Left photo: Dr. Wesley Whittaker, assistant dean of academics, School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences, addressing students during the Farm to School program held November 10, 2015. Right photo: Dr. Girish K.S. Panicker, associate professor and director, Center for Conservation Research, sharing information about persimmon fruits with the students.

Forty students from Port Gibson High School, Port Gibson Middle School and A.W. Watson Elementary participated in the School to Farm program held by the Alcorn State University Center for Conservation Research on the Lorman campus November 10, 2015.

The goal of this educational program is to expose local youth to the broad scope of agriculture, the latest technologies and excellent employment opportunities within the field of agriculture.

The day began with the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences administrators welcoming the participants and giving an overview of the School’s academic programs and specializations. The Admissions Office representative provided information on admission requirements and scholarships.

The participants also had a valuable opportunity to go on a farm tour and learn about conservation research programs and organic horticulture. They visited a pecan plantation and fruit orchard as well as vineyards with muscadines and bunch grapes. In the orchard, the students enjoyed harvesting persimmons. They also learned about the spacing of orchard crops on the field, time of planting saplings and location of field plots.

“Since the program’s inception in 2001, we reached about 2,000 students in Claiborne and Jefferson counties,” said Dr. Girish K.S. Panicker, associate professor and the Center’s director. “Our goal is to show to the students how advanced the field of agriculture is, to spark their interest and encourage them to join Alcorn’s agriculture program.”

The visit concluded with the students enjoying fresh persimmon fruits and snacks provided by the Center for Conservation Research.

For more information on this and future School to Farm programs, please contact Dr. Panicker at [email protected] or call (601) 877-6598.