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ASU Agribusiness and Economics Club visit agricultural operations in Louisiana

Agribusiness club trip to Louisiana

Cargill - Reserve, Louisiana.

Twenty-five students of the Alcorn State University Agribusiness and Economics Club (ABEC), Department of Agriculture, took an educational trip to Louisiana on November 11-13, 2010. The club is lead by Drs. Wesley Whittaker and Maribel Mojica, and Mr. Teddrick Hargrave, Agricultural Economics program, and supported by Dr. Maifan Silitonga. The objective of the trip was to provide experiential learning by exposing students to applied economics and agribusiness operations. The group visited a number of agricultural operations including Cargill, Fast Food Farm Inc., a local tobacco processing house, and Lafourche Sugar Company LLC.

On the first day, the group visited two Cargill plants in Westwego and Reserve, Louisiana. Cargill is an international producer and marketer of agricultural products and services which employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. The operations at Westwego and Reserve involve grain procurement for export. The students were exposed to actual plant operations during the tour of the plant. They saw a control room, large silos, grain elevators in action, and sampling/grading process.

“Cargill management provided invaluable information to the group,” said Dr. Mojica. “Students were amazed to learn that some of our Agricultural Economics program graduates are now managers at Cargill.”

The next day, the group visited the Fast Food Farm Inc. – a non-profit organization that uses creative means to educate people in the community about the importance of agriculture and explain them where the food comes from. It is a two-acre interactive and educational farm illustrating the food system from the farm to the table. The Fast Food Farm provides hands-on approach to learning for kids. Later in the afternoon, the students, staff and faculty visited a local tobacco curing barn, where they met with the owner and employees and learned about tobacco curing. The next stop was Lafourche Sugars LLC sugar mill in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where the students witnessed the process of harvesting sugarcane and enjoyed the sight of a 70 million ton mountain of sugar crystals in the warehouse. The trip also included some recreational activities in New Orleans, like sightseeing and a visit to the aquarium.