Alcorn State holds a Mushroom Production Workshop; educates farmers and community

Alcorn State University held a Mushroom Production Workshop on October 31, 2014, to educate faculty, students and members of the community about cultivation of a highly profitable niche crop shiitake mushroom.

Dr. Wesley L. Whittaker, interim associate director of research, School of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences (AREAS) welcomed the audience and said, “We are interested in finding new ways to produce high-value crops and increase revenue for our stakeholders and citizens. Mushroom is an important crop for small and limited- resource farmers, not only for its profitability, but because of its nutritional value as well.”

Dr. Patrick Igbokwe, professor of horticulture and associate director of Alcorn’s Experiment Station, introduced the event speaker Dr. Omon S. Isikhuemhen, associate professor, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, and adjunct professor at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

“Mushrooms are a high value crop,” stated Omon, “My goal is to put money back into the farmer’s pocket. Maturing in just five days, a farmer can make up to $600 in just one week of properly instituting mushroom production procedures.”

Omon also touted the health benefits of consuming mushroom, including its many medicinal properties. It is an excellent source of selenium, iron, protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin C.

“Mushrooms are one of the only foods that contain all eight essential sugars that we need to survive and function properly. They have quality proteins and minerals and are low in fats and carbohydrates. Mushrooms do contain sugar; however, they do not contain the ‘unhealthy’ sucrose which is very common and a major problem in America today.”

After the presentation, participants visited Alcorn’s mushroom research station where Igbokwe and Omon taught about successful mushroom production operations and methods of harvesting, and explained how to conduct research.

For more information on mushroom production at Alcorn, contact Dr. Igbokwe, at (601) 877-6542 or [email protected].

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