Tuesday, May 23

SARDI to Host FREE ACT Prep Workshop for High School Students

Baton Rouge, La.The Southern University Land-Grant Campus’ Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (SARDI) will host a free ACT Prep Workshop for high school students in St. Landry Parish and surrounding areas.

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 at SARDI, 1209 Diesi Street, in Opelousas, La.

Students interested in attending the workshop, which will be conducted by Dr. Donya Boyd, should RSVP no later than Wednesday, May 31.

For additional information or to RSVP, contact Chasity Johnson at 337-943-2410 or email her at chasity_johnson@suagcenter.com.


Friday, May 12

Twenty-six students receive undergraduate and graduate degrees during Spring Commencement

SU Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Chancellor-Dean Dr. Bobby R. Phills presents Patrice Lazard with her  degree during the Spring Commencement at Southern University. Lazard was the student marshal for the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Baton Rouge, La.The Southern University and A & M College held its Spring 2017 Commencement Exercise on Friday, May 12 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

Nearly 700 undergraduate and graduate students received degrees during the ceremony. Of that number, 24 students received undergraduate degrees and two students received doctoral degrees from the Land-Grant Campus’ College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

The college’s student marshal, the student with the highest GPA in the college, was Patrice Lazard.
The Opelousas native received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. She also earned the Chancellor’s Scholar Award during Southern University’s Annual Academic Honors Day Awards Program on April 19.

Other students receiving undergraduate degrees included: Rali Bass from Monroe; Bobby Bell from Baton Rouge; Brittany Betts from Baton Rouge; Mamie Brignac from Lake Charles; Chasity Collins from Baton Rouge; Yasmin Dotson from Port Barre; Renetta Glover from Baton Rouge; Jacque Harvey from Franklinton; Ariana Lee from Baker; Ashley Lewis from Dallas, TX; Amber Lundy from Baton Rouge; Shakiyla Manuel from Jennings; Latonya Mcgowan from Utica, MS; Sharnicia Quarles from Sibley; Cynthia Ransom from Baton Rouge; Taylor Semones from Alexandra; Devonte` Smith from Lafayette; Brandi Suel from Donaldsonville; Sarah Thanni from Baton Rouge; Gabrielle Topps from Franklinton; Domonique Truss from Houston, TX; Melanie Williams from Clinton and Britiany Wilson from Baker.

Students receiving doctoral degrees in Urban Forestry were Emma Thomas from Opelousas and Kendric Stewart.

The Southern University Land-Grant Campus comprises of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Photos from Commencement are available here.


SU Land-Grant Research Associate wins the May "Above and Beyond" Award

L-r: SU System President Ray Belton; SU Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ann Smith; award recipient Curtis Chisley; Vice Chair of the SU board of supervisors Rev. Donald R. Henry; and SU Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Chancellor-Dean Phills 
Baton Rouge, La - Mr. Curtis Chisley, research associate at the SU Agricultural Land-Grant Campus received the "Above and Beyond" Award during the May 12, 2017 Southern University Board of Supervisors’ monthly meeting in Baton Rouge.

Chisley was nominated, and recommended “without the slightest hesitation, with the highest professional, and personal regards” by Dr. Calvin Reuben Walker, Chairman of Dept. Agricultural Sciences at SUBR and Vice Chancellor for Research at the SU Ag Center
“I am honored and elated to be recognized for my efforts in helping to move the SU Agricultural Land-Grant Campus forward,” said Mr. Chisley. 

A certificate of appreciation from his students was also presented to Chisley at the time of his board recognition.

The SU System President Ray Belton; SU Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ann Smith; Vice Chair of the SU Board of Supervisors Rev. Donald R. Henry; and SU Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Chancellor-Dean Phills offered congratulations to the honoree. 


Monday, May 8

SU Land-Grant Faculty members join ECOP-ESCOP Health Action Teams in Maryland

The 5 Health Action Team members pose for a group photo
Baton Rouge, La. - Members of the 5 Health Action Teams met in Annapolis, Maryland May 1-2, 2017 in conjunction with the National Health Outreach Conference. The Health Action Teams were highlighted in the ECOP Monday Minute on May 5th, at https://goo.gl/CJix7R. Two nutrition faculty members from the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus served on two of the five teams. Bernestine McGee, Professor of Human Nutrition and Food in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Science, served on the Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Team. Fatemeh Malekian, Professor of Human Nutrition at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center served on the Health Literacy Action Team.

The teams developed a plan of action for their final report as the term of their appointment ends in 2017. They identified professional development from their areas that could contribute to six core competencies for Extension professionals to align with the Cooperative Extension/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnership. The teams were thanked for their service and acknowledged as pioneers of the Cooperative Extension’s National Framework for Health and Wellness.

At the national level, Cooperative Extension is coordinated by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), the representative leadership and governing body. The Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) is the executive or operating body of the Experiment Station Section. It handles continuing business, organization, and policy issues on behalf of the state agricultural experiment station directors.



Friday, May 5

SARDI Hosts Successful Small Business Summit

The Sustainable Agriculture Rural Development Institute partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration to host its Acadiana Small Business Summit.

Baton Rouge, La.The Sustainable Agriculture Rural Development Institute (SARDI) kicked off National Small Business Week by hosting its first Acadiana Small Business Summit (ASBS) on Monday, May 1. The event was held from 8:45 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Institute’s location on 1209 Diesi Street in Opelousas, La.

More than 40 area small-business owners and interested entrepreneurs attended the various workshops offered during the summit.

SARDI partnered with The U.S. Small Business Administration to host the event, which provided participates with information on everything from writing a business plan to securing governmental contracts. Many participants requested that the summit take place annually due to the breadth of relevant knowledge presented.

Proclamations from both the Mayor of Opelousas, Reginald “Reggie” Tatum and the Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, were presented to the organizers of the summit in recognition of National Small Business week.

SARDI has also partnered with SCORE to host monthly small-business meetings to encourage economic development in the Acadiana region. The meetings will begin Thursday, May 18. Tonia Askins, Louisiana District Director of SCORE Louisiana, will mentor small business owners in various areas, from marketing to finance. 

For more information, please contact SARDI at 337-943-2410 or email Krystle_Washington@suagcenter.com.

Thursday, May 4

SARDI host Federation of Southern Cooperatives Workshop

Producers listen to a speaker during the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Livestock and Health Management Workshop, which was held at SARDI on April 22, 2017.

Baton Rouge, La.The Federation of Southern Cooperatives hold their Livestock and Health Management Workshop at the Sustainable Agriculture Rural Development Institute (SARDI) on Saturday, April 22 in Opelousas, La.

Antonio Harris, director of SARDI, offered greetings to the nearly 35 producers in attendance for the workshop.

The event’s topics of discussion included:        
·         Emergency Preparedness and Response
·         On – Farm Biosecurity Issues
·         Traceability of Livestock Diseases
·         Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund Program and Services

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives is a non-profit organization whose mission includes striving toward the development of self-supporting communities with programs that increase income and enhance other opportunities. The cooperative also strives to assist in land retention and development, especially for African Americans, but essentially for all family farmers. 

SARDI is a satellite campus of the SU Ag Center housed in Opelousas, La. The Institute focuses on improving the socioeconomic well-being of citizens in rural communities within a ten-parish region of St. Landry, Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, and Vermillion Parishes.

The SU Ag Center and College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences together are called the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus.

For additional information about SARDI or to receive information about its programs and services, call 337-943-2410.


Tuesday, May 2

The Land-Grant Campus’ Nutritionally Yours Program begins ‘Growing Healthy initiative

Provides access to fruit orchards and food

SU Land-Grant Campus Nutrition Educator Kiyana Kelly, Extension Associate Ellen McKnight and Growing Healthy Initiative Coordinator Stephanie Elwood pose with a class from Clinton Elementary School after planting a fruit orchard.

Baton Rouge, La.Spring has sprung and the entire nutrition education staff is in full stride!  Both Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) staff have begun planting fruit orchards in food deserts, across the state of Louisiana.

Our Cooperative Extension model demonstrates the cultivation of organic partnerships with people from public, private and grass roots community organizations through outreach. These partnerships allow us to assess the needs of the community. From parish to parish, fresh food access was the common sentiment shared. In many cases, our clientele had the desire to make healthy food selections, but often times had limited to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Further research using the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Access Research Atlas revealed that the majority of our direct and indirect nutrition education sites were located in urban and rural food deserts.

One of our major partnerships is with public schools. We partner with several schools in the state by providing a series of nutrition education lessons to students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In keeping with the SU Land-Grant Campus’s mission and our federal nutrition program objectives, we provide this direct and indirect nutrition education using a policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) approach. Policy, systems and environmental change (PSE) approaches seek to go beyond programming and into the systems that create the structures, in which our program clientele live, work and play. The Growing Healthy initiative is doing just that.  At no cost to the schools, our staff provides a series of nutrition education lessons, and the implementation of a vegetable garden or fruit orchard. We provide all materials and trees on the planting day. Based on the growing climate in the region, schools can select from peach, satsuma, fig, pecan, lemon or apple trees. Blackberry, blueberry and raspberry bushes are also available for planting. Once our staff has completed the implementation, the garden or orchard becomes the property of the schools, which provides a continuous supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Plainly speaking, the Growing Healthy initiative is nutrition education in action,” says Stephanie Elwood, Growing Healthy Initiative Coordinator. It utilizes components of permaculture to ensure the production of low maintenance and sustainable fresh fruit and vegetables. Past experiences indicate that campus fruit orchards are an excellent way to increase fresh food access and encourage healthier lifestyle changes among students, faculty and staff. The most recent orchards have been planted at Bastrop High School, Clinton Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary and The Boys and Girl Club of Lafayette. To date 47 fruit trees and 23 bushes have been planted. This initiative is implemented by our Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents, SNAP-Ed, EFNEP Nutrition Educators, and Extension Associates. Currently, we have 25 parcels yielding fruit and vegetables at our direct nutrition education sites. Our goal is to double that number by the end of the 2018 fiscal year. 

For more information about the Land-Grant Campus’s signature nutrition education programs, contact us at 225-771-6236 or email ellen_mcknight@suagcenter.com. 


SU & LSU Ag Centers hold Highly Successful Small Ruminant Field Day

Baton Rouge, LA – The Southern University Ag Center, held its 12th joint Small Ruminant Field Day with the LSU AgCenter on April 29 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena, 14600 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge.
Field Day presentations and demonstrations

Small ruminant (sheep and goat) experts from both the SU and LSU Ag Centers made presentations on forage management, nutrition and health interaction, infectious and parasitic diseases, small ruminant reproduction and drug use/off label issues.

Nearly 50 participants turned out for the event, which also featured demonstrations and hands-on activities on injections, fecal sample analysis, body condition scoring and a question and answer session with presenters. Goat and sheep meat products were on the lunch menu.

Producers also participated in a FAMACHA certification course. FAMACHA (pronounced FAffa MAlan CHArt) is a diagnostic tool that helps farmers identify parasite infection in small ruminants, such as sheep and goats. The tool is a chart that matches eyelid color to anemia levels, an indicator of parasite infection. FAMACHA was developed in South Africa and is distributed in the United States through the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Pest Control.

Even a few cattle producers mingled with the small ruminant participants. John A. and John C. Womack, a father and son team from St. Helena, runs a 26-head operation of cattle, and attended the workshop to learn more about forages, basic animal husbandry and soil testing.

College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Science students helped with registration and presentations during the Rosenwald Elementary School tour of the event. College students who assisted were Terrell Hills, majoring in Animal Science and Irene Lewis, a Plant and Soil Science major. Rosenwald Elementary School is located in New Roads, La., Pointe Coupee Parish.

The lead collaborators from the SU Ag Center were - Sebhatu Gebrelul, Ph.D., Animal Science Professor, who can be reached at 225.771.3841 or sebhatu_gebrelul@suagcenter.com and Renita W. Marshall, DVM/Associate Professor, Animal Science; and from the LSU AgCenter - Ken McMillin, Ph.D., who can be reached at 225.578.3438 or kmcmillin@agcenter.lsu.edu; and Jim Miller, Ph.D.

The event was sponsored by SU Land-Grant Campus; USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service; Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE); LA Dept. of Ag and Forestry; LSU School of Vet. Medicine; and LSU AgCenter.      

Photos from the event are posted here.    

Monday, May 1

USDA/NIFA Top Official holds seminar at The Land-Grant Campus

Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of USDA/NIFA, held a seminar at the SU Ag Center as a part of his visit to the SU Land-Grant Campus on April 25, 2017. (Photo by Chris Rogers.)

Baton Rouge, La.The director of USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy held a seminar titled, “National Institute of Food and Agriculture: An Update from Your Federal Partner” on April 25, 2017 at the SU Ag Center.

During his presentation, Ramaswamy discussed the fact that people are dying because of food all over the world. Some, due to lack of food and some because there is too much food.

He went on to say that Americans need to reduce the amount of food that we waste every year.

“We lose about a third or half of all the food we make before it makes it to the dinner table,” said Ramaswamy. “We are wasting and losing about $120 billion annually. Food waste is not only happening in homes; it’s also happening in restaurants,” citing huge serving portions and how grocery stores throw away bruised fruits and vegetables.

He encouraged the students in the room to develop new ideas to make what was once called unusable food attractive, like the creators of Ugly Juice, LLC, which uses aesthetically imperfect fruits and vegetables to make their juices.

Ramaswamy also warned the audience that nutrition and agricultural scientists must find solutions to problems such as hunger, obesity and access to nutritious foods or the situation will get worse by 2050 – the year many scientists have predicted that the global populations will surpass 9 billion people and will increase the demand for food and fiber.  

Prior to the seminar, Ramaswamy met with 1890 student scholars, members of the Land-Grant Campus’s executive team and USDA/NIFA grant recipients from the SU Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

A luncheon for Dr. Ramaswamy was also held in the Donald C. Wade House on the Southern University Baton Rouge Campus. While at the luncheon, Dr. Ramaswamy was able to speak and network with SU Land-Grant Campus Chancellor-Dean, Dr. Bobby Phills; SU Land-Grant Campus Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Andra Johnson; SU System President-Chancellor, Dr. Ray Belton; SU Baton Rouge Campus Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs & Provost, Dr. M. Christopher Brown; SU Law Center Chancellor, Dr. John Pierre and other system dignitaries.

Photos of Dr. Ramaswamy’s visit are available at our Google album.