Academics

Outreach Centers

Natchez Farmers Market

Alcorn State University, in cooperation with the City of Natchez and Adams County officials, established a farmers/crafter market in the City of Natchez. This market serves as a central point where limited- resource farmers, handicrafters, and others can sell their product. Natchez is a fast growing tourist city; therefore, the market was conceptualized. Located near historic downtown Natchez at 199 St. Catherine Street, the market serves as a tourist attraction.

The overall objective of the market is to provide an opportunity for limited- resource farmers and others from southwest Mississippi to market nontraditional crops and exotic spices. In addition, Alcorn State University will continue to pursue the production and marketing of organic vegetables and spices and organic vegetables.

The Natchez Farmers Market is governed by an Advisory Board. This board is responsible for setting policies, procedures and other rules or regulations governing the farmers market. The market manager is responsible for coordinating all activities and enforcing all guidelines and policies set forth by the Advisory Board.

A collaborative effort between the Mississippi Commission of Agriculture and Commerce and the Mississippi State Department of Health WIC Program, the Mississippi Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program begin in the state in 1998, and is a unique program that was introduced for two purposes - to provide access to Mississippi grown fruits and vegetables for participants of the Senior Program. In addition, to promote crops and the growers who produce and sell them at the local farmers’ markets throughout Mississippi.

Each year the farmers receive a Program Guide for Farmers, a manual that consist of guidelines that govern the farmers. Funded federally by the USDA with matching funds from the State of Mississippi, the guidelines have been set mostly by USDA.

Planned Program

The Small Family Farm Enterprise Financial Analysis, Management, and Marketing Distribution Planned Program focuses on increasing farmers/vendors skills; increasing their profit margins; increasing repeat customers and increasing market vendor for farmers market throughout the state of Mississippi.

The program training for farmers/vendors throughout the state of Mississippi provides them with tools and techniques they can use to increase the visibility and profitability by making changes in how they price, and display their produce/products. In addition, the program provides them with policies and procedures to follow when marketing and selling at their local farmers market. This will make for a profitable and enjoyable part of their farm and business.
 
They will, also, be provided with research-based market analysis and an understanding of the economic environment, and marketing in a global setting that is constantly changing.

Joint extension and research studies, extension programming and training will focus on addressing problems associated with enterprise and market selections. Extension, research and outreach programs and training will be put in place with the ultimate goal of enhancing the economic viability and profitability of farmers/vendors at farmers markets throughout the state of Mississippi.

Staff Members:

Helen D. Brooks - Interim Marketing Coordinator
601-442-4648 or 601-807-0376
Email: brooks@alcorn.edu

Vegetable Processing Center

Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) working closely with (the Quitman County Board of Supervisors, North Delta Mississippi Enterprise Community), the North Delta Produce Growers and Association Mississippi Association of Cooperative has established a fresh vegetable processing facility in Marks (Quitman County), Mississippi, which is the center of the North Delta Mississippi Enterprise Community. Under this agreement, Alcorn State University’s Cooperative Extension Program has provided the leadership in the establishment of a facility.

The Cooperative Extension Program will also work closely with the North Delta Produce Growers Association into other areas to include farmers in all of the targeted counties in the North Delta Mississippi Enterprises Community, which is a federal rural designation. This facility will serve as a value-added processing, assembly-line and temporary storage facility for fresh vegetable that are either ready for immediate consumption or prepared for additional processing.

This facility will be used to assist farmers in vegetable production practices through demonstrations, workshops and seminars. The facility will also be used to educate farmers on sanitation, post harvest handling techniques and also help to expand marketing opportunities for present and prospective vegetable farmers in the North Delta.

The purpose of the center is to establish a vegetable processing and packing facility that will allow small farmers in the North Delta area to produce commercial vegetables in order to diversify their farm operation and to improve their marketing potentials.

The potential vegetable market outlets include the casinos, state institutions and wholesale/retail produce clients in Memphis, Chicago, St. Louis and other produce outlets within 300 to 500 miles of Marks, Mississippi.

Sustainable Horticulture Systems Planned Program
 
The knowledge area of the planned program if as follows:
• Food technologies - Educational workshops seminars and demonstrations activities conducted at the Mark processing facility to:
• Establish a value-added processing, assembly and temporary storage facility for fresh vegetables that is either ready for immediate consumption or prepared for additional processing.
• Conduct an on-going training program for members of the cooperative engaged in the commercial vegetable production program.
• Introduce small farmers to the latest technology available in alternative agricultural enterprise.

ASUEP Staff Members:

Horticulture Area
Dr. Franklin Chukwuma - Project Director/Specialist- Horticulture
601-877-2312
franklin@alcorn.edu
Percy Baldwin-Facility Manager
662-326-2531
pbaldwin@alcorn.edu

Small Farm Incubator Center

The Small Farm Incubator Center is located in Preston, Mississippi. The Center has established in 1997 as a permanent teaching laboratory and educational training site for small and/or limited- resource farmers in surrounding counties who are wishing to farm but have limited farming experience.

The Center provides an opportunity for small farmers that are interested in the production of horticultural crops, livestock production (i.e. pasture poultry) and agro forestry to acquire hands-on training under the guidance of a horticulture or animal science specialist.

The purpose of the Center is to increase the number and success of limited-resource individual interested in becoming farmers, but who do not have land, and provide an opportunity to move them to an inventory farm.

Individuals selected to engage in the incubator program are required to participate in a comprehensive training program. The extent of the training will be based upon individuals’ past farming experiences. Selected farmers will be assigned an economic tract of land up to 3 acres of land based upon his/her labor and the personal interest, rent-free, for an extended period of time.

The program’s personnel work closely with each individual farmer in developing his/her production and marketing plan. The Center provides the farming equipment but the farmers are responsible for all their production supplies and implementing production practices under the supervision of the Center’s staff. During their training period, they will be evaluated annually. At the end of the three -or -five -year period, successful farmers will be given an opportunity to purchase a farm at a reasonable price.

The ultimate goals of the Small Farm Incubator Program are:

• Increase the number of small limited- resource farmers(minority) by making inventory farmland available a farm demonstration site to interested individuals who have demonstrated an interest in farming and to gain the knowledge and skills to produce alternative agriculture enterprises.
• To provide training to individuals who want to farm, but have limited or no experience in farming.

Sustainable Horticulture System Planned Program:

Research findings translated from various knowledge areas identified in the Joint Extension and Research Plan- of- Work will be demonstrated at the Small Incubator Center. The knowledge area of the planned program is as follows:
• Conduct educational session for small farmers on post- harvest handling and sanitation of horticultural crops, soil, plant, water and nutrient relationships, plant management systems, and weeds affecting plants.
• Provide training on marketing techniques/outlets.

Staff Members

Horticulture Area
Dr. Franklin Chukwuma – Horticulture Specialist
601-877-2312
franklin@alcorn.edu
Rondall Hawkins- Specialist - Animal Science
601-877-6558
rhawkins@alcorn.edu
Phil Luke - Farm Manager
662-773-7128
pbluke@alcorn.edu
Mamie Crosby - Program Assistant
662-773-7128
mjcrosby@alcorn.edu

Technology Transfer Center

The Alcorn State University Extension/Research Farm & Technology Transfer Center was established in the Spring of 1995 with forty-five (45) acres of land leased from North Bolivar County Development Corporation. The Center is proud to be the first off-campus agricultural educational outreach center in Alcorn state University Extension Program’ history devoted to Extension and Research demonstrations. The Extension/Research Farm & Technology Transfer Center is located in Mound Bayou (Bolivar County), Mississippi, and is a low-income rural area the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

This area is where traditional agriculture and off-farm employment do not present a solution to the poverty of many families attempting to make a living from the operation of small family farms. Furthermore, Alcorn State University-Extension Program (ASUEP) has placed special emphasis on the production of sweet potatoes in the area. Hence, research and demonstration previously geared towards sweet potato production and marketing are conducted at the center with participation with scientists from Alcorn State University, Mississippi State University, USDA/ARS research station at Stoneville, Mississippi and local farmers.

Additionally, the outreach center has expanded its focus to emphasize a variety of viable alternative agriculture enterprise solutions using crop rotation demonstration of various types of horticultural crops as well ornamental products.

The center’s purpose is to educate farmers on sustainable horticulture crops emphasizing:
• Soil and crop management, emphasizing cultural operations and efficiency of fertilizer use
• Cropping systems for crop intensification and for farm management
• Pest control and management
• Improved cultivars adapted to the specific environment of farm and farmers
• Value added processing, Post harvest handling and marketing strategies

Sustainable Horticulture Production System Planned Program

The planned program goals will be achieved through:
• Research and demonstrations efforts
• Spring/Fall field days
• Implementation of Train the Trainer education programs for farmers
• Implementation of workshops and seminars for farmers
• One-on- one Technical Assistance

Staff Members

Horticulture Area
Dr. Franklin Chukwuma - Project Director/Specialist Horticulture franklin@alcorn.edu
Director/Specialist Horticulture
Rockiell Woods - Regional Coordinator rwoods@alcorn.edu
John Coleman – Area Educator jaycole2006@yahoo.com
Candrese Jones - Secretary candrese@alcorn.edu
294 Grainger-Dorsey Road
Mound Bayou, MS 38762
662-741-3375 (Office)