Tuesday, March 24

Small Farmer Conference Culminates with Ag Leadership Institute Graduation

Ag Institute graduates

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Conference session

Young poet, Christina Gary

Graduation Speaker - Felicia Bell, Class II Ag Institute Graduate

Honorees - Louisiana Ag Living Legends
Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center touts the success of the five events hosted March 19-21 for the 5th Louisiana Small Farmers Conference. The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Sustainable Ag Urban Demonstration Farm was the perfect beginning to a wonderful series of events. Two local schools attended the ribbon cutting along with 20 farmers and all of the dignitaries to include Hon. Mike Strain, Commissioner, LA Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry; the Hon. Melvin “Kip” Holden, Mayor-President, EBR Parish; Representative Dalton Honore, District 63; Dr. Monique Winfield, Vice President, SU System; Mr. Flandus McClinton, Interim Chancellor, SUBR; Dr. Adell Brown, Jr., Executive Vice Chancellor and VC for Research, and Dr. Gina E. Eubanks, Vice Chancellor for Extension, SU Ag Center.

One of the students from Martin Luther King Christian Academy told his teacher that he was planning on attending college at LSU, but now he has to come to Southern for college to check on the plant he planted in the raised bed in the farm. (That's cute and speaks volumes to the innocence of children). We already have six requests for other school groups to tour. 

“The evening ended with a reception that everyone enjoyed,” said Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, event coordinator. 

On Friday, the conference moved into full gear with moderators and presenters working as a team, followed by the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet at night. The three legends honored were: Dr. Bobby R. Phills, program director for the Science Center and professor in the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee; Mr. George Moody accepting the award for Ms. Freddie Johnson, his aunt, a retired Southern University food and nutrition professor; and Mr. Elvadus Fields, former county agent and farm management specialist at Southern University, now retired, of St. Joseph.

Terrence Marshall, Extension Agent, East Baton Rouge Parish, was the speaker and shared the history of the 2nd Morrill Act, the legislation that created the 1890 land grant institutions in an outstanding fashion.

The conference concluded with Louisiana Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute Graduation Ceremony, held on Saturday morning with 14 participants graduating, including Extension Country Agents, Odis Hill, Morehouse & Union Parishes; and Thomas Legiandenyi, East and West Carroll Parishes. Terry Washington, Rapides Parish, graduated in the previous class. 

The graduation speaker was Felicia Bell, graduate of Class II of the regional leadership class. And the highlight of the event was Miss Christina Gary, a seven-year old 3rd grader performing an excerpt from a sermon by Bishop Eddie Long and another from Maya Angelou's poem, “Still I Rise.” Her renditions were the best tributes to our new leaders. 

The first day of the conference was featured by WAFB Channel 9 news and is available at wafb.com
An article entitled Three new members join Southern U’s agricultural ‘legends’ features the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet and is available on the LSU AgCenter website.

The event was organized by Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph. D., MBA, Specialist, Agriculture, and Project Director, who can be reached at (225) 771-2242.


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