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School of Agriculture's Product Development Center re-opens for business

The School of Agriculture has re-opened its Product Development Center, which would allow entrepreneurs and researchers to sell their products.

The Center, located near the University's entrance beside the Faculty and Staff Housing Complex, is a multi-faceted facility that offers training programs that allow participants to create new and unique food products while learning entrepreneurship skills.

The Center is instrumental in supporting the local economy by adding value to Mississippi's agricultural and food sector industries. It also creates a robust workforce pipeline and gives local farmers and entrepreneurs tools to take their value-added food products to market and beyond.

Dr. Franklin Chukwuma, associate director for Extension Services, is happy about the Center's re-opening and its benefit to farmers.

"It feels good to have a place where participants can access state-of-the-art equipment to help develop their ideas to market products such as baked goods, pickled products, hot sauce, ice creams, spices, jellies, wine, and juices. Hence, farmers can build their customer base outside traditional outlets such as farmers' markets and grocery stores and sell directly to food manufacturers or expand their businesses."

Providing a place where Alcorn researchers can thrive and sell affordable goods are some of the Center's objectives.

"The mission of the Center is to provide an avenue where Alcorn's researchers can develop affordable products and make them available to the public, alumni, and Mississippi residents and visitors. We also provide technical assistance to farmers and entrepreneurs in developing and marketing products.

Students will also benefit from training professionals to enhance their skills in multiple agricultural areas.

"The Center will provide a learning environment where Alcorn's students will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experiences with processing, production and business management, nutrition education, and retail."