USDA Civil Rights Assistant Secretary Returns to Landowners Association of Texas Conference

October 18, 2010

Prairie View, TX – In his second appearance at the Landowners Association of Texas’ (LAT) annual conference, Dr. Joseph Leonard, Jr., assistant secretary for Civil Rights—United States Department of Agriculture, said that he would come back every year that he possibly could to address this group of Texas landowners and keep them updated about the state of civil rights at USDA.  The LAT held its 26th conference this year on October 7 – 8 at the Humble Civic Center in Humble, Texas.  The Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program and College of Agriculture and Human Sciences were conference co-sponsors.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is pictured with, from left to right, Edward Cline; Dr. Joseph Leonard, Jr. and his son; Billy Lawton; George Green, CEP agriculture agent in Smith County and Horace Hodge, USDA Liaison Officer at PVAMU.

“The rights that we have in this country surpasses any other,” said Leonard. “I’m here representing USDA and USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and I can tell you that USDA is committed to upholding the rights of all individuals.”

“We wanted Dr. Leonard to come back and be with us at our 2010 conference because, number one, he made quite an impact on our participants last year, and number two, he is a native son of East Texas,” said Edward L. Cline, president, board of directors, Landowners Association of Texas. “We certainly look forward to his participation each and every time that he is able to come.”

This year’s conference theme was Sustainable Agriculture: Rebuilding and Sustaining our Communities. More than 200 farmers, ranchers, landowners and others interested in land ownership attended to get information about succession planning, financing farm and ranch operations, types of assistance available from state agricultural agencies, feral hog control and the 2012 Farm Bill.

A surprise guest appearance at the conference was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who pledged her support to the Texas landowners. “I see the seeding and hearts of America at this conference,” said Jackson Lee. “You all know about the value of land and the value of keeping your land. There is no closed door to you because farmers of all backgrounds need to work together and encourage young people to learn more about the field of agriculture.”


Garret Mackey, agriculture major at PVAMU, looks at exhibit booth information.

Several of these young people who have chosen the field of agriculture, including LaJoya Wilburn, Gabrielle Washington, Sefoullah Scofield and Vanessa Walker, all PVAMU students in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, made presentations at the conference about their internship experiences.  Vanessa Walker, who interned at the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS), said she was able to travel to Ghana, West Africa because her internship peaked her curiosity in how agriculture is practiced in other parts of the world.

Krishaun Jackson, a PVAMU graduate in the CAHS, said that she formerly interned at Texas Parks and Wildlife and Tyson Chicken and now holds a full time job at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

Several Texas state agencies including the NCS, TDA, Farm Service Agency, USDA Rural Development, Texas AgriLife Extension, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department talked to the audience about the services that they offer to farmers, ranchers and landowners.


State Director for USDA Rural Development, Paco Valentin addresses participants.

State Director for USDA Rural Development, Paco Valentin, said one of his agency’s responsibilities is letting the public know that there is a connection between production agriculture and community and economic development.  “We provided Prairie View A&M University some funding for rural economic development early this year, and we will be providing them with more funding next year,” said Valentin. “Without a rural America, there is no America.”

The highlight of the conference was the presentation of the Farmer of the Year award.  The LAT presents this award to farmers who have used their land successfully and have become profitable in their farm or ranch enterprises. The 2010 recipients were a brother and sister team who are owners/operators of the Wooten Family of Bar-A-Ranch in Lovelady, Texas—Robert Wooten and Barbara Wooten. This ranch has been in their family since 1878 and their mother, Mrs. Doris Wooten, accepted the award.


Mrs. Doris Wooten of the Wooten Family of Bar-A Ranch, 4th from left, accepts 2010 Farmer of the Year Award. Pictured with her from left to right are Mr. & Mrs. Edward Cline, her daughter, Gwendolyn Wooten, her granddaughter, Andie Scott-Wooten, her great-granddaughter, Gabby Scott-Nunez, her son, Robert Wooten and Rudolph Cline, board member, LAT.

The Landowners Association of Texas, Inc. was founded in 1978 with the primary goal of curtailing the alarming rate that black landowners are losing or have lost their land over the past 30 years,” said Billy Lawton, interim program leader – Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension Program. “To accomplish this goal the LAT provides information and assistance to these landowners to help them maintain and acquire land, develop and utilize land profitably, resolve land disputes through guidance and appropriate referrals and increase knowledge about methods of land transfer to heirs.”

“The conference that the LAT holds annually has definitely made a mark on landowners, ranchers and farmers, providing them with information that they need and, most of all, use,” Lawton said.

For more information about the Landowners Association of Texas, contact Edward Cline, or Billy Lawton,

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


Prairie View to Host 2nd Annual GIS Day – November 17, 2010

October 14, 2010

The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Prairie View A&M University will host the 2nd annual GIS Day on November 17, 2010. The event will be held in the Carden-Waller Cooperative Extension building from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The faculty, staff and students of Prairie View A&M University as well as interested persons in Waller and surrounding counties are invited to attend.

The theme for this year’s GIS Day is “Academic Enhancement using Geographical Information Systems.” The event will focus on the use of GIS to improve teaching, research and extension activities. The program will include presentations on the application of GIS in academia, poster presentations, information on GIS careers and a hands-on GIS activity for students.

Registration is free and interested persons should register online at On-site registration will also be held on the day of the event beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Lunch will be provided for all participants. Register immediately at the links below.

For more information please contact Noel Estwick at 936-261-2526, 936/261-2540 or by email at  You can also follow Prairie View A&M’s GIS Day on Twitter at pvcahsgis.

Cooperative Extension to Host “kNOw Dia-Besity: It’s A Family Affair”, Nov. 9-10

October 8, 2010

Many individuals, especially African- Americans, know or have heard of someone who has died from diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes is one of the seven leading causes of death in African-Americans with obesity being the most related factor in Africans-Americans with type 2 diabetes. Knowing these alarming statistics, the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program wants to help you find ways to stay healthy through the” kNOw Dia-Besity: It’s A Family Affair” conference that will be held November 9-10, 2010, on PVAMU’s campus.  The Texas Department of State Health Services-Diabetes Program is one of the conference sponsors.

“Lack of knowledge can increase the already large number of persons who have diabetes coupled with being obese, which, in a lot of cases, are health issues that are controllable and preventable,” said Carolyn Perkins-Frank, health coordinator, Cooperative Extension Program.

“This conference, which is a culminating event of Cooperative Extension’s Project DEAP (Diabetes Education Awareness Prevention) will enlighten participants on obesity’s connection to diabetes, help find methods to prevent obesity, address emotional health concerns, and give detailed information on how to cope with diabetes and obesity,” said Marvin Young, Extension agent – Family and Consumer Sciences in Dallas County and conference chair.

Cookbook Author, Angela "The Kitchen Diva" Medearis


Guest speakers include “The Kitchen Diva”, Angela Medearis, who will demonstrate new ways to whip up healthy versions of African-American meal favorites; and BiggestLoser contestant, Season 9, Cherita Andrews, who will speak on how she lost 100 pounds in seven months while balancing “work, life, family and church”.  Medearis will share her meal preparations on the evening of November 9th starting at 6:00 p.m. in the Carden-Waller Cooperative Extension building.  Registration on the 9th begins at 5:00 p.m. Conference workshops start the morning of November 10th with registration beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Memorial Student Center.

Cherita Andrews from NBC's hit show, The Biggest Loser.


“With the knowledge participants receive from this conference, they will lose those extra pounds, and gain the chance to better control their diabetes or remain diabetes free,” said Perkins-Frank. “Statistics found on state that being overweight makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes. Almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.”

“Why not change statistics and become a healthier you? Everyone is invited to join us for two days of powerful information that could add years to your life,” said Young.

Registration fee for the conference is $35, which includes conference materials and door prizes. Registration fees are waived for Prairie View A&M University students and Project DEAP participants.

Register online at or Contact Carolyn Perkins-Frank at 713/440-4900, or Marvin Young at 214/904-3050, for more information.

Writer: Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program and Jalisa Jones, Student – PVAMU