Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center will host a webinar entitled, ‘Agriculture: Solutions for Diversity, Access, & Equality’ at 5 p.m. (Central) on September 16.
The webinar will consist of a panel discussion related to agriculture and the issues facing today’s society of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), farmers, scientists, and the challenges of accessing the needs to function and bring about meaningful change. The panel will consist of Dr. Deacue Fields, Beattra Wilson, Dr. René Brown, and Irene Lewis.
“During these challenging times comprising of racial unrest, disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 amongst minority and underserved communities, and economic challenges, it is imperative that we have such a dialog to discuss ways in which we, as an 1890 land-grant university, engage and provide critical services to the citizens and communities we serve,” expressed Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Chancellor of the SU Ag Center and Dean of the SU College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.
Dr. Deacue Fields is the Dean and Senior Associate Vice President for the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville. Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Fields was a faculty member at Auburn University and served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. In his administrative role, he has been successful in establishing multidisciplinary collaborations to attract extramural funds, build relationships with alumni and industry stakeholders to enhance the student experience. He has also conducted research on the impact of agribusinesses on state, regional, and national economies and assisted agribusinesses with marketing and management strategies. Dr. Fields earned a Bachelor’s degree from Southern University, a Master’s degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, all in Agricultural Economics.
Beattra Wilson is the Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry and national lead for Urban and Community Forestry at the USDA Forest Service (FS) in Washington, D.C. In this position, Wilson oversees program policy, budget, partnership development and strategic delivery of national, regional and state urban and community forestry programs. She has served on the Forest Service Environmental Justice Board, co-chaired the USDA 1890 Land Grant Task Force Executive Committee and has built a solid career administering conservation cooperative assistance programs at regional and national offices. She currently serves as agency representative to the Secretary of Agriculture’s Office of Customer Experience and has completed White House detail assignments to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Wilson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Forestry from Southern University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University.
Dr. René Brown is the pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La. He also serves as the President and Moderator of the Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association of Louisiana, Inc. and secretary of the T.J. Jemison Baptist Student Union Board. He is also a member of the Board of Leland College, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge, and the Workforce Investment Act Youth Services. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Plant and Soil Science from Southern University and a Master’s degree in Crop Physiology from Louisiana State University.
Irene Lewis was Southern University’s Spring 2020 Chief Student Marshal, the student graduating with the highest grade point average in the class. Lewis earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences with a concentration in Plant and Soil Science. During her academic career, Irene was elected the National Undergraduate President of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization for the 2019-2020 year and Region IV National Undergraduate Vice President of MANRRS for the 2018-2019 year where she represented the organization's college chapters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. Irene was also active in the local Southern University Chapter of MANRRS where she served as both the Secretary during the 2017-2018 academic year and Historian during the 2018-2019 year. She has interned with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and is currently working on a Master’s of Public Administration at The Ohio State University, focusing on food access policy.
“This webinar is not only an opportunity to showcase the successes of our graduates from Southern University’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, but also to learn from their collective experiences on the issues associated with diversity, access and equality,” said Dr. McMeans.
To register for the webinar visit, https://rb.gy/tm6bzn.