Friday, December 20

SU Ag Center teaches Thrive Academy students to harvest greens

Students at Thrive Academy's Garden Club recently harvested over a dozen bunches of mustard greens which they cooked for one of their meals.


Baton Rouge, La. – Southern University Ag Center’s Fast Track Grant Program has established a flourishing garden at Thrive Academy. The Center has had an agricultural presence at the school since 2013.

This year, every Monday from 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. approximately 15 students meet for the school’s Garden Club, which has have been led by garden instructor and SU Ag Center Extension Associate, Stephanie Elwood.

The campus’ 14 raised garden beds are filled with vibrantly green and deep purple-red mustard greens among other cool-weather crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, and strawberries. The students recently made their first harvest of greens. Seven female students in the club enthusiastically learned how to appropriately harvest the greens, and harvested over a dozen bunches.

After the greens were harvested the school’s residential assistant (RA), the leader of the dorm, quickly called her grandmother to retrieve her best mustard greens recipe, which she shared with the whole club. 

The students at Thrive Academy were able to literally plant the seeds, harvest, cut, wash, cook and eat their mustard greens. This is an experience they can take with them for the rest of their lives, and hopefully share with their grandchildren as well. 

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Kentwood High students participate in 4-H Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training

Forty Kentwood High School 4-H Club members participated in the club's 2019 Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training on Dec. 19.


Baton Rouge, La. – Kentwood High Magnet School held its 2019 Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training on December 19, 2019 at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill in Hammond, La. The Ambassador Training was open to all 4-H Club members, in grades 7th – 12th, that attend the school.

Forty youth attended the training and worked cooperatively with each other to foster a real-life application of teamwork. Youth Ambassadors were also tasked during a working Christmas Luncheon to create their own personal quotes about teamwork to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the team.

“Alone we can do so little, together we could do so much,” was the quote that resonated with Tahlia Carter, an 8th-grade Ambassador at Kentwood High Magnet School.

As part of the training, youth organized assembly lines to package canned goods, toys, and coats to donate to God's Store House Thrift Store just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.

For additional information about the 4-H Club activities at Kentwood High Magnet School, contact Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, at 985-748-9381.

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Thursday, December 19

SU Ag Center to host leadership summit for mayors and community leaders in Jonesville

Event Flyer


Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center will host its Learning Everyday About Development (L.E.A.D.) Summit for mayors and community leaders on January 30, 2020 at 9 a.m. in the Classic Venue on the Bayou, 208 4th Street, in Jonesville, La. 71343.

The summit will equip mayors, police juries, city council members and other community decision-makers with the tools to help communities reach their potential while unlocking previously untapped resources.

Topics covered during the summit will include:

·         Bettering your communities through grants
·         Community development
·         Initiatives used to develop the economy of small towns

The summit is free, but pre-registration is required. To register, visit 

For additional information about the L. E. A. D. Summit, contact Gerald Williams at 225-771-5782 or email him at gerald_williams@suagcenter.com.

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Wednesday, December 18

SU Ag Center now accepting meat pre-sale orders for 77th Annual Livestock Show


2020 Meat Order Form


Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center's Livestock Show Office is currently accepting pre-orders for non-processed choice beef, pork, lamb and goat meats.

All proceeds from the meat sale go directly to the youth participants as a reward for their hard work and financial investment. The following meat choices and quantities are now available for pre-order:

  • Whole beef - $2,000
  • Half beef - $1,000
  • Fourth beef - $500
  • Whole pork - $225
  • Whole lamb - $200
  • Whole goat - $175
There is a processing fee that is not included in the original cost of the meat. All purchases must be paid by money order or check and made payable to the Southern University Ag Center Livestock Show, prior to picking up the meat from the slaughterhouse. Southern University System employees are allowed to purchase meat through payroll deduction.

Individuals who don’t pre-order their meat are invited to do so during the show’s ‘Special Junior Auction Sale’ on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

The office will deliver the meat to either Cutrer’s Slaughter House in Kentwood, 985.229.2478 or Rouchers in Plaquemine, 225.687.4258.  

Donations to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank are also welcome.

The 77th Annual State Livestock & Poultry Show will be held February 27 – 29, 2020 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena, 14600 Scenic Hwy, in Baton Rouge.

Southern University has held an annual Livestock Show since 1943 and is the only 1890 land-grant institution currently continuing the tradition of providing an opportunity for the state’s youth to showcase their animals, gain entrepreneurship skills and receive character and leadership training.

For more information on the SU Ag Center’s Livestock Show, how to participate in the show or how to purchase meat; visit http://www.suagcenter.com/page/2020-livestock-show or contact the Livestock Show Office at 225.771.6208.
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SU Ag Center holds successful Fall Garden Workshop

Sarah Sims, SU Ag Center's Nutrition Educator for Madison and Richland Parishes, discussed the equipment needed to properly make preserves and jams from fresh fruits and vegetables during the 8th annual Fall Garden Workshop on Nov. 26, 2019.


Baton Rouge, La. – More than 90 teachers, backyard gardeners, and community garden coordinators attended the Southern University Ag Center’s 8th Annual Fall Garden Workshop on Nov. 26 at the M. A. Edmond Livestock Arena Multipurpose Building.

Orlando F. McMeans, Ph.D., Chancellor-Dean of the SU Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, was on hand to provide greetings to the attendees.

This year’s workshop focused on learning how to preserve fruits and vegetables and abiding by the state's Cottage Food Rules and Regulations. Stephanie Elwood, Extension Associate for the SU Ag Center, facilitated a session on eating locally grown produce; Sarah Sims, SU Ag Center’s Nutrition Educator for Madison and Richland Parishes, provided instructions on the proper way to make preserves and jams from fresh fruits and vegetables; Gabriela Crespo Gautierrez, Assistant Manager of the Food Incubator at LSU’s School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, discussed the state's cottage food rules and regulations; Mila Berhane, Senior Research Associate at the SU Ag Center, demonstrated how to graft vegetables; and Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., Professor of Urban Forestry and Soil Sciences in SU’s Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources and Marlin Ford, Ph.D., Urban Agricultural Specialist at the SU Ag Center, conducted a session on hydroponics.

For eight years, the Southern University Ag Center has held its Fall Garden Workshop as a way to educate the community and provide individuals with the tools and information needed to successfully grow their own fruits and vegetables, as well as raise farm animals.

The workshop is held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to give teachers an opportunity to participate in the event.

The Fall Garden Workshop was co-sponsored by the SU Ag Center, its Wisteria Alliance Program and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.

For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Fall Garden Workshop contact Zanetta Augustine at 225-771-2591 or via email at zanetta_augustine@suagcenter.com.

View photos from the event here.

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Tuesday, December 17

Two Urban Forestry students named SAF 2019 Diversity Ambassadors


Top photo: Standing from left, Asija Rice and Simbrey Major, both students in the Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, were named Society of American Foresters 2019 Student Diversity Ambassadors. Bottom photo: Twenty-four faculty and students from the Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources participated in the Society of American Foresters National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
Urban Forestry Faculty and Students participated in the Society of American Foresters National Convention


Baton Rouge, La. – Southern University Urban Forestry and Natural Resources students Simbrey Major and Asija Rice were named Society of American Foresters (SAF) 2019 Student Diversity Ambassadors for the organization's national convention in Louisville, Kentucky during October 30 - November 3, 2019.

The SAF Student Diversity Ambassador Scholarship Program is designed to promote leadership skills, engagement, and understanding of the value of the forestry profession. The scholarship included the convention’s registration, an opportunity to participate in an exclusive networking luncheon, and a $450 stipend. The students were also paired with a career natural resource professional who served as a mentor throughout the convention.

To apply for the scholarship, the students had to submit an application; be interested in forestry, natural resources, terrestrial ecosystems and/or other related fields as a career; and interested in encouraging and promoting a culture of inclusion within the profession. 

Major, a graduate student, and Rice, a senior undergraduate student, competed against nearly 40 applicants from the nation’s top universities - such as Yale and Penn State - and were selected as two of the top 10 students who received the scholarship.

Major is conducting her master's degree thesis research through a NASA funded competitive project that quantifies the carbon flux of the forests and wetlands in coastal Louisiana. Her positive attitude and strong work ethic both in the field and in the lab, has earned praise from her professors at Southern University and project collaborators at Louisiana State University. Dr. Zhu Ning, project director and thesis committee chair, recommended Simbrey to the SAF for the scholarship and to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) for its 2018 Student Ambassador Scholarship. Simbrey won both.

Rice is equally stellar. Currently, she serves as the SAF SU Student Chapter President. She demonstrated her leadership skills by organizing the chapter’s activities such as workshops, community service, fundraising, and training events. Asija has demonstrated a significant and award-worthy commitment to the chapter by being a role model for other students and serving as a well - organized and energetic leader with a tremendous passion for forestry and natural resources. Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, the faculty advisor of the SAF SU Student Chapter, recommended Asija to the SAF for the scholarship.

Major and Rice were joined by twenty-two other participants from within the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences’ Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources. Southern University’s largest participation to date at the SAF National Convention.

The participation was made available through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) McIntyre-Stennis Project on Enhancing Graduate Education and Research, the USDA Forest Service’s Urban Forestry Enhancement Project, and the USDA-NIFA Capacity Building Grant Program.

The participants included four faculty members - Drs. Kamran Abdollahi, Vanessa Ferchaud, Zhu Ning, and Yadong Qi; 13 graduate students - Eman Dakkak, Uday Bhuma, John Namwamba, Darrell Street, Brian Phillips, Caroline Akinrinwoye, Okwusi Jane, Joyce Peralta, Lakshmi Dasari, Dawn Crosby, Wilbert Thomas, Hande Suslu, and Tyrus Georgetown; and five undergraduate students - Aaliyah Royston, Brooke Mcfarland, Jordan Davis, Rodney Purdy, and Terrell Lewis.

A total of 16 presentations including five oral and 11 poster presentations were made by the faculty and graduate students at the convention. The topics of the presentations covered the up-to-date research in the areas of urban forest ecophysiology, ecology, ecosystem analysis, social science and education, forest fire management, GIS/remote sensing, bioenergy, coastal research, and global climate change.

The department’s faculty and students represent the diversity and excellence in urban forestry education and research and drew the convention spotlight from among more than 1,400 attendees from more than 70 colleges and universities and professional entities around the nation.

A video featuring highlights from the Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources during the SAF National Convention is available here.


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Friday, December 13

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue encouraged graduates to be independent and courageous during SU’s Fall Commencement Ceremony

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, delivered the graduation speech for Southern University's Fall 2019 Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 13.


Baton Rouge, La. – United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, served as the graduation speaker for Southern University’s Fall Commencement Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 13.

Perdue encouraged the graduates to be independent, courageous, stand on their own convictions and to persevere. All characteristics of Southern University’s mascot, the jaguar.

“You’re a jaguar, don’t let the pack hold you back,” was the mantra Perdue used throughout his speech.

Perdue recognized several graduates from Southern University’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences who are currently employed with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). One of the graduates was Andrea Bridgewater, who became pregnant while attending the University. Bridgewater would go on to be one of the College of Agriculture’s top graduates in 2014 and is now the District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Bossier City, La. She is the youngster conservation service supervisor in the state of Louisiana.

He also told the audience about Devon Gales, a former Southern University football player who was paralyzed from the waist down in 2015 during the Southern University vs. Georgia State football game.

“Devon didn’t give up. With the support of your University, your great fans and (Georgia State) Bulldogs in the medical center; Georgia and Southern communities came together to support Devon who has fought his tail off in rehab and recently landed a coaching job at a high school in Georgia,” express Perdue. “Not giving up or feeling sorry for himself, that’s the Jaguar spirit. That’s exactly what’s in you and that you embody,” he told the graduates.

After giving his speech, Perdue was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University.

Nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate students receive bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees during the ceremony. Shamyra K. Walker, a native of Magnolia, Ark., was recognized as the Chief Student Marshall, the student graduating with the highest grade point average. She earned a degree in Accounting.

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Wednesday, December 11

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to be SU’s Commencement Speaker

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be the graduation speaker for Southern University's Fall Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)


Baton Rouge, La. – United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, has been named Southern University’s Fall Commencement speaker.

Perdue has served as the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture since April 2017. In this position, his policies have been guided by principles which include increasing job-creation in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors, prioritizing customer service for American taxpayers and consumers, safeguarding the nation’s food supply, and ensuring the sustainability of the nation’s land resources.  

Perdue credits growing up on a farm in rural Bonaire, Georgia for his strong work ethic. Prior to running for public office, he served in the United States Air Force and achieved the rank of Captain. He has worked as a veterinarian in North Carolina and served as a Georgia State Senator for 11 years where his senate colleagues elected him to the position of President Pro Tempore. Perdue served as a two-term Governor of Georgia and was credited with reforming the states’ budget and helping to create more than 200,000 new jobs.

He has served as a board member of the National Grain and Feed Association and as President of both the Georgia and Southeastern Feed and Grain Associations.

Perdue earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia. He has been married to his wife Mary Ruff Perdue for 44 years.

Southern University’s Fall Commencement Ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on December 13 at the F. G. Clark Activity Center on the University’s campus. Nearly 400 students, 30 students within the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, are expected to receive bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees during the ceremony.

Shamyra K. Walker, a native of Magnolia, Arkansas, will be recognized as the Chief Student Marshall, the student graduating with the highest grade point average, during the ceremony. Additional information about the Commencement Ceremony, including parking, is available here.

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Tuesday, December 3

SU Ag Center, Law Center to host Cannabis and Hemp Education Symposium

Event Flyer


Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center's Medicinal Program Institute and the Southern University Law Center’s Cannabis Compliance, Law and Policy Institute have partnered to host a Cannabis and Hemp Continuing Education Symposium. The event will be held from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on December 12 and 13 in rooms 129 and 130 of the SU Law Center.

The symposium will include panel discussions on the state’s medical marijuana and hemp programs, the 2018 Farm Bill and its impact on the legality of industrial hemp, the impact of cannabis and hemp legislation on minority and underserved populations and much more.

Registration is $225 and the symposium is open to the public. Participants can register online and view a list of sessions at http://www.sulc.edu/page/panel-sessions.

For additional information, contact Marla Dickerson, director of the Cannabis Compliance, Law and Policy Institute, at 225-771-4913 or via email at mdickerson@sulc.edu.


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