Friday, April 25

SU Ag Center Impacts Students, Farmers, Communities through NIFA Grant

Dr. Chin displays his hibiscus calyx harvest on campus

Guests and students tour hibiscus field at SUBR
Baton Rouge, LA - SU Ag Center research impact was mentioned in the May 1, 2014, Volume 1, Issue 2 of the NIFA Ed-Facts, p.4. Kit Chin at Southern University Research and Extension Center, an 1890 land-grant university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, used funding from NIFA’s 1890 Research Capacity grant to study the roselle hibiscus. This plant, with its striking red calyx-enclosed fruits, could give Louisiana farmers a new niche crop that supports trade, local agriculture, and economic development. His research found roselle hibiscus accessions from Nigeria, Jamaica, and Senegal thrive in Louisiana’s climate. More than 65 farmers, homemakers, and retired church volunteers from various parishes attended the project director’s workshop and grew hibiscus in their home gardens. A 12-member roselle hibiscus grower’s cooperative also visited the lab.

One Ph.D. student, Ryan Nicolas, joined four Southern University business majors to develop a hibiscus business plan for Louisiana. The team placed third among 13 student groups presenting at the 2013 Opportunity Funding Corporation’s Venture Challenge. “This NIFA-funded project has given me the focus of my doctorate work,” Nicolas said. “Because Dr. Chin’s hibiscus research project received a NIFA grant, many doors of opportunity opened for me. I never thought I would be doing so many interesting things in science and entrepreneurship. It would not have happened if Dr. Chin had not been able to pursue his research goals.” The full publication is available online for download at:

The research project was funded by USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  Ryan Nicolas is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Southern University focusing his dissertation research on roselle hibiscus under the supervision of Drs. Yadong Qi and Kit Chin. 

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

SUS Day at the Capitol is April 28

SUS Day Flyer
Baton Rouge, LA – The Southern University System will interact with legislators at the State Capitol on Monday, April 28, 2014.  This year’s theme is “Reforming and Renewing the SU System.” The Jaguar Nation is encouraged to show up and support our stride into the next 100 years and beyond.

Events will include Campus exhibits and presentations at the Rotunda of the State Capitol featuring: Southern University Baton Rouge; Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center; Southern University New Orleans; Southern University Law Center; and Southern University Shreveport.

From noon – 1:30 p.m. will be time to have Lunch with Legislators in the House of Representatives Courtyard, followed by presentations in the Louisiana Senate and Louisiana House of Representatives at 2 p.m.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

SU Ag Center Plants Seeds for the Future in Opelousas Lighthouse Mission Garden

Hands-on demonstration of planting seedlings
Audience in garden presentation session

Dr. Robichaux presents to workshop participants

Baton Rouge, LA – An article featuring the efforts of the SU Ag Center to enhance the quality of life for residents at the Opelousas Lighthouse Mission was published in the April 23 issue of Daily World Newspaper.  The article entitled “Opelousas mission staff says garden produces both vegetables and leaders,” details the success of the on-going program at the homeless shelter. The full article is available online at DailyWorld.com.

In continuation of the its outreach mission, a team from Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Wednesday, April 23, delivered a seasonal information program and vegetable seedlings in the Mission garden. After a talk and visual presentation, residents at the shelter helped with planting okra, corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant, and cucumber seedlings in the greenhouse.

The produce planted this week will be available for sale in a few months. Most buyers hear about it by word of mouth, the development director said, but the mission is considering whether to place a farm stand in front of its property. Proceeds from those sales go directly to the men who live there.

Mike Fontenot, development director at the mission, maintains that working there helps clients gain skills that can accompany them throughout their lives. He added that more than half the 32 men who live at the South Street complex at any given time go on to become self-sufficient. In addition to summer and winter gardens, he said, “we raise leaders here.”

The Mission is a drug- and alcohol-free shelter that operates with a $200,000 annual budget and only two paid staff members, Fontenot said. Previous garden supervisors from the mission have landed steady work with the Indian Hills Country Club, landscaping companies and other employers in St. Landry Parish, he said.

The workshop assembled more than 40 participants, and the presenters were Chris Robichaux, Stephanie Elwood, and Mila Berhane from the SU Ag Center and Bryan Mims from LA Department of Agriculture. Mims shared information on availability of opportunities for communities to apply for green cities program grants.

The workshop was sponsored by SU Ag Center and Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Thursday, April 24

SU Ag Center’s Food Desert Project to Hold School Garden Graduation Ceremony

Announcement
Baton Rouge, LA - The USDA funded project, Eradicating Food Deserts through the Development of School Gardens, has been providing hands-on instruction to students at three schools in the Scotlandville community – SU Lab School, Scotlandville Magnet High School, and  Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Middle Academy.  It’s time to celebrate their hard work! Join us on Tuesday April 29, 2014 at SU Ag Center, A.O. Williams Hall, in room 191, for our annual graduation ceremony!  “The students are excited and so are we,” Tiffany Franklin said. 

Franklin serves as project director, assisted by Stephanie Elwood, and they can be reached at 225-771-2242.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

SU Ag Center Research Scientist Mentors Students on Economics

L-r: Adria Smith, Pickney Perez, Aramis Harris, Megan Thomas, Jeremy Thomas, Donzell Lee, Tewanda Pinson, Darius Knox,  Patience Muse, and Robert Hobbs, Jr.
Baton Rouge, LA - SU Ag Center researcher, Dr. Patricia E. McLean-Meyinsse, mentors college students, leading the S. U.  Ag STARS to another successful performance in undergraduate research competitions at professional meeting.

Southern University students, dubbed the Ag STARS (Shaping Tomorrow’s Agricultural Research Scientists), earned second and third place positions in the Undergraduate Oral Research and Poster Competitions at the 29th annual Minority in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Conference held March 27-29, 2014 in Birmingham, Al.  The second and third place oral papers were titled: “Examining University Students’ Body Mass Indices and Frequency of Reading Nutrition Facts Labels” and “An Empirical Investigation of U.S. Demand for Beef,” respectively.  The second place poster was titled: “An Economic Analysis of Chicken Consumption in the United States from 1970-2012.”  A non-competitive poster titled, “Assessing Financial Literacy Among A Selected Group of Undergraduate Students” was also presented at the MANRRS Conference.

The 2nd place recipient in the oral competition was Adria Smith, senior, agricultural economics, Salina, Kansas. The 3rd place recipients for the oral competition were Pickney Perez, junior, agricultural economics, Zachary, Louisiana, Robert Hobbs, Jr, senior, agricultural economics, Collinston, Louisiana, and Jeremy Thomas, junior, agricultural economics, Opelousas, Louisiana.  Members of the 2nd place team for the poster presentation were Megan Thomas, sophomore, agricultural economics, Opelousas, Louisiana, Tewanda Pinson, junior, agricultural economics, Houston, Texas, and Donzell Lee, senior, animal science, Tallulah, Louisiana.

Authors of the non-competitive poster were Aramis Harris, junior, agricultural economics, Washington, Louisiana, Patience Muse, senior, agricultural economics, Greensburg, Louisiana, and Darius Knox, Junior, agricultural economics, Zachary, Louisiana.

Ag STARS members must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 and above and must be majoring in or intend to major in agricultural economics, animal sciences, or plant sciences. Each participant is required to attend weekly mentoring sessions, and in turn, receive a $2,500 stipend per semester.

The program’s primary goal is to use interdisciplinary research in the food and agricultural sciences to enhance participants’ critical-thinking, analytical, writing, and oral communication skills. The Ag STARS Program is funded by a grant under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Capacity Building Grant Program.

Patricia E. McLean-Meyinsse, professor, Agricultural Economics, is the principal investigator for the grant; she was also the faculty advisor for the students’ papers and posters.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Wednesday, April 23

SU Ag Center Research Scientists Mentor Students on Nutrition

Shaina Craig prepares samples for sensory evaluation study
Caroline Babin, left,  and Malekian pose beside 1st place winning poster
Baton Rouge, LA - SU Ag Center researchers mentor college students through the USDA (Evans Allen) funded project entitled Nutritional Content, Antioxidant Activity and Microbiological Safety of Goat Meat and Value-Added Goat Meat Products.  Fatemeh Malekian, professor, nutrition, and Margarita Khachaturyan, research associate, mentored Shaina Graig, and Caroline Babin.

Dietary habits are major factors in development of obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Red meats such as beef and pork are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Although it has not been researched as extensively as beef or pork, data show that goat meat has high nutritional value and greater unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratio as opposed to traditional red meats. However, goat meat is generally unavailable in retail markets and annual consumption of the meat is low in the USA (USDA, 1998). The unavailability and low consumption may be due to factors such as consumers’ unfamiliarity or dislike of goat meat.   Goat meat has the potential to improve health of susceptible population without taking meat products out of their daily diet by replacing traditionally consumed meats. The objective of this study was to compare the nutritional composition of a goat meat product, to similar pork product, and to evaluate consumer acceptability of the prepared goat meat product.

Shaina Graig, an undergraduate student majoring in Animal Science in the College of Sciences and Agriculture, accepted the challenge to conduct a study as her Honors College project. The title of her research project was, Nutritional Analysis and Consumer Acceptability of Goat Meat Patties Compared to Pork Patties.
 Shaina, who graduates in May, 2014 has been working in the Food Composition Laboratory at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center for the past three years under the supervision of Khachaturyan and Malekian.

Craig has gained experience on the goat meat project, learned to operate all the instruments, and co-authored a poster titled “Antioxidant Activity and Simultaneous Determination of Vitamin E and Cholesterol in Rice Bran Added Goat Meat Products." Shaina prepared goat and pork patties in the Southern University meat laboratory under supervision of Albert Howard, she then cooked the patties and conducted consumer acceptability test in the metabolic kitchen.  She also analyzed the patties protein, fat, moisture, ash, Carbohydrate. 

The result of her consumer acceptability showed that there was not a significant difference in the aroma, taste, juiciness and overall acceptability between goat and pork patties.  There was a significant difference in tenderness between goat and pork patties.  The goat patties were less tender.  Also there was a significant difference in fat and moisture content. Goat has less fat and more moisture.  The results are promising.  Even though goat meat patties are a little tougher but everything else was equal or better than pork patties (especially with fat content).   

The researchers also mentored Caroline Babin, a junior student at St. Joseph’s Academy by guiding her to conduct a science project titled The Effect of the Housing of the Chicken on its Egg’s Nutritional Composition.  The project won Babin 1st place in Biochemistry at the 2014 Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair, held March 24-26 at the LSU Union.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Monday, April 21

Centennial Wellness Fun Walk ~ Striding Healthily into the Next 100 Years

Baton Rouge, LA - Southern University in Baton Rouge and Ag Center faculty, staff and students are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences throughout the year of 2014.  As part of this Centennial celebration, we are having a Wellness Fun Walk.

When: April 25th at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Pinkie Thrift building on Southern University Baton Rouge campus

Please bring friends, family members, alumni, and join us in celebrating and striding healthily into the next 100 years.

For further information, contact Dr. Fatemeh Malekian at 225-771-0251 or Dr. Cheryl Atkinson at 225-771-3168.  

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714


Thursday, April 17

SU Ag Center’s Annual Procurement Conference Provides Access to Information, Networking

Chancellor Williams welcomes conference attendees
Ms. Lydia Jackson gives keynote address
Networking session

Concurrent session
 
Mr. Arvie promotes his "Hauwantit" Creole Seasoning
l-r: Lydia Jackson, Lakeeshia Giddens, Gloria London pose after keynote address

One-on-one consultation

Baton Rouge, LA – Hundreds of small business owners and exhibitors assembled at the Southern University Smith-Brown Memorial Union on April 16, 2014 for the 10th Annual “CONNECTING BUSINESSES TO CONTRACTS” Procurement Conference hosted by the Southern University Ag Center. The event was featured on the evening news by NBC 33 TV News at 10 and FOX 44 in Baton Rouge. The full story is available at WGMT-TV – Online: Setting up for success: Southern University hosts conference to help small business owners
As always, the goal of the conference is to stimulate the economy by aligning existing and potential business owners, small contractors, non-profit organizations, and others with contracting officers, and purchasing agents, as well as providing an outlet to network and exchange information and ideas.
This year, Lydia Jackson, Capital One Bank Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Business Development Officer, served as the keynote speaker.

Jackson offered some sound advice to conference attendees including tips on doing business with Capital One Bank. These tips included being certified and committed to compete nationally or at least regionally; having a relationship with a bank before presenting a loan package; registering on the bank’s website; and learning/preparing to speak the lender’s language. She directed small business owners to the Capital One Bank website where they can access a wealth of business resources and tools to help grow their businesses. In closing Jackson said, “We at Capital One are very proud to continue to be a part of this procurement conference. We recognize how important your economic growth and health is to the community and to our business.” She expressed her desire to see the businesses grow and expand, create new jobs in the community and continue to do business with the bank and grow new customers for the company.
In the 2007 legislative session, Jackson, who is a former senator, authored a bill to create the first refundable Earned Income Tax Credit in the South.

The conference attracted many Baton Rouge-based businesses along with others from across the nation. Activities included current sessions, exhibitions, and luncheon.  

First time attendee, Marcus Evans of BEREAN Wellness, a Baton Rouge small business focusing on natural health remedies, said his expectations were “to create more awareness and to network.”

Another Baton Rouge-based business, Cajun Consultants, that has attended the conference for several years and Omer Libich, field clerk, who represented the company this year said, “It is a lot of networking, a lot of new businesses and a lot of fun times; a great opportunity to see what’s out there and what’s here locally.”

“The Center for Rural and Small Business and its partners were able to accomplish its overall goal on yesterday at the Annual Procurement Conference.  We provided small businesses an opportunity to gain knowledge from well-developed workshops and the opportunity to network with individuals and other businesses,” said Gloria London, Director, Center for Rural and Small Business Development.  “This will spur further economic development throughout Louisiana. We have been sponsoring this event ten years and look forward to many more,” she added.

Presenters and exhibitors who represented their companies included: Entergy, Inc., Regions Bank, Liberty Bank and Trust Company, SBA Surety Bond Brokers, South East Procurement Technical Assistant Center, USDA Rural Business Development, (Federal & State) Office of State Purchasing, Baton Rouge City Purchasing Department, Southern University Purchasing Department, LSU Purchasing Department, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Louisiana State Contractor Licensing Board, Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, The Shaw Group, Capital One Bank, Louisiana Department of Labor, Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

Other exhibitors included: United States Department of Commerce, Secretary of State’s Office, and Louisiana Department of Workers’ Compensation, Department of Veterans Affairs, FEMA, DoE, Bureau of Prisons, GSA, Minerals Management Service, U. S. Coast Guard, Louisiana National Guard, Dept. of Navy, and Shaw Industries.

The event was coordinated by Gloria London, Eual Hall, and Lakeeshia Giddens who can be reached at (225) 771-4107 or 4105.

The Procurement Conference was hosted by the Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the Southern University Ag Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Wednesday, April 16

SU Ag Center Schedules Gardening Workshop in Opelousas

Event flyer
Baton Rouge, LA – The Southern University Ag Center will hold a gardening workshop to benefit locals in Opelousas and surrounding communities on Wednesday, April 23 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm at Lighthouse Mission, 704 W. South Street, Opelousas, LA 70570. 

Highlights of the workshop will include soil preparation tips, drip irrigation installation, seedling preparation, transplanting seedlings to the field, greenhouse management, and free seedlings to take home and grow your own garden. The workshop is free and open to the public.

For further details about the workshop, contact Chris Robichaux at 337-332-2181 or 369-4440; Stephanie Elwood or Mila Berhane at 225-771-2242.

The workshop will be sponsored by SU Ag Center and Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Monday, April 14

SU Ag Center: Help Leadership Institute Graduate Win $20,000

JENGA MWENDO FOR GUERRILLA GARDEN
Baton Rouge, LA - Remember SU Ag Center Leadership Institute Graduate who’s promoting healthy living across the nation? Jenga Mwendo, founder of Backyard Garden Network is in the running for a $20,000 grant for their community programming at the Guerrilla Garden. They REALLY need your help! People can vote every day through April 21st (if multiple people want to vote from one computer, just clear the browser history after each vote!). So that's only SEVEN MORE DAYS!! PLEASE VOTE DAILY for Guerrilla Garden!  Thank you.

The Guerrilla Garden Needs YOU!
Please VOTE for us to win $20,000 for community programming.

IT'S EASY! Go to
www.seedsofchangegrant.com
Search for Guerrilla Garden and click VOTE!
 

Vote DAILY until April 21st, and we will WIN!!

Share your vote on Facebook to get your friends and family to support us too!

The money will benefit The Lower Ninth Ward gardens to train youth interns from the neighborhood to serve as leaders.

SUPPORT BACKYARD GARDENERS NETWORK!
Consider donating to Backyard Gardeners Network to help us continue our work in 2014 and beyond.

Make your tax-deductible donation online!

Southern University Ag Center Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute, a two-year course of study specifically designed to guide small, socially disadvantaged, limited resource and minority farmers through the transformative process of becoming successful agricultural entrepreneurs has produced outstanding community leaders across the nation since its inception.  Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin directs the Institute which is supported by the USDA Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Rancher Competitive Grants Program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

###


Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

SU Ag Center: Locals Boost 45th Annual Horse Show and Trail Ride

Trail riders arrive with horses in tow

EBR youth riders, Smith, left, and Houston hang out to join parade

Debra Lee, SU Posse from Baton Rouge ready for parade to kick off
Monroe signals parade launch

Covered wagons on parade route

 Baton Rouge, LA - The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center hosted the 45th Annual Horse Show and Trail Ride, April 11-13, 2014 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena in Baker. This year, approximately 200 riders traveled with horse in tow from Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Texas and New Mexico to join Louisianans in Baton Rouge for the event. The horse parade, including riders ranging in age from 5-80 years old, different horse riding associations, and six covered wagons, galloped around the Baker area for two hours.  First and second place winners were selected by judges at the completion of the event.

Local entertainers, Leon Chavis and Tyree Neal performed at the event. Each year, the Southern University Posse Horse Rider Association helps host the event. Apart from riding associations, privately trained youth and adults also participate in the ride. One of the participants, 18-year old Dale Houston from Career Academy, said this is his second year on the ride and he loves it. While waiting under a shade tree for the ride to kickoff, Houston hung out with friend, 15-year old Daquan Smith from Glenn Oaks High School who said he’s been riding since age 10 and plans to keep riding because it is fun.

Debra Lee, a member of the Southern University Posse Horse Riders Association was proud to announce that she has been enjoying this event for the past four years.  “I hope to be here next year; this is our trail ride, the Southern University Posse helps host the Show,” Lee said.

For further detail, please contact Christie Monroe at 225-771-4350 or via email: christie_monroe@suagcenter.com

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Friday, April 11

SU Ag Center to Host Baton Rouge Garden Alliance Meeting

Baton Rouge, LA – The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will host Baton Rouge Garden Alliance Spring 2014 meeting on Tuesday April 15 at 5:30 pm in A. O. Williams Hall, 181 B.A. Little Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.

All workshops are free and open to the community. This event is potluck; please bring a dish, drink or meal accessory.

Please contact batonrougegardenalliance@gmail.com with questions or Stephanie Elwood at 225-771-2134.
###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

SU Ag Center: Lydia Jackson Named Keynote Speaker for 10th Annual Procurement Conference

Exhibitor Registration Form

Participant Registration Form
BATON ROUGE, LA – The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will hold its 10th annual “Connecting Businesses with Contracts” Procurement Conference on Wednesday, April 16. The event will kick-off with registration at 7:30 a.m. in the Smith-Brown Memorial Union on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus, 500 Jesse N. Stone Avenue.

The goal of the conference is to stimulate the economy by aligning existing and potential business owners, small contractors, non-profit organizations, and others with contracting officers, and purchasing agents, as well as providing an outlet to network and exchange information and ideas.

This year, Lydia Jackson, Capital One Bank Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Business Development Officer, will serve as the keynote speaker.

Jackson has over 25 years of experience in public policy, community advocacy and planning. As the CRA Business Development Officer, Jackson is responsible for initiating partnerships with community-based organizations, government agencies and other groups to facilitate opportunities for the expansion of bank products and services and the production and rehabilitation of affordable housing.

In November of 1999, Lydia became the first African-American woman elected to represent House District Two. Lydia was also elected to the State House of Representatives and Louisiana Senate District 39.

Jackson was an active member of the Senate, presenting bills to spur economic development and initiate tax credits for residents. In the 2007 legislative session, Jackson authored a bill to create the first refundable Earned Income Tax Credit in the South.

The Procurement Conference is being hosted by the Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the Southern University Ag Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Participant registration forms can be faxed to (337) 482-5837 or e-mail prs6182@louisiana.edu by April 11 to pre-register. Onsite registration will also be available. Federal, State, Local Government Agencies and major prime contractors are welcome to serve as exhibitors for the event. Potential exhibitors are urged to submit an exhibitor registration form by April 9 to jo.lawrence3@sba.gov or fax to (504) 589-2339.

For more information, contact Gloria London, Director, Center for Rural and Small Business Development, or Eual Hall, Business Development Specialist, at (225) 771-4107 or 4105.

###
Contact:        
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714
Writer: LaKeeshia Giddens
(225) 771-2160

SU Ag Center Partners with St. Landry School Board, Town of Washington

Team working in the greenhouse

WCTEC students pose with their seedlings
Baton Rouge, LA - Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with St. Landry School Board, and the Town of Washington to construct a greenhouse. A city beautification project is proposed for the Town of Washington in which a greenhouse facility to grow ornamental plants will be located at the Washington Career and Technical Education Center on 605 Buhot St. Washington, LA 70589, within the St. Landry Parish School District.  Faculty, staff and students of the Washington Career and Technical Education Center will maintain the greenhouse and propagate plants. The beautification project maintenance will be administered by Washington City employees.  Southern University Ag Center has begun, and will continue to provide technical assistance and on-site training in greenhouse and ornamental maintenance.  SU Ag Center’s Extension Associate, Stephanie Elwood and Senior Research Associate, Mila Berhane began assisting with the greenhouse rejuvenation, and implemented the initial workshop focusing on greenhouse sanitation, plant propagation, and watering. Additional trainings will include hands-on experience of the complete plant propagation operation, starting with greenhouse seedling preparation, planting and maintenance.

For further details, contact Stephanie Elwood at 225-771-2134.

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Wednesday, April 9

SU Ag Center’s Staff Appointed to serve on the Board of Commissioners

Dr. Chris Chappell
Baton Rouge, LA - Dr. Christopher Chappell, research associate, urban forestry, has been appointed to serve as Commissioner on the Board of Commissioners of the Tangipahoa Mosquito Abatement District No. 1.  Chappell’s two-year term expires February 12, 2016.

The Board of Commissioners of Mosquito Abatement provides essential district services to detect and suppress mosquitoes, and to reduce the chance of disease transmission and discomfort to the people who live, work, or enjoy outdoor activities within the district. In addition to providing serves, the commission also conducts research in developing and/or testing new materials, methods and technologies to ensure quality control oversight on all services and programs, while anticipating resurgent and/or newly introduced vectors, or vector-borne diseases. 

###

Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714
bridget_udoh@suagcenter.com

Tuesday, April 8

USDA Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs

Baton Rouge, LA - The United States Department of Agriculture announced on April 4th, 2014  that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, re-established and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA.

"These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "President Obama and I prioritized the implementation of these disaster assistance programs now that the Farm Bill has restored and strengthened them."

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).
  • LIP: Livestock Indemnity Program provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible livestock includes beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, and other livestock as determined by the Secretary.
  • LFP: Livestock Forage Disaster Program provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on publicly managed land. An eligible livestock producer must own, cash lease, or be a contract grower of eligible livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of the qualifying drought or fire in a county that is rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as D2, D3, or D4.
  • ELAP: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • TAP: Tree Assistance Program for Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.
Full details are available at http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/af9ee8

To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting these losses in preparation for the enrollment in these disaster assistance programs. Information on the types of records necessary can be provided by local FSA county offices. Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office or USDA Service Center.

###


Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

Monday, April 7

USDA Proclaims April as Invasive Plant Pest and Diseases Awareness Month

Baton Rouge, LA - The United States Department of Agriculture has proclaimed April as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness month. The USDA shows a 1.5-minute video on YouTube: Invasives Month available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9r8uusaYAo

The Cost To The U-S Economy From Invasive Plant Pests And Disease Is Staggering. Researchers Say it’s Almost One Hundred Twenty Billion Dollars A Year.

Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Each year invasive species cost America dearly. They damage crops, kill trees, and cause for costly response. But also invasive species could lead to closing markets to U-S products from infested areas.

That’s Why U-S-D-A’s Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service, Or Aphis (Ay-Fis), Is Devoting The Month Of April To Telling The Public About Invasive Pests And How They Can Affect Consumer Products.

Mike Watson, Executive Director, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: The foreign citrus diseases that have ravaged Florida could easily turn our orange juice into a luxury item. The Asian Longhorn beetle, which attacks maple trees, could also do the same thing to our maple syrup. European grapevine moth would be happy to consume those grapes that eventually could be turned into wine or grape jelly.

And that’s Just a Few of the Products Threatened by Invasive Plant Pests and Disease. Aphis Combats These Threats With A Three Pronged Approach.

Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: We begin by combating invasive pests in other countries before getting here. We check cargo and passenger packages crossing our borders and search across the country for any that may have slipped in so we can respond quickly.
Learn How You Can Help Fight Invasive Plant Pests And Diseases By Going To Hungry Pests Dot Com.
Please email bob.ellison@usda.gov if you have problems or suggestions.

###


Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714

SU Ag Center Leadership Institute Graduate Promotes Healthy Living

Jenga Mwendo, SU Ag Leadership Program Graduate 
Baton Rouge, LA - Jenga Mwendo enrolled in the Small Farmer Leadership Institute Class III at the SU Ag Center in 2009, graduating in 2011The same year that she registered for the Leadership Institute, Mwendo founded Backyard Gardeners Network (BGN) in New Orleans, LA. The organization utilizes volunteers in the areas of Education, Music, Sociology and Marketing/Communications to engage the community.

The 2014 Aetna’s African American History Calendar spotlights the SU Ag Center Institute graduate Jenga Mwendo in the month of March. The calendar entitled “Community transformations: African Americans creating sustainable neighborhoods,” encourages healthy living. Aetna is an American managed health care company which takes healthy living seriously.  Aetna is a member of the Fortune 100. The calendar is available online at www.aetnaafricanamericanhistorycalendar.com

The Lower Ninth Ward native returned to New Orleans in 2007 to help rebuild the community after the 2005 Katrina disaster. Mwendo is director of BGN and community organizer who focuses on strengthening the community through urban agriculture. The non-profit organization’s mission is community building, neighborhood revitalization and cultural preservation through urban gardening. They organize food demonstrations, educational workshops, potluck meals, and live musical entertainment. “We get to share home-cooked foods with each other,” she said, adding that her 9-year-old daughter has been a big part of her work. The kids in the neighborhood now appreciate what it takes to grow good food.”

“If you have your own food source, you can bounce back a lot quicker after hurricanes,” Mwendo said.

Jenga enjoys living in New Orleans “despite all the obstacles.” To learn more about BGN, visit backyardgardenersnetwork.org at http://backyardgardenersnetwork.org/

Following her graduation from the Leadership Institute in 2011, Mwendo was among 14 fellows selected by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Food and Community to receive an award. The 2011-2013 class of Fellows was a mix of grassroots advocates, thought leaders, writers, and entrepreneurs. The award came with a two-year fellowship that provided an annual stipend of $35,000 in addition to communications support, trainings, and travel. The program supports leaders working to create a food system that strengthens the health of communities, particularly children. For this class of fellows, the selection committee focused on work that creates a just, equitable and healthy food system from its roots up. Over 560 individuals applied for fellowships that year.
14 African American History Calendar
Southern University Ag Center Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute, a two-year course of study specifically designed to guide small, socially disadvantaged, limited resource and minority farmers through the transformative process of becoming successful agricultural entrepreneurs has produced outstanding community leaders across the nation since its inception.  Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin directs the Institute which is supported by the USDA Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Rancher Competitive Grants Program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

###


Contact:
Bridget Udoh
(225) 771-5714