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Southern University Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review Southern University Board Votes to Merge College of Ag with the SU Ag Center The Southern University Board of Supervisors voted to merge the College of Agricultural Family and Consumer Sciences with the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center on April 22, 2016. The move bonds the academic unit located on the Baton Rouge campus with the SU Ag Center, allowing the operating functions of the three land-grant units–teaching, research, and cooperative extension, to be located under one umbrella and managed by a Chancellor-Dean. The Ag Center currently employs 115 employees, including some vacancies, with field staff located in 36 parishes across the state. The Center consists of research and extension units and had an operating budget of $7,809,249 during the fiscal year of 2016. The Agricultural College encompasses the academic arm of the land-grant mission and currently employs 15 full-time employees, along with seven who are part-time. “We’re excited about the merger,” said Dr. Doze Butler, Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture. “It’s good for the academic program.” “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, Jr., Interim Chancellor of the SU Ag Center. “Resources can be more effectively directed to ensure that teaching, research and extension programs are implemented to provide opportunities to our most underserved youth, families, and farmers. This alignment allows us to work as an Agricultural Land-Grant 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 became effective on July 1, 2016.

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Dr. Bobby R. Phills Named Chancellor-Dean The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center has a new leader for only the second time in its history. On August 26, 2016, the Board of Supervisors named Bobby R. Phills as Chancellor of the SU Ag Center and Dean of the College of Agriculture effective September 1. Phills was one of three finalists selected to replace Leodrey Williams, who retired June 2015 after more than 40 years of service and served as chancellor since the SU Ag Center was established. A search committee was chaired by Kirkland Mellad, Vice Chancellor Emeritus, SU Ag Center, and former dean for the College of Agriculture, and co-chaired by Gina Eubanks, Vice Chancellor for Extension, SU Ag Center. “I asked stakeholders across the state and those in the Ag Center and College of Agriculture to engage in a process to seek three candidates for consideration. These were three very qualified candidates, who have each enjoyed tremendous careers in agriculture and I believe that each would do an outstanding job in this role,” said SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton. Phills’s position will be historic as well. SU Board of Supervisors Chairman Leon R. Tarver II offered congratulations as well to the new Chancellor-Dean who will lead the SU Ag Center and College of Agriculture. Phills is a graduate of Southern University in horticultural sciences. He also received his MS and Ph.D. degrees from Louisiana State University in horticulture with emphasis in plant breeding, and a post doctorate from Cornell University in plant breeding and genetics. He retired from Florida A&M University where he served for six years as Dean and Director of Land-Grant Programs with administrative responsibilities for teaching, research, and extension, along with international programs from 1997 to 2003. Prior to his post at Florida A&M University, he was Dean and Research Director for the College of Agricultural, Family, and Consumer Sciences here at Southern from 1985 to1997. Phills also served as Director of the Small Fruit Research program in the Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research for 11 years. During his professional career, he has served in numerous capacities including: Director, Faculty, Mentor, Principal Investigator, Program Leader, Project Director, Research Director, Scientist, etc. He once served at George W. Carver Experiment Station and was Associate Director at the Carver Research Foundation (Tuskegee University) as well as Dean and Director of land-grant programs (Florida A&M University). While his overall achievements continue to be significant, he cites his impact on student recruitment, graduation, and professional development as his greatest pride and joy. More than 200 students who graduated under his watch have gone on to become great leaders in their chosen professions which include agricultural, family and consumer scientists, biological engineers, food scientists, plant breeders, and educators to name a few. He boasts that more than 50 of his students have worked and are working for USDA agencies, many of which are in senior level administrative positions.

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The Chancellor-Dean’s vision for the newly created Land-Grant Campus includes: Integrated programs across the campus; Linkage with agricultural industry and other land-grant institutions, and the federal government; Two-way integration of land-grant programs; Fund-raising; Scholarship and endowments; A paradigm shift in the way that land-grant serves its clientele, especially outreach by seeking out clientele needs and providing assistance in addressing these needs; Significant increase in grants and contracts within all USDA agencies. Strengthening of faculty numbers and capacity to look at emerging issues across the nation in terms of human capital development; Critical expertise vis-a-vis recruitment; Terminal degrees; and Faculty twoway integration among the land-grant components of research, teaching and extension. The Dawning of a New Era Chancellor-Dean Bobby R. Phills has established the SU Land-Grant Campus to encompass the Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences. Dr. Phills addressed an audience of more than 300 faculty and staff members of the Agricultural Land-Grant Campus who reside across 33 parishes with some participating via satellite. He spoke particularly about the role and scope of the LandGrant Campus. He also explained the history of the 1890 land grant and its importance to assorted clientele; the diverse services provided; funding sources; and partners. He emphasized student mentoring, research and the outreach involved in extension as the core of the land-grant functions. “Every individual in the state, nation and most international countries benefit from the land-grant mission,” said Dr. Phills. As part of the seminar, Dr. Phills presented a draft of the organizational structure of the landgrant campus and introduced his executive team members: Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, vice chancellor for extension and outreach; Dr. Andra Johnson, vice chancellor for research and technology development; Dr. Doze Butler, associate dean, College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences; and Ms. Aymbriana Campbell, executive assistant. Others include, Dr. Oscar Udoh, director, grant and facility program management reporting and coordination; Dr. C. Reuben Walker, associate research director and head of the agricultural sciences department; Mr. Christopher Rogers, director of communications and technology services; Ms. Lynda Batiste, director, financial program management and coordination; Mr. Antonio Harris, director, Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Institute (SARDI), formerly the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives; Dr. Janana Snowden, director of medicinal plant institute; and Ms. Allison Johnson, USDA Liaison Officer, also responsible for the coordination of governmental interactions with the Land-Grant Campus. During his speech, Dr. Phills emphasized that the “one word to describe land-grant is SERVICE,” then challenged all students, faculty, staff and alumni to utilize the resources available to provide needed services to the residents of Louisiana. Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

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He also challenged the students to use available resources and opportunities to advance their scholarships and to act as ambassadors of the Land-Grant Campus in particular, and the Southern University and A&M System. In the interest of the students, the chancellor-dean mentioned that he has over 10 prestigious universities that have asked him to send students for summer internship and experiential learning. Resulting from his recent trip with members of his executive cabinet to several USDA agencies, he informed the students that these agencies are ready to recruit and provide internship opportunities to students from Southern University. Dr. Phills gave a passionate speech about working together to achieve excellence on the landgrant campus especially by increasing enrollment in the college and the university. Free Disaster Relief for Pets Following August Epic Flooding More than 300 cats and dogs received free physical exams, as well as, annual and rabies vaccines on September 12, 2016 during the Southern University Ag Center’s Free Disaster Relief Wellness Clinic for Dogs and Cats. While the majority of the initial relief from the August flood was focused on providing the basic necessities to human flood victims, many of our four-legged family members also suffered from the after effects of the disaster. “When an unfortunate event occurs, such as a disaster, there is an abundance of emotional and physical stress to all involved including animals,” said Renita Marshall, DVM, and associate professor at the SU Ag Center. Marshall and Tyra Davis Brown, DVM, who is also a SU Alumnus and Veterinarian, came up with the idea to provide a wellness clinic for pets to fill an often over looked need within the Baton Rouge community and surrounding areas. “As a veterinarian, you take an oath to use scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. That is exactly what Dr. Brown and I set out to do with the disaster wellness clinic,” added Marshall. In addition to the vaccinations and exams, the animals were also provided with heartworm, flea and tick prevention medication, as well as nail-clipping and food samples. Nearly 200 of the animals also received a free microchip implant that will assist owners in locating their pets in the event they are ever lost or separated from them. David Bailey, who brought his dog Achilles, expressed appreciation for the clinic stating that he first heard about it on the news and followed up with a visit to the SU Ag Center website for full details. Charles Herndon, another beneficiary from the event who reported that the flood had

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impacted their finances, was happy to get assistance for the four dogs he has rescued over the years. “The SU Ag Center, being a pillar in many communities around Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas, is poised to strategically implement programs and events to assist where and when it is needed the most,” said Marshall. Southern University’s College of Agriculture professor, Gary Simon, DVM, along with several animal science students and staff members from the Ag Center, assisted in the event. Urban Forestry Student Named HBCU All-Star Kalaia Tripeaux, a Southern University Agricultural and Mechanical College junior, is one of 73 students from across 63 HBCUs who have been named the 2016 White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities HBCU All-Stars. The All-Stars, comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, are being recognized for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement. “During the course of one academic school year, the 73 All-Stars will distinguish themselves as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and as noble ambassadors of their respective institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. “The Initiative is looking forward to working with this third class of All-Stars and is confident this opportunity will allow the Initiative to meaningfully connect with HBCU students and advance academic excellence at their schools.” Twenty-year old Tripeaux is a Baton Rouge native and a 2014 graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School. Kalaia admits she had her eyes set on attending Southern University but was unsure of a major. However, the field of agriculture began to really become intriguing to Tripeaux through conversations with Southern University Ag Center’s Renita Marshall, DVM, who doubles as a student recruiter. She consequently participated in the Summer 2014 “Beginning Agricultural Youth Opportunities Unlimited (BAYOU) Program,” and acquired a wealth of knowledge about majors offered in the agricultural and family & consumer sciences areas. “I decided that my interests aligned with urban forestry. I could see where my love for science and the outdoors, interaction with people, problem-solving, writing, and researching could be used in this field.” Now an Urban Forestry major, Tripeaux was awarded scholarships by the SU Agriculture Department, Taylor Opportunity Program (TOPS), Mu Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, and the USDA’s 1890 Scholar Program to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge.

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In the spring of 2016, Tripeaux was one of 11 Southern University Urban Forestry students selected to receive a Global Scholar Award through the Global Research Experience for Students Program launched by the Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Program. When the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) AllStars opportunity was announced, Tripeaux declared that many of her agriculture professors said that she would be a good candidate and was inspired to apply. “So, in other words, I was encouraged by the faculty and staff of the Agriculture Department to apply for this honor,” she said. Tripeaux was selected from a national pool of 300 candidates. Read the full article at North Louisiana Farm Tour Provides Research Updates for Black Farmers’ Field Day Despite sweltering temperatures, nearly 200 participants attended the annual Black Farmers Field Day in Collinston on July 22. The field day has been held for the past 14 years as a way of letting young people see what’s involved in the production of food, fiber and shelter. Another goal of the event is to show off some of the latest research findings from LSU and Southern University’s Ag Centers. Southern University extension agent Odis Hill, coordinator of the field day, sees the event as a way to develop an interest in agriculture. “It’s important to let the public know that we still have a few African-Americans involved in row crop agriculture, and we’re trying to encourage the youth to become involved in the industry,” Hill said. “The Morehouse Black Farmers and Landowners Association started about 20 years ago to help us to pool our resources and to gain information for the public,” he also stated. Each year, the field day kicks off at the farm of Harper Armstrong, who farms more than 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans. “We do this field day because we want to look toward the future,” Armstrong said. “We want to show the young people that technology has made farming a lot easier than it was for my daddy and granddaddy.” LSU AgCenter’s weed scientist, Daniel Stephenson, discussed the problems growers are having with the control of ryegrass and pigweed. Cotton and corn specialist Dan Fromme has a positive outlook for this year’s crop, even though there are some mixed expectations in various parts of the state. And soybean specialist Ronnie Levy said for this time of the year, he’s seeing some really good crops. You can read more on the LSU AgCenter website.

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Dr. Zhu Ning Receives an Award for Teaching During the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) annual meeting, Zhu H. Ning, professor of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Science, was honored with the United States Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Teaching Award on November 13, 2016 in Austin Texas Through a USDA national expert panel review and APLU competitive selection process, Ning was chosen as one of the eight winners among the outstanding nominees representing the nation's universities. Read the full article on SUBR website.

Fall Gardening Workshop Educates Community Members On November 22, SU Ag Center held a fall gardening workshop for communities in the surrounding area. Senior research associate Mila Berhane and extension associate Stephanie Elwood demonstrated and explained how to propagate and transplant a fig tree to about 84 participants. Discussion topics included produce safety, soil health, soil sample collection, restoring depleted soils, and planting flood resistant trees. The Advocate in section 2B of its November 24, 2016 issue captured this event. Agriculture Students Offer Clothing Bank for Flood Victims On December 1, Students in FCSC 497, Sustainably in Design Class, Apparel Merchandising and Textiles, hosted a Clothing Bank in the student-run retail boutique-laboratory, “Southern Niche,� for individuals affected by the August flooding in Baton Rouge.

During the event, individuals who were affected by the flood were able to select clothing, shoes, and other accessories from donated items at no cost to them. Dr. Doze Butler, associate dean, College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, serves as instructor and adviser while MBA student Jasmine Guillory, coordinated the event. More detail is available here. Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

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Homecoming on the Bluff The 2016 Southern University Homecoming week was held October 16-23 with activities culminating in a parade on Saturday prior to the SU vs University of Arkansas Pine Bluff football game. For the first time, the Southern University Ag Center, along with students from the College of Agriculture, placed third in the Homecoming Parade under the category of “On Campus Floats.” The Honors College placed first while second place went to Residential Life. “I would like to take a moment to say thanks to the SU Ag Center and the College of Ag Homecoming Alumni Round-Up Committee members. The Alumni Round-Up (Tailgate) and Homecoming float decoration would not have happened without you. I would also like to say a very special thanks to the committee chairs: Kendrah Selders – Parade Float; Roosevelt Payne – Set-Up; Zanetta Augustine – SU Ag Center and Fisher Hall Decoration/ Food Purchase; William Augustine – Take Down and our cooks, Burnell Muse; Curtis Chisley; William Augustine, Roosevelt Payne and Antonio Harris. Also to Dr. Kenyetta Nelson-Smith and everyone who made a contribution for the float. I have to also say thank you to the Communities of Color Network, Dr. Fatemeh Malekian, Mfamara Goita, Dr. Renita Marshall and the Jags-In-Ag/ MANNRRS students who participated as exhibitor for the Student Health Center/SU Ag Center-College of Ag Homecoming Health Fair. And last, but not least, thank you to Dr. Bobby R. Phills for supporting the Land-Grant Campus in this endeavor,” said LaKeeshia Lusk, SU Ag Center/ College of Ag Homecoming Alumni Round-Up Committee Chair. Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute Participates in Ag Career Day Nearly 1,200 sophomore students from St. Landry and Evangeline Parishes traveled to explore different career paths at the 19th Annual Career Futures Expo held on October 26 at Northwest High School in St. Landry Parish. The St. Landry and Evangeline Parish Chambers of Commerce; St. Landry & Evangeline Career & Technical Education Programs; and the St. Landry & Evangeline Parish School Boards hosted the event. This expo was designed to help 10th grade students identify and explore career interests while providing them an opportunity to interact with professionals looking to the future and exploring their options . “I was very amazed and impressed by the students’ knowledge and interest in our field,” said Kayla Fontenot, youth agent. The Institute staff took this opportunity to speak with students to promote the BAYOU program and ultimately attending Southern University’s College of Agriculture post-graduation. “Recruitment starts early, so if we can introduce them to the College of Agriculture in 10th grade; we are planting a seed for them to

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become future Jaguars and ultimately leaders in Agriculture,� said Krystle Washington, Extension Agent in St. Landry Parish.

Doze Butler Recognized for Volunteerism Dr. Doze Butler, associate dean of the College of Agriculture, received the Baton Rouge Area Volunteer Activists (BRAVA) award on November 4, 2016, at the Renaissance Hotel. Butler was among nine others receiving a BRAVA award at The Emerge Center's 45th annual benefit luncheon. The awards luncheon, presented by Capital One Bank, Fishman Haygood, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, and The Advocate, benefits The Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior, and Development. Butler has worked closely with Habitat for Humanity, and served on its board of directors for six years. She also incorporates the Habitat for Humanity in her lesson plans, allowing students extra credit for participating at a site and providing a write up about the experience. Butler is no stranger to receiving awards, in 2011 and again in 2013, she was awarded for her volunteerism. Butler was one of Capital Area United Way/Volunteer United's 2011 "Power of 9" honorees at a luncheon held at Boudreaux's Restaurant. Lynn Clark, the person who nominated Butler for the BRAVA award, said, "Doze's continued support of Habitat is changing lives. Her passion and commitment are providing a better future for generations." In 2013, "Heals the Hurt Incorporated" awarded Butler the Community Service Champion award for her mentorship. The Chancellor-Dean of Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus, Bobby R. Phills, had this to say about Butler’s recent honor, "I am delighted that one of our senior faculty members and administrators is receiving this award, however I am not surprised, given that she is a member of the executive team and as such we continually promote community service and certainly this award is indicative of what we strive for. Helping the community whether it is volunteering or it’s our job performance, she continually displays that land-grant service attitude, so I am pleased to join with others in congratulating her on being the recipient of this award." Butler and others receiving the award are doing so based on their history of volunteering and service throughout the Baton Rouge community. This will be Butler's third major award. "When we are blessed we must be a blessing to other people.... time, talent, and treasure, we are given these to bless other people with them," said Butler.

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Local Students Participate in National Youth Science Day Two hundred and ninety-three students from Southern University Laboratory, Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Academy, Park Ridge, J. K. Haynes, Progress and Ryan Elementary, Tallulah Charter, Kentwood High Magnet and St. Helena College & Career Academy schools attended the Southern University Ag Center’s 2016 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD). The national event was held in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union on Wednesday, Oct. 5 on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus. Comedian and Max 94.1 FM radio personality, Howard Hall served as host. This year’s experiment, called Drone Discovery, consisted of a hands-on, three part engineering design challenge which allowed students to experiment with fixed and rotary wing designs, explore the concept of remote sensing and dive into the world of coding for real-world drone applications. The event featured a drone demonstration by Garrett Edgerson, a choral performance by the Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy Choir and several interactive display stations on 4-H, Tobacco Free Living, Community Policing, Biofuel, the United States Department of Agriculture, Apparel Merchandising and Textiles, Animal Science, Healthy Living, Erosion and Gardening. Southern University Ag Center Chancellor-Dean, Bobby R. Phills; East Baton Rouge Parish School System Deputy Superintendent, Michelle Clayton, and Gulf State Regional Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Rockiell Woods spoke to the students on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and pursuing a college education. 4-H NYSD is the world’s largest youth-led science experiment, drawing nearly 100,000 participants in 2015. The national day is dedicated to engaging youth with science through a hands-on, interactive learning experience that gets youth excited about STEM. The 2016 activity was designed by Cornell University Cooperative Extension. The event’s national partners are HughesNet®, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Cellular. DJI, the world’s largest maker of consumer drones, is the national sponsor. For additional information about the Southern University Ag Center’s 4-H National Youth Science Day or 4-H activities, contact Tiffany W. Franklin, Ph.D., at 225.771.2242. Read more about it here. Photos from the 2016 4-H National Youth Science Day are available here.

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Dr. Janana Snowden receives international fellowship award Dr. Janana Snowden, Research Scientist at the Southern University Ag Center, was a 2016 recipient of the Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority (CSURM) Fellowship award; making her the only African American selected from 188 participants, internationally. The award allowed Snowden to attend and present in the annual Gordon Research Conference for Natural Products and Bioactive Compounds. The conference, which focused on exploring the therapeutic potential of natural products and biologically active compounds through emerging chemical and biological technologies, was held July 31- August 5, 2016 at Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire. Snowden presented on the, “Antimicrobial Efficacy of Roselle Hibiscus Extracts against Escherichia coli.” Roselle (Hibiscus Sabdariffa L.) is a niche market crop that has been studied for over a decade at the Southern University Ag Center. Her research focuses on the medicinal benefits of natural compounds found in plants/crops and their potential to treat various diseases and disorders such as cancer and high blood pressure. The article was featured in the Sept. 13 Daily Agri-News Report. Visit our blog here to read more. Undergraduate Students Explore Extension Career Opportunities via Summer Internship The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center internship offered undergraduate students an opportunity to explore career opportunities in Cooperative Extension and Outreach. The internship program focus areas were guided by agents and specialists in the following fields: nutrition, youth development, agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and community development. The Center provided a 10-week paid internship from June to August in parishes around the state of Louisiana. Experiential learning is the key component of the internship to allow students to get first-hand experience in the daily workload of extension professionals. It also allows interns to experience helping to better the rural and urban community as well as their professional development. For the cohort of summer 2016, four students were selected to work across the state in select parishes: Brandi Suel-Ag Economics (East Baton Rouge), Sharnet Nixon-Family and Consumer Science (Lake Charles), Yo’Sha Lain-Family and Consumer Science (Madison), Chelsea Hammond-Youth Development (Orleans). These interns, with the guidance of Dr. Harold Mellieon, Jr., worked with agents and specialists during the past summer while assisting and Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

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observing all of the tasks, projects, and activities conducted to bring knowledge and understanding to others. While their areas were somewhat diverse, they shared a variety of experiences including: program development, program research, attending and conducting meetings, communicating with stakeholders, and implementation of new programs. The cohort submitted weekly and monthly reports focused on daily activities, weekly challenges and successes, and overall views of the workplace. From June to August the four interns made great strides in their positions across the state. Each intern worked on a project that not only increased their knowledge but took them out of their comfort zones and made them think outside the box. All the interns indicated that they were more knowledgeable about extension, and many of them became more confident in public speaking to diverse crowds. “Throughout various communications with the interns during the summer, they all seemed to have memorable experiences that they can lean on as they continue their college careers,” said Dr. Mellieon. The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center summer internship can be viewed as a successful venture that has great potential for growth. This opportunity will allow undergraduates to get experience in the field of extension while also enhancing and expanding the pool of future capable applicants for positions in the agriculture and food industry. “The success of the 2016 cohort suggests the program must continue to impact the lives and mindsets of young adults as they become productive members of society and the agricultural community,” Mellieon concluded. Climate Change and Urban Forest Ecosystem Research and Education go Global The Urban Forestry and Natural Resources program at the SU Ag Center has been conducting two projects on climate change, urban forest ecosystem research and education on a global platform. The projects are funded by the National Science Foundation’s International Research Experiences for Students (NSF IRES) and USDA’s International Science and Education (ISE). The projects which are directed by Dr. Zhu Ning, Professor and Project Director, have a collaborative partnership with Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The projects’ research focus reflects on the U.S./China team’s complementary strengths and mutual interests in the areas of Impacts of climate change on natural resources, urban ecosystem responses, and coping strategies; Climate change mitigation through urban forestry, and GIS and remote sensing technology. The project team members have Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

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been working on four research topics: Modeling Approach on Interactions among Global Warming-Urbanization-Ecosystem Dynamics; Combined Effects of Elevated CO2 and Elevated O3 on Urban Forests; Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Urban Forests -The Role of Urban Forests in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change; and Urban Soil Carbon Dynamics. The projects respond to the nation’s international science and education goals and demands by providing opportunities for student training and professional development through: Study in China pre-departure research, cultural, and workplace protocol training; On-site in China research involvement; and Post China trip research and result dissemination training. From 2011 to 2016, the projects have provided 36 students with excellent study abroad opportunities at the following institutions: CAS Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS Northeast Research Institute of Geography and Agro-Ecology, CAS China Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network, Beijing Forestry University, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, and Shenyang Academy of Landscaping and Urban Forestry. The projects have achieved high quality products, including 22 publications and 23 presentations. Through experiential learning and research participation, students have acquired the fundamental methodologies and hands-on experiences of executing a research agenda; and learned technologies in terrestrial ecosystems responses, climate change mitigation, and natural resource conservation. The broader impacts include: Enhanced student international experience and research skills that translate into application of learned knowledge and skills in their career; Ensured that students work beyond the United States and bring lessons learned back home to their peers, stakeholders, and companies in hope of enhancing their competitiveness in the global market; Strengthened international research partnerships and professional networks; Enhanced application of foreign technologies in the United States; and Strengthened the role that SU plays in enhancing the research competitiveness and workplace preparedness of the students from underrepresented groups. For more information, contact Dr. Zhu H. Ning at Nutrition Educator Teaches at Local Farmers’ Market Sarah Sims, Extension Aide, Family and Consumer Science in Madison Parish, holds gardening workshops at the farmers’ market every Saturday to bring awareness to the importance of gardening for healthy eating and exercise. Mrs. Sims provides educational information and demonstration at the market, coordinates and assists the growers with marketing their produce. Currently, there are 10 participants who sell vegetables, jelly, jams, canned vegetables/fruits, cakes, pies, cookies, arts and crafts, and jewelry. Since the season opened, participation has increased with the vendors doing very well and community support is improving. Seniors with produce vouchers from the Senior Nutrition Program have been using their vouchers to purchase fresh produce. The market is located at 404 North Cedar Street, Tallulah, La. This season will continue through November 2016.

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SU Ag Center Partners with Mayor Holden's Summer Youth Employment Program Many teens are spending the official second day of summer, June 22, sleeping late or enjoying a family vacation, but a group of teens from East Baton Rouge Parish spent their morning shoveling soil to make a flower bed at the Southern University Ag Center. The teens are participating in the Office of Mayor-President Kip Holden’s, ‘Love Our Community Summer Youth Employment Program,’ which employs some 500 youth aged 14 -17 from throughout the parish. Southern University Ag Center Extension Associate Stephanie Elwood and Senior Research Associate Mila Berhane have partnered with the 4-week program to provide technical assistance for the group’s activities. On this day, the group planted flowers in the side panels of the Southern University Ag Center’s fountain. The youth employment program provides youth with an opportunity to gain environmental and neighborhood revitalization work experience by painting murals and creating community gardens throughout the city to fight blight. The teens also participate in various environmental stewardship projects. To qualify for the program, teens must commit to working no more than 20 hours per week in an outdoor environment; be a team player and work collaboratively in a group to plan and execute a community service project that impacts their community; and be enrolled in a school and live in East Baton Rouge Parish. For information about the Southern University Ag Center’s horticultural programs and events, contact the Ag Center at 225-771-2242 or visit our website at SU and LSU Ag Centers host Small Ruminant Field Day The Southern University Ag Center, along with the LSU AgCenter, hosted a small ruminant field day sponsored by the Kentwood Co-op, on April 30 at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Officials from both institutions brought greetings to the nearly 100 field day attendees. Researchers from the SU Ag Center presented information on the Center’s newly established Master Small Ruminant Certification Program and shared updates on current research conducted on small ruminants. The event had a fee of $5 per person or $10 per family to cover the cost of lunch and materials. Producers also participated in a FAMACHA certification course for an additional $10. FAMACHA (FAffa MAlan CHArt) is a diagnostic tool that helps farmers identify parasite infection in small ruminants, such as sheep and goats. Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

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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. Small ruminant experts from both the SU and LSU Ag Centers made 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 also featured demonstrations and hands-on activities on injections, fecal and blood collection, body condition scoring and a question and answer session with veterinarians. The lead collaborators were Dr. Sebhatu Gebrelul, who can be reached at 225.771.3841 or emailed at and Dr. Ken McMillin, who can be reached at 225.578.3438 or Representatives from the SU Ag Center included: Renita W. Marshall, DVM/Associate Professor, Animal Science; Dr. James Henson, research scientist; Malik Allen, a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Economics; Joshua Simon, a junior majoring in Urban Forestry; and Lamar Burton, a senior majoring in Animal Science. Drs. Qi and Chin publication in the international Journal of Plant Production Dr. Yadong Qi, Professor of Urban Forestry, and Dr. Kit L. Chin, Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, have co-authored an article with Dr. Xiaobing Liu, chief scientist at the Chinese Academy of Science. The article is entitled "Growth and Development Responses to UV-B Exclusion in Crops,� and has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Plant Production and will appear in the 2016 issue 10(4). The Int. J. Plant Prod. is a worldwide open access journal with abstracting/indexing in major world databases including Science Citation Index, Journal Citation Reports, Biological Abstracts, BIOSIS, Scopus and CAB. For more information on the upcoming publication, please contact Dr. Yadong Qi at SU Urban Forestry Student Wins 1st Place in National Contest Southern University Baton Rouge Urban Forestry major, Joshua Simon, won first place at 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.

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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 added. 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, 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; Drs. Renita Marshall, Janana Snowden and 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 Jags-in-Ag Students Take Experimental Learning Trip to Florida On April 15-17, 2016, students participating in the “JAGS in AG” project traveled to Pensacola, Florida for an agriculture experiential learning tour. The students visited Clear Creek Farm in Milton, Florida where they had the opportunity to learn hands-on agriculture innovation, sustainable practices and community involvement. Through the use of innovative container, raised bed, water culture, active and passive hydroponics, and high tunnel gardening, the farm owners are able to provide for their needs. They also sell fresh natural food, grown without using pesticides and insecticides to local restaurants year round. The students were introduced to feral swine to get an understanding of how they impact farmers and ranchers. The program participants visited the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center (WFREC) is the University of Florida campus in Milton and research facility in Jay. They comprise a part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) which is a federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making that information accessible.

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Their mission is to create and extend knowledge in agriculture and natural resources through teaching, research, and extension to improve the quality of life. The Jay Research Facility creates knowledge for distribution through UF/IFAS Extension efforts. Here the students had a chance to visit research plots and extension programing. Students also had the opportunity to learn about graduate programs available to them at the University of Florida. JAGS in AG provides experiential learning activities for college students in an attempt to expose them to careers in Food and Agricultural Sciences. The project trains students in research, experimentation methods, and outreach using current and relevant research from a “community based” and “campus based” approach. “Through this process we will achieve our principal goal in helping build leaders and productive citizens over the next five to ten years, fulfilling the need of minorities in Food and Agricultural Sciences,” said Renita Wood-Marshall, DVM, Project Director. “This was an excellent opportunity for students to understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives and experience the magnitude of the agriculture industry,” Dr. Marshall added. Dr. Kenyetta Nelson-Smith serves as Co-Project Director and Dr. Marlin Ford, Program Mentor for the project. Small Farmers Conference Brings Participants to Learn at SU Ag Center Small farmers from across the state gathered at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center from March 17-19 for the 6th annual Louisiana Small Farmer Conference. The three-day conference, themed “Ownership and Growth of Louisiana’s Small Family Farms,” was designed to educate, provide expanded awareness of educational opportunities, USDA programs and services and other resources to help small farmers stay in business. The event was the ideal venue for new and beginning farmers, small and urban farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, backyard gardeners and community based organizations. The Opening Session was presided over by Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., Conference organizer. The keynote address was given by Vernon L. Jones, Ph.D., Administrator of the Cooperative Extension Program at Langston University and SU alum. The conference covered the topics of: Soil Health: Key to Successful Farming, demonstrated by Stuart Gardner, Rangeland Management Specialist and Brandon Waltman, Resource Soil Scientist, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Keeping the Farm in the Family, presented by Allison J. Sabine, Attorney at Law, Sabine Law Firm, LLC. Financing and Protecting Your Small Farm, presented by Terrick Boley, Farm Loan Manager, Tangipahoa FSA Office and Reginal Ellis, County Executive Director, East Feliciana FSA Office, Farm Service Agency.

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Other topics covered were: Managing the Farm as a Business; Opportunities for Market Gardeners; Best Management Practices for a Beef Cattle Operation; and Mitigating Agricultural Risk on Your Farm. The conference included concurrent and networking sessions; a panel discussion with USDA agencies; the Louisiana Living Legend Banquet, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to Southern University in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and ended with the first session of the 2016 class of the Louisiana Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute. “We experienced unprecedented success as 140 people attended the conference, which was featured in the Metro Section of The Advocate (front page on Friday); the CBS, NBC and ABC local affiliates covered the conference and interviewed attendees and 15 new eager farmers are excited about beginning this leadership journey with us,” said Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., Agricultural Specialist and event coordinator. WAFB news video is available at Dr. Patin can be reached at 12th Annual Procurement Conference Inspires Small Businesses On March 22nd, the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and its Center for Rural and Small Business Development (CRSBD) along with other partners, United States Small Business Administration (SBA), Louisiana Economic Development (LED), Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Goodwork Network and Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) held the 12th Annual “Connecting Businesses with Contracts” Procurement Conference. This event convened more than 400 participants which included contractors, non-profit organizations, small business owners, exhibitors, and other individuals who were able to network, receive educational training that enhanced their business knowledge, acquired pointers on how to position themselves to obtain private business and governmental contracts, as well as, guidance regarding improving their economic status which will propel them to the next level. Several workshops were conducted during the conference; namely, Tax Reduction Strategies, Protecting Business Assets and 6 Figure Retirement Planning, a Procurement Panel Discussion on Understanding State Purchasing Procedures, “Now what? Increasing the Potential of Success for your Business,” Obtaining and Keeping Your Contractor’s License, How the Bank Reviews Assets and Your Financial Statements and Making Your Decisions Based on Financial Statements.

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The conference concluded with a luncheon in the Cotillion Ballroom highlighting three successful businesses via a panel discussion: Carousel Medicaid Equipment, LLC; Jesco Environmental and Geotechnical Services, Inc. and Ponchatrain Partners, LLC. Dr. Adell Brown, Jr., Interim Chancellor of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center; Dr. Gina E. Eubanks, Vice Chancellor of Extension; and Ms. Gloria D. London, Director of the Center for Rural and Small Business Development were on hand to bring greetings to conference participants. For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Center for Rural and Small Business Development, visit or call 225.771.2242.

Kicking Butts to Save Lives goes to the State Capitol Kick Butts Day (KBD) is a national day of activism that encourages youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. On March 16, Communities of Color Network (CoC) Regional Coordinators, Hendrix Broussard, Frankie Poland, LaTonya Owens and Urina Holt participated in the Kick Butts Day activities at the Louisiana State Capitol sponsored by the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living. About 250 students, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates participated in the event. CoC staff provided demonstrations to attendees regarding the damage that smoking does to the body, answered questions regarding the dangers of tobacco use and assisted in other areas to make this a successful event. In addition to this, statewide, CoC coordinators conducted individual KBD activities within their parish jurisdictions at churches, schools, and civic organizations. SUNO Team Triumphs at SU Ag Center's Annual Quiz Bowl The Southern University Ag Center and the Division of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences successfully completed the 22nd Annual Black History Quiz Bowl on Thursday, February 25, 2016. The team from Southern University in New Orleans (SUNO) came in first place. The Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Aggies team took second place, and the Urban Forestry team finished in 3rd place. The top teams took home plaques while each contestant had a choice of a book from the Black History collection. Each team consisted of four players, one of whom served as captain. Questions included a wide variety of topics from academia to sports, books, current and past events and much more.

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The Quiz Bowl, under the leadership of Owusu Bandele, Professor Emeritus in Horticulture, is open to all SU campuses and even area high schools. Dr. Bandele appreciates the development offered students in preparing, organizing teams and being inspired by knowledge of our heritage. For the second year in a row, the highlight of this year’s competition was a rendition of Langston Hughes’ “Ballad of the Land Lord” by 11-year old Kahlila Bandele, who attends Brownfields Elementary in Baton Rouge. Plaques were awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winning teams, and all participants received a book by or about some aspect of the Black experience.

Parish Agent Teaches Local High Schoolers How to Dress for Success On Wednesday, February 17 you could find members of the Kentwood High Magnet School's Outstanding Mature Girlz (OMG) Club dressed in their ‘Professional Best.’ Nearly 20 young ladies opted to get out of their normal routine of wearing their school uniforms to participate in the SU Ag Center’s “Dress for Success” Enrichment Series. This series opened the dialogue for SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, Nicolette Gordon to answer the many questions young ladies had about dressing for a potential job interview, and making their first impression their best impression. Full detail available on our blog page. Looking Good, Feeling Great Employee Health Initiative Launched at SU Ag Center Several members of the Southern University Ag Center’s state office swapped their dress shoes for sneakers on Wednesday, Jan. 6 as interim Chancellor Dr. Adell Brown, Jr. led them on a mile and a half walk around the rear parking lot of A. O. Williams Hall. The group laced up their shoes as part of the Ag Center’s internal employee health initiative called, “Looking Good, Feeling Great,” which was launched on Monday, Jan. 4. The program, which is voluntary, has been developed and executed especially for all SU Ag Center employees, regardless of their location. Chancellor Brown and Dr. Gina E. Eubanks, SU Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension, hosted a kick-off for the initiative on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Participants received health journals, exercise accessories and challenge instructions during the event. Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review

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Parish staff and other employees not located in the state office are encouraged to participate at their location and post photos of their activities on the SU Ag Center’s Facebook and Twitter pages using the hashtag #SUAgCenterLGFG The initiative is progressing and information is available at SU Ag Center Promotes Healthy Communities one C.H.E.F. at a time Nutrition agents in Calcasieu Parish with the Southern University and LSU Ag Centers have been awarded a Walmart Community Health and Wellness Initiative grant by the Walmart Foundation. Southern Ag Center’s Carol Sensley and LSU AgCenter’s Shatonia McCarty were presented with the award on January 20 during the grand opening of a Walmart Neighborhood Store on Ryan Street in Lake Charles, LA for their work with the Creating, Healthy, Enjoyable Foods (C.H.E.F.) Cooking Camps. On January 23, cooking demonstrations were conducted for Walmart customers by select CHEF Camp participants. SU Ag Center Extension Specialist De’Shoin York and LSU AgCenter EFNEP Program Manager Sharman Charles were present to support the efforts of the agents. SU Board member Raymond Fondel stopped by to support the event. Also on hand was Police Juror/City Administrator Elijah Guillory. Retired SU Ag Center Extension agent Donna Jones was also on hand to show support. The C.H.E.F. Camps are designed to teach youth basic cooking principles and nutrition education based on the USDA’s “MyPlate” food guidance system and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Each day, participants work together to create an entire meal while learning healthy eating and physical activity principles, food preparation, kitchen and food safety, common cooking terms, proper food handling, measuring techniques, critical thinking and team building skills, planning and time management. The funds awarded through the grant will provide support for community outreach to promote health and wellness among Lake Charles residents. During the store's grand opening, Sensley & McCarty conducted food demonstrations and provided nutrition information to attendees. More information is available at

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Caring for the Caregiver Workshop Held in DeSoto Parish The Homemakers club on Caring for the Caregiver enjoyed a workshop held in Stonewall, La. in DeSoto Parish on January 14. Participating homemakers gathered information on various topics including how to take care of their health; express their feelings; ask for help when needed; learn about the diseases afflicting their loved ones; ask professionals for help on locating available resources; look for signs of exhaustion; pursue a hobby or take classes to avoid being isolated; and take time for themselves. The total attendance was fourteen ladies. The ladies reported that they gained information that they could use now and some that they will be able to use in the future. Several ladies had recently become caregivers and others said they expected to undertake caregiving responsibilities in the near future.

We Stand as One Voice: Faculty and Staff Senate Host "Meet and Greet" Southern University Ag Center faculty and staff members met in Room 191 of A.O. Williams Hall on November 16 to discuss the Center’s newly formed Faculty and Staff Senate. The new organization was established to represent every entity of the SU Ag Center in all of its separate categories: Research, Extension, and support units (Communications / Technology and Finance). The board consists eight members: Dr. Dawn A. Mellion-Patin (President), De’Shoin York (Vice President), Dr. Janana Snowden (Secretary), Dr. Kit L. Chin (Parliamentarian) and senators LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk, Carol Sensley, Antonio Harris, Gabe Gilbeaux and Dr. Ben O. Lukongo. During the event, Dr. Patin stated that the Senate was created to allow all members of the SU Ag Center to have a voice in decision-making according to the rules and regulations of the Ag Center’s Handbook. “The main goal of this meeting is to be a transparent organization and become a single voice,” said Patin. Visit for more.

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Southern University Land-Grant Campus Today: 2016 in Review  

A publication of the Southern University Land-grant Campus, which comprises of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension C...

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