Tuesday, March 29

SU Ag Center Partners with Local Businesses to Donate Easter Baskets to Nursing Home

Mr. Eric Sullivan holds the Easter basket he received from O.M.G. Club members as part of their Adopt-A-GP Community Service Initiative.

Baton Rouge, LA – Many in South Louisiana celebrated the Easter weekend by attending church and spending time with their loved ones. The SU Ag Center partnered with Missy Radio, Addictive Strands, the Outstanding Mature Girlz Organization (OMG), Jessica Cain, and Cumulus Media to add to this heavily celebrated tradition. On Saturday, March 26, SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, Nicolette Gordon delivered Easter baskets to the St. Helena Parish Nursing Home.  Eight baskets were sponsored by local businesses on behalf of OMG Club Members Chriterra Brumfield, Kyla Bryant, Symone Bryer, Shanika Holmes, Allanee Janeau, Kenneadei Lee, and Ariel Scott.  These young ladies adopted grandparents at the nursing home last year to fulfill their community service commitment as members of the club.

“If I’m ever placed in a nursing home, I want people to come and bring things like this to me,” said Montrell Fagget, Owner of Addictive Strands.  “I want people to come and just see about me.”

The baskets were filled with Palmers Lotion, Vaseline, Hand Sanitizer, Aloe Vera Socks, Crystal Globes, WXOK cups, and Gospel CD’s from various artists.  “The baskets were just the right size for their aged, but wise hands,” said Gordon.

Easter concluded the holiday visits to the St. Helena Parish Nursing Home for the Adopt-A-GP (grandparent) Community Service Initiative, but the SU Ag Center is gearing up for the 2016-2017 school year!

For more information on how you can partner to enhance our Adopt-A-GP! Community Service Initiative, contact Nicolette Gordon in the Tangipahoa Parish Extension Office at 985.748.9381, or in the St. Helena Parish Extension Office at 225.222.4136.


April is National Garden Month

Baton Rouge, La. - Just in Time for National Garden Month: USDA Launches "Plant a Window Box for Pollinators" Using New People's Garden Initiative Website. On March 28, 2016, at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) urged Americans of all ages to "Plant a Window Box for Pollinators" by using a new, free online tool available at the redesigned People's Garden Initiative website.

The new tool allows people to determine which plants will provide pollinator forage based on their zip code. Site visitors can then print out the list of plants to take to their local garden store and grown them in a window box. There is also a virtual window box game. Even a space as small as a window box can help pollinators by ensuring they don't have to fly too far to find food. The interactive People's Garden website also includes the popular live USDA "bee cam" which broadcasts honeybee activity on the roof of USDA's headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
The new People's Garden website is just in time as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated April as National Garden Month.

"Gardens provide a positive setting for pollinators such as bats, bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that contribute substantially to the U.S. economy and play a vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets," Vilsack said in the proclamation.
In addition to the window box tool, the website features an interactive map of the more than 2,100 People's Gardens planted since Vilsack launched the effort at the start of the Obama Administration. The new website shares People's Garden success stories and numerous resources, from videos to checklists, on how-to create a garden that benefits the community and incorporates sustainable practices.

"The website's 'Plant a Window Box for Pollinators' tool is a fun way for gardeners to select native plants for their gardens and, at the same time, help bees, butterflies and other pollinators flourish," said Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Elanor Starmer.

The People's Garden Initiative works with agencies and offices across USDA and with federal, state and local partners to start and sustain gardens with the mission of growing healthy food, people and communities. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, Transportation and Marketing Program oversees the Initiative for the Department.


USDA Offers New Toolkit to Assess Economic Impact of Local Foods

Baton Rouge, La. - New Report from USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Helps Communities Measure the Economic Benefits of Local Food Investments With Real-World Examples and Measurement Tactics. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has unveiled a new resource created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Colorado State University that will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. The Secretary released details about " The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices" in his keynote remarks at the 12th Annual Good Food Festival and Conference in Chicago.

"Strong local and regional food systems are helping to revitalize rural and urban communities across the country, and more than 160,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are tapping into growing consumer demand for locally grown products. With USDA support, this sector is increasing access to healthy foods for local residents and creating opportunity for small businesses that store, process, market and distribute food," said Vilsack. "Now community leaders have a toolkit that can help measure job creation and other economic development indicators, which will help make the case for continued investments."
For more detail, visit USDA at http://1.usa.gov/1qfcfKE

Tuesday, March 22

SU Ag Center’s 12th Annual Procurement Conference draws more than 300 participants

12th annual Procurement Conference

Baton Rouge, LA – Over 300 small business owners, contracts, non-profit organizations, government agencies and prime companies converged on the Smith-Brown Memorial Union on March 22 for the Center for Rural and Small Business Development at the Southern University Ag Center’s 12th Annual Connecting Businesses with Contracts Procurement Conference.

The event was co-hosted by the U. S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University and the Goodwork Network.

Participants were able to network with each other and attended workshops on the topics of: tax reduction strategies, protecting business assets and six figure retirement planning; understanding state purchasing procedures; increasing the potential of success for your businesses; obtaining and keeping your contractor’s license; how the bank reviews/assesses your financial statements, making your decisions based on financial statements and a panel discussion on federal contract opportunities that are available and how to secure these contracts.

A luncheon was also held during the conference that featured a panel of entrepreneurs who discussed how they began their businesses, the challenges they faced as start-up companies and how they found funding. Panel members Lizette Gordon with Carousel Medical Equipment, LLC; Alvinette Teal with Jesco Environmental and Geotechnical Services, Inc. and Danny Blanks and James Washington with Ponchatrain Partner, LLC, also shared words of wisdom with their fellow small business owners.

This year’s conference kicked off with a business to business networking session on March 21 in the Smith-Brown Memorial Union.

For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Center for Rural and Small Business Development Center, visit www.crsbd.com or call 225.771.2242.


Wednesday, March 16

Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives Celebrates National Ag Day

Y.E.S. students participate in National Ag Day activities

Mike Guidry, St. Landry Recycling Center, teaches the importance of recycling to youth
OPELOUSAS, LA – On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives celebrated National Ag Day themed “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” Mike Guidry of the St. Landry Parish-Opelousas Recycling Center facilitated an enrichment on the importance of recycling to students in the Youth Educational Support after-school program. Participants gained knowledge on their role and responsibility to maintain and care for our planet, while also learning about the many ways recycled materials are utilized in sustainable agriculture.

“From making compost to learning that they can make money from recycling goods (cans, bottles, etc.), the students really enjoyed learning about recycling on National Ag Day,” said event organizer, Krystle J. Washington. Many students also committed to begin recycling and encouraging others in their households and communities to do the same. To view pictures from the event, visit the #SUAGDay2016 tag on Instagram.


Tuesday, March 15

Today is National Ag Day – thank a farmer

DeLane Ross, Ag Extension Agent works with students in Iberia Parish on composting

7th graders at SU Lab School participate in National Ag Day event. L-r: Cedric Curry, Tiffany Franklin - SU Ag Center Extension Associate, Rodney Gransberry, Eric Wallace, Landen Wynn, Shajeri Smith, Alayjah Washington, Oakley Lewis, Donovan Jones, Gia Wilson and Angela Carter-Robinson - 6th and 7th Grade Science Instructor

Tiffany Franklin, Extension Associate works with students in East Baton Rouge Parish
Baton Rouge, La. - The SU Ag Center is celebrating National Ag Day today across the state. The theme for this year’s NAD is “Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” Youth and adults across Louisiana are engaged in agricultural activities throughout the day at various schools and community events.

As agriculture professionals, we are Stewards of a Healthy Planet —a future for people, animals and nature.

SU Lab School seventh graders participated in the 2016 National Ag Day event hosted by Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Today’s activities centered on composting for a healthier soil and environment.

The SU Ag Center National Ag Day Committee comprises of Renita Woods Marshall, Chair; Kenyetta Nelson-Smith, Co-Chair; Tiffany Franklin; Lakeeshia Lusk, Photo Contest Co-chair;
Janana Snowden; Mila Berhane; Stephanie Elwood; De’Shoin York; Chris Chappell, Photo Contest Chair; and Marlin Ford.      


Wednesday, March 9

First local 4-H Public Speaking contest held in Orleans Parish

Kiara McKinney 1st place winner, Cassidy Trepageier 2nd place winner, and Jade Gibson 3rd place winner
Baton Rouge, La. – The Orleans Parish 4-H youth program held its first local public speaking contest on Saturday February 27th.  The public speaking contest is held locally to prepare youth to compete in the Statewide Public Speaking Contest at Southern University’s Youth Expo in Baton Rouge.  All youth contestants were judged on General Appearance, Voice Control, Organization of Content and Overall Quality of Speech. The Public Speaking Topic was: “My 4-H experience: What 4-H means to me”.  Youth were also asked to come dressed in Professional Attire. The Public Speaking Judging panelist included Mrs. Butler, Ms. Miller and Mrs. Gordon. Mrs. Butler has 21 years of experience in education and has 7 years of experience as a motivational speaker. Ms. Miller is a junior leader and has been a 4-H member for 4 years. Mrs. Gordon is the owner of Missy Radio station and a 4-H Youth Development Agent for Southern University’s Ag Center. She also has 17 years of experience working in youth development.  Overall, youth enjoyed the public speaking contest and when asked, contestants all felt confident that they would be ready to compete in the Statewide Public Speaking Competitions. 

Tuesday, March 8

Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives to host SPA day for Girls and Boys

Registration Form

Event Announcement 
Baton Rouge, La, - The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives will present Supporting Physical Activities (SPA) Healthy Living Program for Girls and Boys on March 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 1209 Diesi St. in Opelousas.

Do you want to make living healthy fun for youth in the community? The center's “S.P.A. Healthy Lifestyles” is doing just that.
SPA is an educational program aimed at helping youth find new alternatives towards achieving a healthy lifestyle.
This program will offer the following workshops: Fitness Workout; Preparing and Eating Healthy Foods; Having a SPA Day for the girls (facials, manicures, etc.); Etiquette; Grooming and skin care for boys; Stand-Up and Speak-Out Forum; Making a NATURAL lip balm, etc.
This free program is open to all youth between the ages 7 to 18. Registration is limited and required for event participation to help with proper preparation. The deadline to register is Thursday, March 10, 2016.

To register, contact The Southwest Center at 337-943-2410. All participants must bring workout attire, and be ready to have a SPA Day experience! Parents are welcome to stay and have fun too.

Thursday, March 3

SU Ag Center Livestock Show attendees urged to use caution entering and exiting the Livestock Arena

Directions for leaving the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena

Baton Rouge, LA – Exhibitor and supporter of the Southern University Ag Center’s 73rd annual State Livestock Show, which will be held March 3-5, are asked to use extreme caution entering and exiting the show due to road work taking place on US 61 North, near the entrance to the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena located on 14600 Old Scenic Hwy.

Individuals traveling to the arena from the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas should use the following directions:

From 110 North                                                                                    
Merge onto Scenic Hwy. / US 61 N (Exit 8C - Natchez) – 11 miles
Continue onto US 61 N/LA-964 N – 4 miles
Exit onto James C. Archie Road (on the right) directly past the Texaco station.

Individuals traveling to the arena from the Natchez area should:

Travel on US 61 S
Continue onto US 61 N/ LA-964 N – Approximately 80 miles
Exit left at Springfield Rd. and turn left onto US 61 N
Exit onto James C. Archie Road (on the right) directly past the Texaco station.

When leaving the arena via US 61 N, go North through the construction site.

Take US 61 N, turn left onto the shoulder of the road (approximately 25 yards). STOP, then proceed to make a U-Turn (Exercise Extreme Care when entering single lane traffic) onto US 61 N at the end of the barricades.

When leaving the arena via US 61 S:  

Take US 61 N, turn left onto the Service Road making a U-Turn onto US 61 N at the end of the barricades.  Continue North on US 61 until you get to the first left turn. Make a left onto US 61 S.

For questions or additional information, contact the Livestock Show Office at 225.771.3510.