Alcorn hosts Shiitake Mushroom Workshop for small farmers

Alcorn hosts Shiitake Mushroom Workshop for small farmers

Recently, Alcorn State University hosted a Shiitake Mushroom Workshop where Dr. Omon Isikhuemhen, associate professor at North Carolina A&T State University in North Carolina, was the featured presenter.

Dr. Barry Bequette, dean of the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences (AREAS) and director of 1890 land-grant programs at Alcorn, provided opening remarks. Dr. Bequette expressed his support for the shiitake mushroom research at the School of AREAS, and stated that he would like for Alcorn to be known as the “Shiitake capital of the world” in the future.

Dr. McAfee, extension administrator, expressed his appreciation and stated that numerous years of research have been dedicated to the area of shiitake mushroom research, and that many small farmers are very interested in this product being grown at Alcorn.

Dr. Omon Isikhuemhen also works as an adjunct associate professor at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Trained in Europe, Japan and in the United States in the field of mushroom biology and biotechnology, he has 25 years of experience working with exotic mushrooms.

Following his presentation, Dr. Isikhuemhen conducted a hands-on training at the ASU Experiment Station on cultivation of shiitake mushrooms on logs and substrate block production for indoor cultivation in year-round commercial production systems.

“Mississippi has a tremendous chance to become a huge mushroom production state. It can easily market mushrooms to surrounding states,” stated Dr. Isikhuemhen. “Due to the geographical location, it has a well positioned natural environment for growing mushrooms, as well as an abundance of natural resources: forest biomass, and agricultural waste for mushroom production. With all these attributes, rural farmers in Mississippi can benefit immensely from mushroom farming. And exotic mushroom, including shiitake, can easily become the number one crop in Mississippi in the near future.”

He added, “Shiitake mushroom has a high selling price, more than most vegetables produced and sold by Mississippi farmers today. It can also become a staple, which will reduce obesity and improve healthy eating. Furthermore, it is known to have anti-cancer properties, ability to lower cholesterol and increase or enhance immunity.”

During the luncheon, Dr. Dovi Alipoe, interim chairman, Department of Agriculture, extended his appreciation to Dr. Isikhuemhen for sharing his expertise and knowledge to the students, scientists, and visiting farmers. He also expressed his gratitude to Dr. Patrick Igbokwe, associate director, Alcorn State Experiment Station, for arranging this successful event.

Approximately 40 Alcorn faculty, staff, students and participants from surrounding areas of Mississippi attended the event.

Dr. Igbokwe, who introduced the speaker, shared, “I am very pleased with Dr. Isikhuemhen’s presentations and demonstrations.” He also expressed his appreciation to Dr. Bequette and Dr. McAfee for their participation, support and encouragements. His special thanks were extended to Mr. Joseph Buzhardt, president, Hestia Farms of Bolton, Mississippi, and other participants for being a part of the exciting and enriching workshop.

For additional information on research projects at the ASU Experiment Station, please contact Dr. Igbokwe at 601.877.6542 or [email protected] .

2012 Shiitake mushroom workshop 

Pictured (L to R): Dr. Igbokwe and Dr. Isikhuemhen with shiitake mushrooms.