Agricultural Field Day Brings Marketing Into Focus

May 28, 2010

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – The selling and marketing of food and other agricultural products, specifically at farmers’ markets, was the focus of the 2010 Agricultural Field Day held May 22 on the campus of Prairie View A&M University.  The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences hosted this annual event, which brought together more than 200 farmers, goat and beef cattle producers, vendors and other interested  persons.

Michael Kelling of the Central Texas Beekeepers Association, left, answers audience questions in the Beekeeping for Beeginners session.

“This is our 27th year of having the Field Day,” said Dr. Freddie L. Richards, Sr., dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences.  “We had something to offer all age groups who came out this year.”

After greetings from Dr. E. Joahanne Thomas-Smith, provost and senior vice-president for Academic Affairs at PVAMU, and remarks from Dr. Kyle Smith, executive associate director for Texas AgriLife Extension, participants moved into the concurrent workshops.

“We offered workshops addressing beekeeping, rainwater harvesting, how to care for goats, goat judging basics, forage and pasture management, small acreage beef improvement project and many others,” said Dr. Richards. “Several of our Cooperative Extension agricultural agents and research specialists gave workshops presentations.”

Billy Lawton, program specialist- Agriculture & Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension Program, explains Rainwater Harvesting techniques to workshop participants. Milton and Diann Woods, owners of Millie's Barn Vegetables, are pictured on far right.

“Artificial insemination is one of the most effective tools available to enhance the productivity and profitability of beef cattle production systems, however we’re seeing that even though this tool has been commercially available for more than 65 years, it is still dramatically underused in today’s beef herds,” said Major Stevenson, Jr., Extension agent – Agriculture and Natural Resources – Fort Bend County and one of the presenters in the Small Acreage Beef Improvement Project workshop.

Kelvin Neal, left, and Major W. Stevenson, Jr., right, Extension agents, Cooperative Extension Program, give tour of Prairie View A&M University Farm.

“Using artificial insemination in your herds could mean increased weaning weights, improved post-weaning performance, enhanced carcass value and more productive replacement heifers,” said Stevenson.

“It is always a pleasure to attend and learn a lot about beef cattle production, goat management, and forage and pasture management at these field days,” said Leonard Montgomery, a resident of Cherokee County, who at 80 years old was the first African-American to own a pest control business in his county. “I just retired three years ago, but I am always interested in learning about the agricultural industry.”

ictured is Cherokee County Field Day participant, Leonard Montgomery.

In conjunction with the Field Day, the CAHS held a High School Career Day to expose young people to careers in the agricultural and human sciences. The youth learned how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is used in the field of agriculture. “I didn’t know that agriculture had so much to offer as a field of study,” said Kyle Holmes, a 10th grader at Central Medical Magnet High School in Beaumont, Texas. “What we’ve learned today about GIS applications is extremely interesting.”

High School Career Day students track coordinates of Prairie View Alumni Hall using GIS technology.

Holmes was one of eleven students that Ronald Kelley, an agriculture science teacher at Central Medical, brought to the High School Career Day.

“We definitely want to spread the word that the agricultural and human sciences are viable fields to pursue academically and as a career,” said Dr. Richards.

One of the participants at the Field Day, Diann Woods, former health inspector and owner of Millie’s Barn Vegetables in Eagle Lake, Texas, made a career choice to go into organic farming.  “I started farming in 2000 and became acquainted with Prairie View A&M University while serving on their agricultural advisory board,” said Woods.  “That is also when I started attending the agricultural field days on campus.”

Woods said that one of the workshops that she attended, Rainwater Harvesting, gave her some valuable information about the types of collection tanks to use for drip irrigation. “This information was very helpful,” Woods said.  “I’d like to say that Prairie View A&M University is a place to get information for people who want to do farming.”

The Field Day afternoon session featured the symposium, Marketing at the Farmers’ Markets, which was coordinated by Dr. Gary Newton, research leader, International Goat Research Center, and research scientist in the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center.

The Farmers’ Markets symposium had several presenters to inform the audience about safety requirements necessary for mobile food establishments in Texas, up-to-date licensing requirements needed to sell goods in the markets and other pertinent information.

In addition to attending workshops, Field Day participants toured the University Farm and the International Goat Research Center.

For more information about the Prairie View A&M University Agricultural Field Day, call 936/261-5072 or visit pvcep.pvamu.edu.

Writer – Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program
Photo Credit:  Alecea Rush, communications specialist – Cooperative Extension Program

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Cooperative Extension to Bring Youth Ahead at Full STEAM

May 20, 2010

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Young people, ages 14 to 18, will get a full dose of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics) at the 2010 4-H Career Awareness and Youth Leadership Laboratory. The Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program is sponsoring this event, June 15 – 17, on campus.

“We feel that it is very important to  give the youth who attend this year’s event a full learning experience in workshops that give them practical information on how science and technology, especially, affect their everyday lives,” said Gail Long, program specialist – 4-H & Youth and CAYLL chairperson. “The participants will also showcase their leadership skills during Youth Lab.”

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View More from the 2009 Career Awareness and Youth Leadership Lab

Workshops being offered at the 2010 Lab range from learning how robotics can be used daily to making money in your own business ventures. “Youth will spend an adequate amount of time in each workshop so that they can develop a project or participate in a thorough hands-on experience,” Long said.

Topics including CPR, first aid, DNA technology, podcasting, fashion production, citizenship, exploring ecosystems using GPS and GIS technology, natural resources and the environment and the U.S. food supply are being offered.

To register for the 2010 Career Awareness and Youth Leadership Laboratory, contact your local county Extension agent, contact Gail Long at glong@ag.tamu.edu, phone 936/261-5119 or go to the Cooperative Extension website at pvcep.pvamu.edu to download a printable registration form.

Download and listen to our online podcast with more information about the 2010 Career Awareness and Youth Leadership Laboratory

Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications


Extension Staff Showcase Programs at CYFAR 2010 Conference

May 17, 2010

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Five members of the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension staff made presentations and showcased the work that they do to help at-risk youth and families at the 2010 National CYFAR conference held May 4- 7 in San Francisco, California. They were part of more than 900 Extension staff, collaborators and volunteers participating in the annual Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) conference.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) sponsors this event, which is planned by university and county faculty in the Land-Grant university extension system. “Our Cooperative Extension Program has a mandate to help limited resource audiences, and we tailor our educational programming to meet the needs of these individuals and families,” said Dr. Freddie L. Richards, Sr., administrator of the Cooperative Extension Program and dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences.  “The presenters that we had at this year’s CYFAR conference were sharing some of the work that they do on a daily basis to help our clientele raise their standards of living.”

Leticia Rolland-Hardy, Extension agent – Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS)Grimes County, along with Tonya McKenzie of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, held a workshop on Nutritional Guidance for Pregnant Teens. “This is a program that we conduct to help teen mothers learn how to maintain their health during and after pregnancy,” said Rolland-Hardy. “We explained to the other educators who attended the workshop that this program is really helping our teen participants to reduce preterm labor, birth defects, low birth weight babies and death.”

Leticia Rolland-Hardy, left and Tonya McKenzie, stand by their "Nutritional Guidance for Pregnant Teens" display.

Timothy Sandles, Extension agent – 4-H & Youth Development Fort Bend County, talked about the 4-H Engaging Youth, Serving Community project. “This project, which is designed to empower young people to become effective change agents in their communities and to work in partnership with adults, has been working very effectively,” Sandles said. “I explained to the audience that this project can be conducted in rural and urban areas and young people can be very instrumental in coordinating neighborhood beautification projects, preserving the cultural heritage of their communities, and working with adults to address and resolve any problematic issues that are close to home.”

Three other CEP staff members, Carolyn Perkins-Frank, health coordinator, Dr. Crystal Wiltz, Extension agent – FCS in Travis County and Gussie McConnell, Extension agent – FCS in Cass County, were part of the conference’ Program Showcase where they exhibited the work that’s being done in Project DEAP (Diabetes Education Awareness Prevention). “Our exhibit called Walking Groups Foster Positive Diabetes Outcomes, emphasized the importance of physical activity to foster positive outcomes for people living with diabetes,” said Dr. Wiltz. “We had photos and a video of walking groups and dance-a-thons that our clients took part in to help improve their health.”

Dr. Crystal Wiltz, kneeling, Gussie McConnell, left, and Carolyn Perkins, right, pictured in front of their exhibit, "Walking Groups Foster Positive Diabetes Outcomes", which was part of the Program Showcase at the National CYFAR Conference.

Several other staff also attended the 2010 National CYFAR conference. “We will continue to have our staff participate in these types of events to share what we do and, hopefully, help others incorporate some of our educational programming ideas into their own extension programs,” said Dr. Richards.

Pictured are several Extension staff members who attended the 2010 CYFAR Conference. Front row, from left, Shannon Johnson-Lackey, Timothy Sandles and Tahira Malik; back row, from left, Marvin Young, LaRachelle Smith, Leticia Rolland-Hardy and Ricky Mahaley.

About the National Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program

Through an annual Congressional appropriation for the National Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture allocates funding to land-grant university extension services for community-based programs for at-risk children and their families. Since 1991, CYFAR has supported programs in more than 600 communities in all states and territories. CYFAR promotes the use of technology to improve programs, provide efficient access to educational resources, and provide essential technological skills for youth and adults in at-risk environments.

Writer – Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program
Photo Credits – LaRachelle Smith, web content associate, Cooperative Extension Program and Tonya McKenzie, extension agent, Texas Agrilife


PVAMU Agricultural Field Day Scheduled May 22

May 17, 2010

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – The Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences is hosting the 2010 Agricultural Field Day, May 22nd on campus.  Marketing Agricultural Products is this year’s theme with particular focus on Marketing at the Farmers’ Market.

“We will cover various topics at the event, which starts with registration at 7:00 a.m in the Carden-Waller Extension Building,” said Dr. Freddie L. Richards, Sr., dean, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences. Topics ranging from Rainwater Harvesting to Managing Internal Parasites in Goats will be presented.”

Other workshops that will be held include Diseases of the Pregnant Goat, Small Acreage Beef Improvement Project, Goat Judging Basics, Beekeeping for Beeginners, Forage and Pasture Management, and General Goat Management.  A symposium directed specifically towards Farmers’ Markets is scheduled for the afternoon starting at 2:00 p.m.

“Our High School Career Day will also be conducted in conjunction with the Agricultural Field Day,” said Dr. Richards. This program is being held in the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center, and will provide middle and high school students with information on careers that they can pursue in the agricultural and human sciences.”

The High School Career Day runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Persons interested in attending the Agricultural Field Day can download the registration form online at pvcep.pvamu.edu or call 936/261-5072 or 936/857-3916 for more information.

Writer – Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program