Friday, April 29

Students from Park Ridge Magnet School visit the SU Ag Center’s Urban Farm

Park Ridge Magnet Academic School students till soil during a visit to the SU Ag Center's Sustainable Urban Agriculture Demonstration Farm on April 25, 2016. 

Students smell the herbs grown in the SU Ag Center's Urban Farm.

Baton Rouge, LA – Sixty students in kindergarten – 2nd grade from Park Ridge Academic Magnet School visited the Southern University Ag Center's Sustainable Urban Agriculture Demonstration Farm on April 25.

The students toured the Center's greenhouse, learned about milkweed plants (which feed the caterpillar’s that become monarch butterflies) and how to make compost.

They were also able to participate in hands-on activities such as tilling the soil in a raised bed, planting seeds, watering plants, smelling the fresh herbs grown in the garden and petting baby chicks.

The farm, known as the “show and tell garden,” is available for tours throughout the year.  To schedule a tour, contact Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin or Zanetta Augustine at 225-771-2242.          

SU Ag Center to host SPA Day for Girls in Orleans Parish

Flyer for Orleans Parish SPA Day for Girls

The Southern University Ag Center’s Youth Educational Support (Y.E.S.) Program in Orleans Parish and the Doris Sisters Program will host a Supporting Physical Activities (SPA) Healthy Living Program for Girls on April 30 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Mary D. Coghill Charter School Gym, 4617 Mirabeau Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70126.

The event is free and open to girls between the ages of 11 – 18 who are 4-H Club members in New Orleans and/or participant with the Doris Sisters Program.

The SPA Day event will cover the topics of: Business101, Grooming, Nail Care and Spa Treatments, Exercise and Fitness, and Social Media Etiquette.

There will also be healthy food demonstrations and the young ladies will participate in an etiquette luncheon.

Parents are welcome to stay during the event.

The Y.E.S. Program is an after-school enrichment initiative that works with families that have limited resources. The program’s goals are to expand and cultivate the need for family and community involvement, develop positive self-concept (self-esteem) among youth, enrich and empower youth, identify alternative methods for redirecting undesirable behavior while applying positive discipline techniques and building on the strengths and interest of the youth.

The Doris Sisters Program is a mentoring program designed to cultivate, unify, educate and inspire young ladies through cooperative learning experiences and community service opportunities.

For more information about the SU Ag Center’s SPA Day in Orleans Parish, contact Krystal Sugulleh Stewart, Orleans Parish Extension Agent, at or by phone at 504.658.2901.

SU Urban Forestry Student Joshua Simon wins first place in National MANRRS Contest

SU Urban Forestry major, Joshua Simon, holds his first place Undergraduate Written Essay Award during the 31st Annual Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science (MANRRS) Career Fair and Training Conference.

Baton Rouge, LA – Southern University Urban Forestry major, Joshua Simon, won first place in the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Undergraduate Written Essay Contest. Simon, a junior from Morganza, La., attended the National MANRRS 31st Annual Career Fair and Training Conference in Jacksonville, Fla. from March 30 - April 2, 2016.

The MANRRS Conference provides a forum for student members to showcase their talents and abilities through their participation in contests. Students can compete against top-tier universities and colleges from across the U.S. in a total of 10 contests that range from Undergraduate and Graduate Oral and Poster Research, Research Discussion, and Written Essay to a Business Plan Pitch Competition.

Simon placed first out of 60 contestants, with his essay titled, “Growing the Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders.”

“I was thrilled, almost in disbelief when I was named as the first place winner of the national written essay contest,” said Simon. “When competing against larger institutions, Southern University is often overlooked as a competitor, but they were shown different in this competition. I truly enjoyed winning first place and I am looking forward to next year to hopefully win first in another competition. I am proud to be an Urban Forestry student at Southern U,” he add.

MANRRS is a national student organization that “promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.”

The organization has more than 50 chapters at universities throughout the country that include Louisiana State, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Clemson, Florida A&M, Auburn, Alcorn State, The Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue and Prairie View A&M University.

Southern University Ag Center faculty and staff members Zanetta Augustine, Dr. Renita Marshall, Dr. Janana Snowden and Dr. Christopher Chappell, along with USDA Liaison Alice Johnson, serve as MANRRS advisors for students on the Southern University campus.

For additional information about the Southern University Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences chapter, contact Zanetta Augustine at 225.771.2242. For information on the MANRRS organization, visit 


Wednesday, April 27

SU Ag Center set for 2016 School Garden Graduation Ceremony

Add caption
Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will hold a graduation ceremony for students participating in the “Eradicating Food Deserts through the Development of School Gardens” project. The event will recognize participants from Southern University Laboratory School, Scotlandville Magnet High School, and Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Academy on Wednesday, May 4 from 9:00 am – Noon at A. O. Williams Hall. Stephanie Elwood, Extension Associate serves as Garden Instructor, and Tiffany Franklin, Project Director is Program Coordinator.


Tuesday, April 26

Teens Travel to Louisiana’s State Capitol to Advocate for Sex Ed in the Classroom

State Representative Patricia Smith listens to Outstanding Mature Girlz (OMG) Club member Teanna Lee express her opinion on House Bill 369.

State Representative Ted James listens to OMG Club members voice their concerns about the rise in HIV/AIDS and STD's among their peers. 

Baton Rouge, LA – Seven teens from the Outstanding Mature Girlz Club (OMG) met with some of Louisiana’s Legislators on March 29, 2016 for Legislative Awareness Day (LAD) at the Louisiana State Capitol. 
In the last two years HIV/AIDS have doubled amongst teens in Louisiana. According to the June 30, 2015 Louisiana HIV, AIDS and Early Syphilis Surveillance Quarterly Report, 25% of all new HIV diagnoses in Louisiana during 2014 occurred among persons 13-24 years old.  In the first half of 2015, the report stated that 44% of all early syphilis diagnoses in Louisiana occurred among persons between the ages of 13 and 24.  While those numbers are increasing, many law makers wholeheartedly agreed with the young ladies that implementing Sex Ed in public schools may need to be revisited.

OMG Club members Deanna and Teanna Lee met with State Representative Patricia Smith to learn more about House Bill 369 that would mandate sex education in public schools. However, the bill was killed during the 2015 House Education Committee meeting with three representatives voting in favor of the bill, and ten opposing it.  “We have to do a little more research, there’s a survey youth can take called Youth Risk Assessment. Young people are being educated with wrong information about sex from their peers, and we have to be sure they are getting the right information,” said Rep. Smith.

The young ladies did not stop there, they also met and spoke with newly elected State Representative Robby Carter, (who succeeded Governor John Bel Edwards) and State Senator Rick Ward III for the first time.  Both young ladies asked very tough questions and listened to the representatives’ views on this sensitive subject matter.  Senator Ward agreed to schedule a meeting in St. Helena Parish with school administrators and youth to discuss their concerns, and find solutions to put an end to this growing HIV/AID, Syphilis epidemic amongst youth in Louisiana.

“Before I joined the OMG Club I did not realize HIV and AIDS were two different things,” said Deanna Lee. 

During their brief meeting with State Representative Edward ‘Ted’ James, both young ladies reemphasized how important it was to learn information from people who were more knowledgeable than their peers.  Rep. James reassured the OMG Club that he would definitely speak with his colleagues about this sensitive but very important matter.

Monday, April 25

SU and LSU Ag Centers set for April 30 Small Ruminant Field Day

Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, LA – The Southern University Ag Center, along with the LSU AgCenter, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and the Kentwood Co-op, will host a small ruminant field day on April 30.

The event, which will be held at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine located on Skip Bertman Dr. on the LSU campus, will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.

A fee of $5 per person or $10 per family will be charged to cover the cost of lunch and materials.

Researchers from the SU Ag Center will present information on the center’s newly established Master Small Ruminant Certification Program and share updates on the research they are conducting on small ruminants.

Producers can also participate in a FAMACHA certification course, which is used to treat and control Barber’s Pole worms and other parasites in goats and sheep, for an additional $10.

Small ruminant experts from both the SU and LSU Ag Centers will make presentations on forage management, nutrition and health interaction; distiller grains; infectious and parasitic diseases; small ruminant reproduction and drug use/ off label issues.

The day will also feature demonstrations and hands-on activities on injections, fecal and blood collection, body condition scoring and a question and answer session with veterinarians.

For information on the SU Ag Center’s Master Small Ruminant Certification Program, contact Dr. Sebhatu Gebrelul at or at 225.771.3841.

For additional information about the field day, contact Ken McMillin at or at 225.578.3438 or Jim Miller at or at 225.578.9652.

Friday, April 22

SU Board of Supervisors votes to merge the College of Ag with the Ag Center

Former SU Ag Center Chancellor Dr. Leodrey Williams speaks to the members of the Southern University Board of Supervisors during the April 22 board meeting.

Baton Rouge, LAThe Southern University Board of Supervisors voted to merge the Southern University College of Agriculture with the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center during the board’s April 22 meeting.

The move will transfer the academic unit located on the SU Baton Rouge campus to the Ag Center; allowing the operating functions of the three land-grant units (Teaching, Research and Cooperative Extension) to be located under one umbrella.

The Ag Center currently employs 115 employees (includes vacancies), with field staff in 36 parishes across the state. The Center, which is overseen by a Chancellor, consists of research and extension units and has an operating budget of $7,809,249 (for 2016).

The college encompasses the academic arm of the land-grant mission. It currently employs seven part-time and 15 full time employees.

“We’re excited,” said Dr. Doze Butler, Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and Agriculture, about the merger.  “It’s good for the academic program,” she added.

“It is a great day for the citizens of Louisiana as the SU College of Agriculture is officially aligned with the SU Ag Center,” said Dr. Adell Brown, interim Chancellor of the SU Ag Center. “Resources can more effectively be directed to ensure that teaching, research and extension programs are being implemented to provide opportunities to our most underserved youth, families, and farmers. This alignment allows us to work as an agricultural family to shape new academic offerings, as we prepare our students for the 21st century work force needs in agriculture.”

The Southern University System established the Agricultural, Research and Extension Center as its fifth campus in 2001.

The merger will be effective on July 1, 2016.


Wednesday, April 13

USDA to hold Public Meeting of Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers

Baton Rouge, La. - A public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers will take place on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 from 1:00 -5:00 p.m.; Wednesday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; and, Thursday, May 12 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. CST. To register for the meeting, please send an email to: and include your name, organization and contact information. The meeting venue is as follows: 
Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel, 700 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.  Tel: (504) 613-2330.
An agenda will be made available during the meeting.  For those participating remotely, the agenda will be available prior to the meeting at: Presentations on policies and programs affecting minority farmers will be made by, but not limited to, the following USDA agencies:
  • Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service Programs (international trade opportunities)
  • Rural Development (renewable energy opportunities)
The Committee will also deliberate on issues involving minority farmers and will deliberate on recommendations to be prepared for USDA Secretarial consideration.  Members of the public are invited to attend.  The meeting will also be available via teleconference in "listen-only" mode by dialing the number below:
(888) 455-1685 and enter passcode 4225205#
Persons who wish to make in-person comments must sign in by 1:00 pm CSTeach day. Also, any questions and written statements may be submitted in advance of the meeting to or via fax to: (202) 720–7136. You may also mail statements to:
Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Officer, OAO, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Whitten Bldg., Room 520–A, Mail Stop 0601, Washington, D.C. 20250.

For further information, please call (202) 720–6350 or send an email to:

Follow us on Twitter

Friday, April 8

USDA: Grants Avaialble to Help Agricultural Producers Increase the Value of Their Products

Baton Rouge, LA. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.  Full announcement is available at

"America's farmers, ranchers and rural business owners are innovative entrepreneurs and this program helps them grow economic opportunities for their families and communities by increasing the value of the items they produce," Vilsack said. "The Value-Added Producer Grant program has a great track record of helping producers increase the value of products and expand their markets and customer base, strengthening rural America in the process."

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators.

More information on how to apply is on page 20607 of the April 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available through the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county.


Thursday, April 7

SU Ag Center Holds Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Workshop

Dr. Ali Mohamed, USDA/NIFA discussing Food, Energy and Water: 
Natural Resources and Environment Perspective

Dr. Christopher Chappell explaining a Bio-reactor equipment used in detecting tree health 

Chappell demonstrating the use of the Bio-reactor equipment 
Baton Rouge, La. –The Southern University Urban Forestry Program organized a Louisiana Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Seminar at the SU Ag Center, April 6-7. Interim Chancellor Adell Brown, Jr., and Urban Forestry Program Leader Dr. Kamran Abdollahi were on hand to welcome workshop participants.

Topics of discussion for the morning session on day one included: Food, Energy and Water: Natural Resources and Environment Perspective presented by Dr. Ali Mohamed, Division Director of Environmental Systems, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA); Priority Area in Forestry and Natural Resources, Research, Education and Extension – Dr. Catalino Blanche, National Program Leader, Division of Environmental System, USDA; Louisiana Arborist Certification Program and Arboriculture Extension – Dr. Hallie Dozier, Professor, School of Renewable Natural Resources, LSU Ag Center; and Baton Rouge Green: Urban and Community Forestry Projects – Robert Seemann, Program Director, Baton Rouge.

The afternoon session continued with discussions on: Urban Forest Ecosystem Analysis for Scotlandville, Louisiana by Dr. Zhu Hua Ning, Professor and Project Director, Urban Forestry Program; Live Oak Tree Preservation, Risk Assessment, and Management Practices – Dr. Fred Fellner, Director, Landscape Services, LSU; Urban Soil Erosion: A Case Study of Scott’s Bluff, Scotlandville – Dr. Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Professor and Project Director, Urban Forestry Program; SU Urban Forestry Program: Utilizing Innovative Approaches in Education, Research and Outreach – Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, Professor and Program Leader, SU Urban Forestry Program; GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies and Urban Forest Analysis in Louisiana – Dr. Fulbert Mamnwamba, Professor and Project Director, Urban Forestry Program; and Developing Urban Forest Wetland Management Research by Dr. Christopher Chappell, Assistant Professor, Urban Forestry Program, SU.

Activities on the second day consisted of hands-on demonstrations including: Urban Forest Wood Waste Biomass-to-Fuel Conversion; Ground Penetrating Radar for Tree Root Assessment, Urban Ecology Studies; Eco-physiology Studies; GIS and Remote Sensing; and Citrus Tree Planting on SU Campus.  Other activities were arranged by request. 


Monday, April 4

SU Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension Dr. Gina Eubanks named to the BREADA Board

Dr. Gina E. Eubanks, Vice Chancellor for Extension at the SU Ag Center, has been appointed to the governing board of BREADA.

Baton Rouge, LA – Southern University Ag Center’s Vice Chancellor for Extension, Dr. Gina E. Eubanks, was appointed to the board of the Big River Economic & Agricultural Development Alliance (BREADA) during one of the organization’s recent board meetings.

BREADA began in 1996 when Chris Campany recruited a group of farmers to start Baton Rouge’s first farmers market as part of his Master’s thesis at Louisiana State University. From that group, the Red Stick Farmers Market was created and the first farmers market was held the same year. BREADA also received its 501 © 3 non-profit organization status in 1996 and began working to increase economic opportunities for small farmers.

BREADA entered into a partnership with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the State of Louisiana to open the Main Street Market, which serves as an incubator for small businesses. To date, the organization has established a mobile farmers market that provides access to fresh fruits and vegetable to limited access neighborhoods and a kids club that teaches healthy lifestyles to children.

BREADA has a mission of, “building healthy and strong local food systems; increasing the sustainability of independent local farmers, fishers and food producers; and to foster stewardship of land and community through public markets.”

As a member of the board, Eubanks and the other 15 board members will oversee the policies implemented by the organization to assist small farmers and promote the idea of purchasing locally grown food.

Eubanks has been employed with the Southern University System since the 1990’s when we joined the faculty as Coordinator of Family and Consumer Sciences. She would continue to rise through the ranks to be named Vice Chancellor for Extension at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in 2002.

In May of 2013, Eubanks was named Associate Vice Chancellor and Program Leader for Nutrition and Food Sciences at the Louisiana State University AgCenter. She currently serves in a dual appointment at both the SU and LSU Ag Centers.

Prior to her employment at Southern, Eubanks has taught at Alcorn State University, Oklahoma State University and Virginia Tech.

She received a B.S. degree in clothing and textiles from Southern University in 1977. Eubanks earned an M.S. degree in clothing and textiles merchandising in 1978 and a Ph.D. in home economics in 1987, both degrees are from Oklahoma State University.

LDAF Now Accepting SCBGP Applications

Baton Rouge, La. – The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., announced on March 31.

Applications must be received no later than close of business (4:30 p.m.) May 9, 2016.

The LDAF will administer the grant program funded through the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). The USDA allocated $314,385.77 to fund Louisiana projects. For full detail, visit Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry at

The grants are to be used for projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of Louisiana-grown specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turf grass/sod, nursery and greenhouse crops.

Individual farms are not eligible to apply; however, producer associations, state and/or local organizations, state or local governments, qualified educational institutions, non-profits and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible recipients. Applicants must reside in or their business or educational affiliation must be in Louisiana.

All applicants are required to obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and include that number on their application. LDAF will accept grant applications with a yearly budget value of up to $100,000. Grants can be awarded for projects lasting up to two years and 11 months. All LDAF approved projects will be incorporated into one state grant request, which will be submitted to the USDA.

LDAF has prepared a Request for Applications (RFA) document detailing application instructions, scoring criteria, federal forms, project format examples and other helpful information from the USDA. The document may be found at

A complete list of eligible specialty crops is available at

For more information, contact Michelle Estay, director of Commodity Promotion and Research at 985-345-9483.


Friday, April 1


Baton Rouge, LA - Obama Administration’s Efforts Will Bring Finality to Longstanding Claims of Discrimination in USDA Program Delivery. As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.
“The Obama Administration has made it a priority to resolve all claims of past discrimination at USDA, and we are committed to closing this sad chapter in USDA’s history,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers who allege past discrimination can now come forward to participate in a claims process in which they have the opportunity to receive compensation.” 
“Under the resolution announced today, USDA and Hispanic and women farmers will be able to move forward and focus on the future,” said Assistant Attorney General West.  “The administrative process being established will give Hispanic and women farmers who believe they suffered discrimination the chance to have their claims heard.”

The claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers. This announcement follows the Obama Administration’s settlement of longstanding litigation brought by African-American farmers and Native American farmers.
The program provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000.  Hispanic or female farmers who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can receive a $50,000 reward.  Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans.   There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program.  Participation is voluntary, and individuals who opt not to participate are not precluded by the program from filing a complaint in court.
In conjunction with this announcement, USDA is launching an outreach effort to potential claimants that will include a call center for farmers and ranchers, a website, public service announcements and in-person meetings around the country.  Individuals interested in participating in the claims process may register to receive a claims package, or may obtain more information, by visiting  Beginning March 15, 2011, individuals can register to receive a claims package by calling the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429.  USDA cannot provide legal advice to potential claimants.  Persons seeking legal advice may contact a lawyer or other legal services provider.

Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA is addressing civil rights complaints that go back decades, and this announcement is another major step towards achieving that goal.  USDA is committed to resolving allegations of past discrimination and ushering in “a new era of civil rights” for USDA.  In February 2010, Secretary Vilsack and Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced the Pigford II settlement with African-American farmers. In October 2010, Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General West announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers.  Meanwhile, Secretary Vilsack continues to advocate for resolution of all remaining claims of past discrimination against USDA.

In Louisiana, contact Mr. Jimmy R. McAlpine, Program Analyst, Outreach, Diversity & Equal Opportunity at (662) 686-3634 or Email: