.

"These 1890 institutions have some of the best agricultural science and business education programs in the nation," Vilsack said. "They also have the capacity and expertise to help small and emerging rural businesses develop income-producing projects."
The institutions will use funding from USDA Rural Development to deliver entrepreneurial training, business start-up assistance, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, website development training, and other programs designed to cultivate new business opportunities and create jobs. For example, Delaware State University's Delaware Center for Enterprise Development is among this year's recipients. The Center's mobile training facility is receiving a $75,000 USDA award to increase the capacity of entrepreneurs, small and limited-resource farmers, community leaders and others to develop and use renewable energy.

"Projects like these will increase employment and income opportunities for rural Americans, which is a key priority for USDA and the Obama Administration," Tonsager said.
Below is a complete list of awards included in the current announcement:

Alabama A&M University AL, $75,000; Delaware State University DE, $75,000; Florida A&M University FL, $75,000; Fort Valley State University GA, $75,000; Langston University OK, $75,000; North Carolina A&T State University NC, $75,000; Southern University and A&M College LA, $75,000; University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff AR, $75,000; University of Maryland Eastern Shore MD, $75,000; and West Virginia State University WV, $75,000.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and for people who want to live, work, and raise their families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
Read the full announcement at: Rural Developmenthttp://www.rurdev.usda.gov/Home.html

For further detail, please contact Gloria London at 225-771-2242.
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Wednesday, November 2

SU Ag Center Let's Be Totally Clear Program Implements Smoke-free Policy

Baton Rouge, LA - After years of creating educational awareness, booth displays, telephone communications, the Communities of Color Network at SU Ag Center has moved to the next level.

Communities of Color Network  has been working diligently throughout the SU System and Louisiana to effectively disseminate information regarding a tobacco-free existence. After many discussions and considerations, Darren Mire, Chairman of the SU Board of Supervisors, has implemented a 100% Tobacco-Free Policy for the SU System effective January 2, 2012. This policy affects employees, students and visitors.

Southern University System is committed to providing its employees and students with a safe and healthful environment. Southern University System also recognizes the use of tobacco products on campus grounds is detrimental to the health and safety of students, staff, faculty and visitors.

 For further details, please contact Linda Early Brown at: 225-771-2242.

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Friday, October 28

SU Ag Center set for Community Gardening Seminar

Baton Rouge - Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will hold a Community Gardening Seminar, November 1, starting at 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Lori Bushway, Senior Extension Associate, Cornell University will present the seminar themed “Sowing Seeds of Success.” Bushway leads family & adult education in the Garden-Based Learning Program. The event will bring visitors from Cornell University, LSU, Mississippi State and Alcorn State Universities.


Participants will leave this workshop with all the tools needed to launch any type of gardening program in any community setting. Gardening is one of the most notable positive trends in the nation today. This workshop includes introduction to garden benefits; program planning and evaluation; gardening 101; and fundraising.

The seminar is part of the Military Community, Youth and Family Extension Project at the SU Ag Center. For further details, please contact Project Coordinator Tiffany Franklin at (225)771-2775 or via email tiffany_franklin@suagcenter.com

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Thursday, October 27

USDA Designates Louisiana a Primary Natural Disaster Area

Baton Rouge — On Oct. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated all 64 parishes of Louisiana as natural disaster areas due to the combined effects of severe storms, tornadoes, severe spring flooding, Tropical Storm Lee, widespread drought and excessive heat that began Jan. 1, 2011, and continues.

 This designation provides emergency farm loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to natural disasters. Interested farmers may contact their parish Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for this loan program. Loan applications will be received through June 2012.

“Louisiana producers can continue to count on USDA to provide emergency assistance during difficult times,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “America’s farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation’s economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow and out-compete the rest of the world. President Obama and I are committed to using the resources at our disposal to reduce the impact of Tropical Storm Lee and other disasters affecting Louisiana producers and help to get those affected back on their feet.”

All parishes designated natural disaster areas are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merit, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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SU Ag Center to Host a Gaited Horse Show, November 12

The SU Ag Center will host the first JAG-Jubilee Gaited Horse Show on November 12 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena in Baker. The gate will open at 12 noon and the show will begin 4:00 pm. The gate fee is $10 per adult and free for children 10 years old and younger.


For further details, please contact Christie G. Gremillion- Monroe, Livestock Programs Manager at: 225-771-4350 or christie_monroe@suagcenter.com

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Wednesday, October 26

SU Ag Center to Hold Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity Symposium, Nov. 8-9

Symposium reminder

SU Ag Center to Hold Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity Symposium, Nov. 8-9

Scientists and professionals who are working on the frontlines of Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity research will gather for a Symposium at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge on November 8-9 to uncover potential threats to our nation’s natural resources and agriculture.

“This symposium features presentations and demonstrations from researchers at universities and federal and state agencies who are monitoring high consequence plant pathogens, insect pests, and invasive weeds that threaten our nation’s food security and renewable natural resources,” said Daniel Collins, professor of plant pathology and symposium organizer.

Workshop topics include: Graduate Student Poster Session on Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity; Global Challenges of Invasive Species to our Forest Ecosystems; Strategies for Safeguarding American Plant Resources; Global Food Security and Food Safety; Special Session on Contributions of Dr. George Washington Carver to Global Food Security; History of African Americans in Plant Pathology; Educational and Career Opportunities in Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity; Hands-on Demonstrations for K-12 Students, Parents, and Teachers in Global Food Security; Mollusk Detection using Canine Demonstration: USDA National Detector Dog Training Center.

A special session will discuss the contributions of Dr. George Washington Carver to Global Food Security, highlighting the historical and scientific significance of Dr. Carver’s Fungal Specimens he collected as a Collaborator for the Mycology and Plant Disease Survey, USDA Bureau of Plant Industry 1935-43. A display will feature a variety of archival data such as the correspondence between Dr. Carver and the USDA mycologists concerning the survey, digital copies of the fungal specimens, and publications.

The symposium is free and open to the public and media. Registration form, locations and schedules are posted online at http://www.urbanforestry.subr.edu/biosecurity.htm

The Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity Symposium is sponsored by a grant awarded to Collins by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture 1890 Teaching Capacity Building Grants Program for Graduate Education and Training in Global Food Security and Agricultural Bio-Security.

For more information, contact Collins at (225) 771-0218 or Daniel_Collins@subr.edu

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Tuesday, October 25

Southern University Ag Center to Host a Container Gardening Workshop

Workshop Reminder

Baton Rouge, LA - Do you have dead plants in the garden or in your home? Do not fret! The Southern University Ag Center will host a Container Gardening Workshop to assist you with all your plant questions and needs, on October 26, from 2-4:30 pm at the greenhouse. This workshop is designed with you in mind. Come out and learn tips from one of our professional plant experts.

What to bring: problem plants, plants (new or old); and planters /containers

What SU Ag Center will provide: potting soil, and fertilizer.

For more information contact: Mila Berhane, Dawn Mellion-Patin, or  Zanetta Augustine at 225-771-2242
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Thursday, October 20

SU Ag Center to Hold Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity Symposium, Nov. 8-9

Scientists and professionals who are working on the frontlines of Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity research will gather for a Symposium at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge on November 8-9 to uncover potential threats to our nation’s natural resources and agriculture.


“This symposium features presentations and demonstrations from researchers at universities and federal and state agencies who are monitoring high consequence plant pathogens, insect pests, and invasive weeds that threaten our nation’s food security and renewable natural resources,” said Daniel Collins, professor of plant pathology and symposium organizer.

Workshop topics include: Graduate Student Poster Session on Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity; Global Challenges of Invasive Species to our Forest Ecosystems; Strategies for Safeguarding American Plant Resources; Global Food Security and Food Safety; Special Session on Contributions of Dr. George Washington Carver to Global Food Security; History of African Americans in Plant Pathology; Educational and Career Opportunities in Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity; Hands-on Demonstrations for K-12 Students, Parents, and Teachers in Global Food Security; Mollusk Detection using Canine Demonstration: USDA National Detector Dog Training Center.

A special session will discuss the contributions of Dr. George Washington Carver to Global Food Security, highlighting the historical and scientific significance of Dr. Carver’s Fungal Specimens he collected as a Collaborator for the Mycology and Plant Disease Survey, USDA Bureau of Plant Industry 1935-43. A display will feature a variety of archival data such as the correspondence between Dr. Carver and the USDA mycologists concerning the survey, digital copies of the fungal specimens, and publications.

The symposium is free and open to the public and media. Registration form, locations and schedules are posted online at http://www.urbanforestry.subr.edu/biosecurity.htm

The Global Food Security and Plant Biosecurity Symposium is sponsored by a grant awarded to Collins by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture 1890 Teaching Capacity Building Grants Program for Graduate Education and Training in Global Food Security and Agricultural Bio-Security.

For more information, contact Collins at (225) 771-0218 or Daniel_Collins@subr.edu

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Monday, October 17

SU Ag Center Rabbit Production Book Reprinted

Dr. McNitt
Baton Rouge - A reprint of the 8th edition of the book “Rabbit Production” is now available. This is a reprint of a highly successful book about the production of rabbits originally published by Interstate Publishers, Inc. in 2000. The book concentrates on rabbits bred for meat and fur, but also has plenty of information on pet rabbits and show rabbits. Beginning with an introduction to rabbit production around the world and some basic breed and equipment information, further topics covered include rabbit diseases, feeding, reproduction, behavior, welfare, genetics, showing, rabbit production in developing countries, fur and meat production, slaughter and the marketing of rabbit products.

J. I. McNitt, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, N. M. Patton, formerly of Oregon State University, S. D. Lukefahr, Texas A & M University, and P. R. Cheeke, Oregon State University, co- authored the book.

If you want rabbit information, please contact CAB International at http://www.cabi.org/

CABI gives a 10% discount for orders from their website.

Order book by emailing: orders@cabi.org

For further details, please contact James I. McNitt, Professor Emeritus, at 225 771 2242 or via email at: james_mcnitt@suagcenter.com

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Thursday, October 13

Beginner Farmer Workshops Scheduled for October 26, 27

Baton Rouge, LA - The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education PDP program will hold two Beginning Farmer Workshops this month. The same workshop will be offered Wednesday, October 26 at Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, and on Thursday, October 27 at the St. Martin Parish Office in Breaux Bridge.

This events are in collaboration with the SU and LSU Agricultural Research and Extension Centers.

The workshop will be led by Alex Hitt, co-owner of Peregrine Farms in North Carolina. Alex teaches at Central Carolina Community College and provides trainings and workshops for the annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group meetings.

The workshop is free for county agents and other agricultural professionals, but pre-registration is required and space is limited. Registration includes lunch and any workshop materials. Please find attached a flier for the workshop and the registration form.

If you would like to attend, please fill out the registration form and submit it as soon as possible. Please encourage other participants to attend. You can also offer a ride to others attending the workshop.

If you have any questions, please contact Carl E. Motsenbocker, Ph.D. at 225-578-1036 or via email: cmotsenbocker@agcenter.lsu.edu


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SU Ag set for Bioenergy and Biofuel Seminar, Thursday OCT 20

L-r: Johnson, Ning, Abdollahi
Baton Rouge, LA - The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will hold a Bioenergy and Biofuel Seminar on Thursday October 20, 1:00-5:00 pm in room 138.


The SU Urban Forestry Program, SU Ag Center and College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences in collaboration with LSU Ag Center sponsor this very informative seminar.

Dr. Kamran K. Abdollahi , Program Leader and Project Director; Dr. Kirkland E. Mellad, Vice Chancellor for Research, SU Ag Center; Dr. Doze Butler, Interim Dean, College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, will give opening remarks.

Dr. Zhu H. Ning and Dr. Andra Johnson, urban forestry professors and Co-Project Investigators will introduce speakers.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Kamran K. Abdollahi at 225-324-8206 or via email: kamrana664@cs.com

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SU Ag Center Specialist Featured on Radio Show

Savingruralamerica
Dawn Mellion-Patin, PhD, Agricultural Specialist with the Cooperative Extension Program at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center was interviewed by Saving Rural America radio show on October 10.













Listen to the interview at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/savingruralamerica/2011/10/10/saving-rural-america-features-dawn-mellion-patin

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Tuesday, October 11

USDA awards $18 million grant for new farmer training

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced that USDA has awarded 36 grants totaling $18 million to organizations that will provide training and assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers to help them run successful and sustainable farms.

The grants will go to groups in 21 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands that can help people who want to go into farming but do not know much about the business or marketing side.

“You can’t just love the soil. You have to love the accounting and books as well,” Merrigan said in a call to reporters today.

Merrigan noted that USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, established through the 2008 farm bill. Although a lot of the focus is on young farmers, Merrigan noted that USDA defines beginning farmers as anyone who has been in farming or ranching for 10 years or less, and that many people want to make farming a second career.

Projects were awarded in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The Latino Farmers Cooperative of Louisiana, New Orleans, received $103,700. This project will address priority-training needs of Latino farmers, including production and management strategies, business management and decision support strategies and marketing strategies.

For further detail, please visit: National Institute of Food and Agriculture FY 2011 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grants

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Saturday, October 8

CALL IN RADIO SHOW ABOUT SMALL FARMER AG LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

Baton Rouge, LA – SU Ag Center continues to disseminate information to clientele beyond the state of Louisiana. In Mississippi, the Winston County Self Help Cooperative Live Internet Talk Radio Show: Saving Rural America’s Host will Feature Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., MBA on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 6:00 Pm CST.


The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute is an 18-month course specifically designed to guide small, socially disadvantaged, limited-resource and minority farmers through the transformative process of becoming highly successful agricultural entrepreneurs. The primary goal of the Institute is to promote the sustainability of small family farms through enhanced business management skills and leadership development.

To date, 81 small farmers from 14 of the southern states have successfully completed the curriculum designed for this training. Each of these farmers has become a change agent in his/her community. Mellion-Patin, recently received funding from USDA, Office of Advocacy and Outreach to conduct Class IV, which begins later this month with 35 farmers from 12 states.

The Ag Leadership Institute is an 1890 system-wide initiative, hosted by the Southern University Ag Center, in collaboration with Kentucky State University, Prairie View A & M University, Tuskegee University, USDA, South Carolina State University and North Carolina A & T State University.

To hear more about the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute, please tune in on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 6:00 Pm CST.
The call in number to speak with the host is (323) 580 5735.

Find past and upcoming shows at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/savingruralamerica

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Friday, October 7

Southern University Ag Center to Host a Container Gardening Workshop

Baton Rouge, LA - Do you have dead plants in the garden or in your home? Do not fret! The Southern University Ag Center will host a Container Gardening Workshop to assist you with all your plant questions and needs, on October 26, at the greenhouse. This workshop is designed with you in mind. Come out and learn tips from one of our professional plant experts.


What to bring: problem plants, plants (new or old); and planters /containers

What SU Ag Center will provide: potting soil, and fertilizer.

For more information contact: Mila Berhane, Dawn Mellion Patin, Zanetta Augustine at 225-771-2242



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Monday, September 26

SU Ag Center set for i-Tree Model Workshop, October 5-6

Baton Rouge, LA - The i-Tree Model Workshop on Quantifying Urban Forest Ecosystem Services and Climate Change Mitigation Potential is scheduled for Oct. 5-6, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Rm 138. Southern University Urban Forestry Program and USDA Forest Service Urban Forestry South will host the event. Instruction will be provided by Eric Kuehler, Technology Transfer Specialist, Urban Forestry South, USDA Forest Service.


About i-Tree: Forests, both in urban and rural areas can help mitigate climate change by sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide and by reducing energy use in buildings, and consequently reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel based power plants. To understand better the forest resource and its numerous values, the U.S. Forest Service has developed i-Tree models that quantify urban forest ecosystem services such as CO2 sequestration, carbon storage, building energy saving, and pollution removal. i-Tree tools allow students to make use of USGS-NASA Landsat satellite data to assess the community’s land cover, including tree canopy, and the ecosystem services, such as climate change mitigation, that is provided by the urban forests.

The workshop registration is complementary. Please email the registration form below to Dr. Zhu H. Ning, professor, Urban Forestry Program, Southern University, at zhu_ning@subr.edu

For more information, contact Dr. Ning via email or phone at 225-771-6292.

Registration Form

Name of the participant:

Title:

Affiliation:

Email address:

Phone:

Address:

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Friday, September 23

Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center set for Mentor Training Forum

Baton Rouge, LA - The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center Cordially invites and encourages you to attend a 4-H LIFE Mentor Training Forum!


Topic:
“Breaking the Communication Barrier: Effective Mentoring Strategies for Children with Challenges”

Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2011; 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Venue: SU Ag Center, located just off Mills Ave., Baton Rouge; Room 191

Guest Speaker: Dr. Chenika R. Jones, Southern University, Criminal Justice Department

PLEASE RSVP to Tiffany Franklin at (225) 771-2775 or tiffany_franklin@suagcenter.com.

“Invest in the future by becoming a MENTOR”

*Refreshments will be served*

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Thursday, September 22

Urban Forestry Scientist Awarded Half A Million Dollars for Bioenergy Research

Baton Rouge, LA - Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, professor, urban forestry, recently received nearly half a million dollars from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to develop biofuels for bioenergy from sustainable alternative non-food feedstocks in Louisiana. Urban Forestry scientists Drs. Zhu Hua Ning, Andra Johnson, and Yemane Ghebreiyessus are co-investigators. Dr. Dorin Boldor of LSU AgCenter is the main collaborating scientist serving as co-investigator.


The Urban Forestry scientists at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in collaboration with the Louisiana State University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the USDA Forest Service developed this joint, multidisciplinary project. The goal is to address the critical needs to develop scalable, cost-saving biofuels and associated processing technologies from sustainable, alternative, non-food feedstocks (urban wood-waste and energy cane biomass).

The importance of this project stems from several factors: 1. utilization of wood-waste and non-food feedstocks for biofuel and bioenergy production; 2. utilization of low-cost processing methods which will effectively increase biofuel’s competitiveness; 3. environmental and economic impact of non-food plants.

The successful project outcomes will: (a) benefit the agricultural community by encouraging sustainable diversification of agricultural production in LA and Southern USA; (b) help develop rural and urban areas by promoting economic diversification and growth emphasizing biobased energy and products technologies; (c) develop and strengthen R&D programs via enhanced collaboration and coordination of bio-energy research efforts; (d) develop cost saving, scalable, technologies for biofuel feedstock processing; (e) accelerate the technology transfer process from research to commercialization using existing agreements with industry partners; and (f) benefit the people of the US through development, distribution, and implementation of biobased energy technologies, therefore promoting energy independence. The partner institutions are ideally positioned to take advantage of the current bio-energy research thrust in Louisiana.

For more information, please contact Dr. Abdollahi at: 225-324-8206

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Thursday, September 15

SU Ag Center youth entrepreneurs to feature in New Orleans Fashion Week

Baton Rouge, LA – Our high school youth are exhibiting great talent. Rogersliu was founded with the concept of creating visually stimulating clothing. Headed up by Christopher Rogers, II and his assistant designer, Julie Liu, seventeen-year-old seniors at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. Rogersliu runway shows are noted for their high emotional resonance and raw energy paired with over-the-top styling which gives the clothes a romantic but determinedly contemporary nature. The New Orleans Fashion Week is scheduled October 15 – 23.


“The Rogersliu woman is one who admires the aspirational beauty and romance of the past while simultaneously looking forward into the future,” said Rogers. “Iconic Rogersliu design elements include daring hemlines, proportion play, and experimentation with fabric opacity and its relevance and acceptability within a modern social context. A sense of casual formality also permeates all facets of the Rogersliu brand from dresses, blouses, and even gowns.” The aim of the Rogersliu collection is to infuse two opposites — strength and fragility in order to create clothing that bridges an emotional connection with a diverse group of clients and onlookers.

Rogers is the son of Christopher J., SU Ag Center director of technology services, and Johnell Rogers. He also has one sister, Sariah, an 8th grader at Christian Life Academy. For more up-to-date information, please go to http://nola-fashionweek.com/.

The Times-Picayune

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