Friday, August 17

SU Ag Center among 1890 grant recipients from USDA

Baton Rouge, La - The SU Ag Center received high marks from the USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), capturing more than 60% of the proposals submitted by the Center in the 2012 funding cycle of the 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program.

The main goal of this funding program is to build and strengthen the research, teaching and extension capacity at the 1890 institutions.  Therefore, the program requires that goals be aligned with NIFA’s Challenge areas as well as with the institution’s strategic plan as they relate to food and agriculture sciences.

Dr. Kit L. Chin, PD and Yadong Qi, Sebhatu Gebrelul, Renita Marshall, Fatemeh Malekian, Co-PDs, in collaboration with Rutgers University and West Virginia State University have tentatively received a research grant from USDA/NIFA Capacity Building Grants Program in the sum of half-a-million dollars for the conduction of research by finding alternative utilization of roselle hibiscus as small farm and niche market crop. 

The goals of the project are to: continue the screening of roselle hibiscus varieties best suited for small farm production in Louisiana; conduct research to develop high antioxidant functional food products to aid in the development of roselle hibiscus enterprises; and support product development and niche marketing, with emphasis on finished products that have health benefits such as reduction of high blood pressure, and marketability. 

In collaborative work with West Virginia State University, the extract from roselle hibiscus will be evaluated on its effects on arresting the proliferation of animal and human cancer cells in vitro.  Rutgers University will assist in quality control work with SU Ag Center scientists on developed hibiscus products.  The project also strives to develop a roselle hibiscus business incubator by providing training and facility to jump start entrepreneurship development.

The funded project will also evaluate the roselle hibiscus foliage as nutritive forage for weight gain of goats as well as a natural dewormer for intestinal parasitic control.

Other recipients of this year’s funding include: Zanetta Augustine, PD, Dawn Mellion-Patin and Calvin R. Walker, Co PDs: Academy for the Academic Enhancement of High School Students in the Food and Agricultural Sciences, $243,979.00; Wanda Burke, PD, Willie Rawls, Aubrey Williams; Conrad Jones; Christopher Rogers; Edith Harris; and Calvin R. Walker, Co PDs: Development of Learning Modules for Assuring Academic Enrichment Support for Youth in Rural Louisiana, $247,737.00; Tiffany Franklin, PD, Andra Johnson, and Stephanie Elwood, Co-PDs: Eradicating Food Deserts in Neighborhoods through the Development of School Gardens, $250,000; Christie Monroe, PD, Kasundra Cyrus, Yemane Ghebreiyessus, and Calvin R. Walker Co-PDs: Using Agriculture as a Fast Track Vehicle for Change through Experiential Learning, 249,886.00; Additionally, Renita Marshall serves as PD, and Willie Rawls, and Kenyatta Nelson-Smith as Co-PDs on a teaching grant, JAGS in AG: Recruitment, Exploration and Retention that attracted $150,000.00. Congratulations are in order.

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Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

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