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AgriCULTURE News


Alcorn State University Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center hosts Year One Wrap-Up Session for Farm Management Educational Program
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center (MSFAC), an entity of the Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP), hosted its Year One Wrap-Up Session in the Gold Room of the Dr. Clinton Bristow, Jr. Dining Facility. The event highlighted progress made in achieving the objectives of the Farm Management Educational Program (FMEP) for New, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Mississippi. Jerrie Jackson, 4-H youth educator, ASUEP, presided.

Dr. Edmund R. Buckner, dean and director of Land-Grant Programs for the Alcorn State University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, welcomed the opportunity to greet attendees as well as the array of FMEP affiliates. He encouraged participants to continue to work together to help push one another forward.

After greetings from various dignitaries, Charlotte Dailey, FMEP project assistant, and Velma Oliver, FMEP co-project director, presented an overview of the FMEP’s first year accomplishments.

According to Dailey, one goal of the FMEP is to recruit, train and equip at least 300 new farmers, ranchers and veterans with the necessary resources to create a practical farm plan and become sustainable in vegetable and meat goat production.

In partnership with five non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the FMEP provided educational trainings and hands-on demonstrations in basic crop and livestock production; financial management; risk mitigation; market diversification; food safety and biosecurity; and services of the current USDA farm bill.

FMEP participants as well as representatives from the partnering organizations were in attendance to share about their involvement with the program. Representatives included Keith Benson, Alliance of Sustainable Farms; Constance Gipson, Mid-South Progressive Agricultural Group, Inc.; Calvin Head, Mileston Cooperative Association; Belinda Usher, Mississippi Meat Goat Producers Cooperative; Rockiell Woods, National Center for Appropriate Technology, and Freddie Davis, III, River City Land Services.

Andrea Hale-Arnold, a farmer from Osyka, MS, shared how it was initially intimidating when she and her husband first became interested in agriculture.

“When we first got involved, we went in with no expectations,” she said. “This program helped us to find resources, navigate the red tape, and stay on task. We are so very grateful for the mentors and information that we have received thus far!”

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, vice chancellor for Extension and Outreach at Southern University's Agricultural Research and Extension Center. During her address, she encouraged attendees to be intentional with their business and never miss an opportunity to learn. She also shared inspirational words.

“Always express your gratitude for everything that you have, even on the cloudiest of days.” “Be thankful for what is, for what could be, and reflect on yesterday to figure out what you can do differently to accomplish more and achieve the goals that you’ve set.”

After lunch was served, FMEP team members provided program partners and participants with certificates of appreciation.

Dr. Elizabeth Myles, FMEP project director and MSFAC associate director, provided closing remarks.

“This year has been great...” she said. “Our farmers are very important to us. We had a very successful first year and we appreciate your unwavering support.”

For more information on FMEP, contact Myles at 601.877.3947 or emyles@alcorn.edu.

For more information on USDA Grant Number 2018-70017-28547 “Farm Management Educational Program for New, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Mississippi,” click here.

To view more photos from the event, click here.



Alcorn Veterinarian Travels Abroad to Teach in Ecuador

Dr. Cassandra Tillman Vaughn, university veterinarian, recently traveled to Otavalo, Ecuador to instruct veterinary students from the University of Tennessee, Kentucky State University, Western University, Oregon State University, Washington State University and Ross University on techniques for successful animal surgeries. The excursion was hosted by World Vets, an international veterinary aid organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of animals by providing veterinary aid and training in developing countries and disaster relief worldwide.

According to Vaughn, her experience was "the trip of a lifetime.” She enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer with such an esteemed organization and transfer the knowledge that she has gained over the years to future generations of veterinarians.

“I remember being where they were,” said Vaughn. “I just hope that I was able to help them improve their surgical skill set and confidence.”

At Alcorn, Vaughn’s specialty has been working with large animals such as cows, horses, pigs and goats.

“That’s mostly what the University has, so dogs and cats aren’t something that I usually work with on a daily basis,” she said.

During the trip, she was surprised to find that she was the only traveler with that experience.

During a community outreach day, her skills became invaluable when nearly 100 large animals came in for physicals. As the only experienced instructor, she and a local veterinarian joined forces to get the job done.

“I did the pigs and he did the cows,” she said. “It was really funny how it all worked out. I guess this was a trip that I was destined to be on!”

During her time in Ecuador, Vaughn marveled at the allure of the scenery. She became intrigued by not only the terrain, but also the people and wildlife.

“The city of Otavalo is beautiful,” she said. “I had an opportunity to hike the Andes Mountains, see a condor in all of its splendor, and visit the Equator,” she recalled.

In the future Vaughn looks forward to continuing to travel the world and share her knowledge. She encourages others to visit new places while pursuing their passions.

“Otavalo is a wonderful, safe place to visit,” she said. “I look forward to visiting Peru next year with World Vets...”

For more information, contact Vaughn at 601.877.6541 or cfvaughn@alcorn.edu. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.worldvets.org.



Alcorn State University Extension Program Participates in the 2019 Mississippi State Fair

Each fall, the Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) sets up a booth at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson, MS to provide information, present dynamic displays and exhibits, and promote the initiatives and services of the Alcorn State University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

During their stay, ASUEP worked with the Mississippi Syrup Producer and Processors Association; Mississippi Department of Agriculture & Commerce; Mississippi Agriculture Forestry Experiment Station and the USDA Agricultural Research Station to present its beloved "Country Outlet." The exhibit featured information on agribusiness, marketing, health and wellness, breast cancer awareness, ASUEP's 4-H Youth Development Program, and more.

This year, on-site sugarcane syrup processing was a crowd favorite. Visitors also took pleasure in browsing various aisles of syrup, sugarcane and vegetables.
During their presentation, representatives from the Mississippi Syrup Producer and Processors Association demonstrated how the sugarcane plant is used to create syrup.

“There’s nothing like the smell of sugarcane syrup cooking in the air,” said Robert Short, syrup crop grower and processor. “It takes you back to the days of your childhood, and that’s why we do it, for the kids,” he said.
In addition to visits from various organizations, the Country Outlet included Purple and Gold Day, a mobile Farmer’s Market, and live radio broadcasts from Alcorn’s public radio station, WPRL 91.7 FM.

To learn more, contact Manola Erby, youth specialist, ASUEP, at 601.857.0250 or mcerby@alcorn.edu. You may also contact Ralph Arrington, agronomy specialist, ASUEP, at 601.857.3242 or ralpha@alcorn.edu.


Alcorn’s Active Minds Chapter Presents Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Alcorn State University Active Minds Chapter hosted its annual town hall meeting at Parkway Baptist Church, Natchez, MS. This year, the organization chose to inform communities about the issue of underage drinking and provided them with useful ways to help combat it.

According to Dr. Martha Ravola, interim chair/associate professor, Department of Human Sciences, and advisor of Alcorn’s Active Minds Chapter, the town hall meeting originated as part of an initiative launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an entity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to address the national drinking epidemic of individuals 12 to 25 years of age.

“Alcohol use could potentially affect the quality of learning and academic performance as it can cause alterations in the structure and functioning of the brain,” said Ravola. “Communities have the potential to raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of underage alcohol use and mobilize local action to prevent it,” she said.

During the event, a panel of mental health professionals, elected officials, educators, youth workers, religious leaders and Alcorn State University Extension Program personnel spoke to and educated attendees about the dangers of underage drinking and ways to address the issue.

For more information, contact Ravola at 601.877.4717 or mravola@alcorn.edu. To learn more about SAMHSA, click here.



Four Steps for a Food Safe Thanksgiving

By Meredith Carothers, MPH, Technical Information Specialist, FSIS

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and you may be spending a lot of time with family, friends, and eating tons of great food. The holiday season can be extremely busy, especially with all the preparation and planning, but you can be sure to have a food safe turkey-day by keeping these four simple steps in mind. Click to Read More.

For more Thanksgiving food safety tips, follow FSIS on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety or on Facebook at http://Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov.

Contributing Authors:

Renita Lacy, staff writer | rlacy@alcorn.edu

Gabrielle Terrett, student intern | gterrett@students.alcorn.edu