Maintaining Balance is Focus of College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ High School Career Day

May 12, 2011

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – A group of 275 middle and high school students from Houston and Beaumont, Texas who attended Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences High School Career Day found that fun and making good grades is achievable if you find the correct balance.  The event took place on campus May 6and was part of the pre-Agricultural Field Day activities held May 7.

Dr. Richard Griffin, interim assistant research director, Cooperative Agricultural Research Center,center, and Theo Reed, PVAMU freshman Agronomy major,second from right, share information about Prairie View A&M University with high school students.

“We were certainly pleased to have this group of potential and upcoming Prairie View A&M University students attend the 2011 High School Career Day,” said Horace Hodge, USDA 1890 Program Manager and co-chair of the event. “Many young people have not been told about the advantages of majoring in the agricultural and human sciences once they come to a university, and we hold this event to reinforce the importance of agriculture and how it affects everyone’s lives. “

Pictured from left to right are students and the Graduation Coach from Worthing High School: Rodney Jackson, Mr. Zeno - graduation coach, Jazmine Tanner and Lamar Matthews.

Andra Collins, a Prairie View A&M alum who majored in agriculture with an emphasis in Animal Science and is now an agriculture teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in the Aldine Independent School District, brought more than 20 students to the Career Day.  Collins told the participants that her time spent as a student at Prairie View was very rewarding, and she wanted to go into teaching to expose more youth to the field of agriculture.

Bobby J. Smith, II, PVAMU Student Government President and an agricultural economics major, emphasized to the young people that going to college is a wonderful experience if you know how to set your priorities and have balance. “It’s about balance and what you want to achieve,” said Smith. “I partied a lot at Prairie View, but I also maintained a 4.0 average.”  Smith is graduating in May and will be attending graduate school at Cornell University in the fall.

Bobby Smith, II, graduating senior, Agriculture, and president - PVAMU Student Government Association, tells high school students that it's all about balance.

The participants also heard from other PVAMU agriculture and human science majors including Theo  Reed, a freshman majoring in agronomy, who told them to choose their friends wisely and to not be afraid to ask other students for help. Reed also said that it’s very important to maintain a balance in your school work and social life while attending college.

Excitement continued at the Career Day with a step show performance from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and an engaging session from Dr. Wash A. Jones, assistant professor, who asked students some basic questions about agriculture. Mark Pearson, director for Enrollment Management, asked the young people, [why PVAMU?] and told them that he expected them to go to college and to do well.

In addition to Eisenhower Middle School, students from Houston representing Worthing and Sterling high schools and Travis and Woodson middle schools attended the Career Day. Young people from Central Medical Magnet High School in Beaumont, Texas also came to the Career Day.

Dr. Victor G. Stanley, interim head, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition & Human Ecology, ended the Career Day with information on the types of majors and degrees available in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences.

For more information about the High School Career Day, contact Horace D. Hodge at 936/261-2521, hdhodge@pvamu.edu.

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

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PVAMU’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ Agricultural Field Day Marks 28th Year of Helping Small Scale Agricultural Producers

May 12, 2011

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Since 1983, Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences has held the Agricultural Field Day to give small scale agricultural producers the tools needed to help them sustain and maintain their farm, goat and ranch operations. The Field Day also helps new and upcoming individuals find their niche in non-traditional operations such as organic farming.  The 2011 Field Day, held March 7 on campus was no exception.

Starting May 6 with a pre-Field Day workshop on “Farmscaping”, the process of using biological and organic toxic controls in commercial crop production, Dr. Richard McDonald of Symbiont Biological Pest Management in North Carolina, hosted approximately 40 participants in this one-day seminar.  McDonald conducted field studies on the University Farm that focused on farmscape design, habitat development, insect collection and beneficial insect release.

Participants watch intently as Dr. Richard McDonald explains "Farmscaping" techniques.

Farmers, ranchers, community gardeners, goat and beef cattle producers, and other interested individuals started registering early on May 7 for the start of the Field Day events.

Activities started with greetings from the mayor and university and USDA officials—Dr. E. Joahanne Thomas-Smith, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, Anderson Neal, deputy director, USDA – Office of Advocacy Outreach, Washington, D.C., and Frank Jackson, mayor of Prairie View.

Dr. Thomas-Smith applauded the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ academic, research and Extension units for carrying on the tradition of uplifting agriculture and the human sciences to its students and clients.

Neal, a native Arkansan, said it was his first time visiting Prairie View A&M University and was glad to see the outreach that was being made to assist small scale agricultural producers. Neal also explained the five programs operating in the Office of Advocacy & Outreach saying that the 1890 institutions are included in the Higher Education Institution Program.

Immediately following the opening session, participants went to their selected workshops to get up close and hands-on training.

“This year we had approximately 200 participants at the Agricultural Field Day,” said Billy Lawton, Field Day chair and interim program leader – Agriculture & Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension Program. “All facets of the College worked together to offer workshops, university farm tours, academic and research poster displays highlighting student research, and a Goat Cook-off.”

Workshops included Food Safety, Goat Judging Basics, Diseases of Pregnant Goats, Matching Nutritional Needs with Forage and Hay Quality for Beef Cows, Internal Parasites in Goats, Pasture Management, Using the “Grazing Stick” and General Goat Management.

Justin Duncan, University Farm greenhouse manager, gives participants tour of University Farm.

The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences continues to show the importance of agriculture to Prairie View A&M University’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service. Agricultural careers can be as diverse as nutrition education, dietetics, agricultural economics and agricultural communications, however, the primary goal of the Agricultural Field Day was to focus on farming and ranching needs.

“This Agricultural Field Day was very beneficial for me, especially in the areas of organic gardening and the processing of livestock, said Willie Brown, Field Day participant.

During the workshops the participants received hands-on training and applicable information to use in their farm enterprises.

“I learned that the type of grass you plant should depend on the vitamins that are in the grass and the benefit it will have for the cattle,” said Haskell Harvey, owner of a ranch in Bellville, Texas. “I also learned that certain types of grass do not need as much moisture as other types, and if you leave it [grass] at least four inches off of the ground your next crop will produce a lot quicker.”

To add to the academic and research components of the Field Day, several Prairie View A&M University students showcased their research posters for attendees to view. The students, Natalie

Delahoussaye— graduate student in Human Sciences, Debra Elder—junior majoring in Biology and Ashley Moore—graduate student in Human Sciences, won first or second place in the Poster Competition held recently at the Association of Research Directors conference.

A favorite activity of Agricultural Field Day has been the Goat Barbecue contest. To add a twist to this year’s contest, a Goat Cook-off was held where entries were accepted for all types of prepared dishes made with goat products, including cheeses, stews and meat dishes. Winners of the Goat Cook-off were Swede Farm—Waller, Texas for their Specialty Goat Dairy entry and The Three Panthers –Montgomery, Texas for their Grilled Meat entry.

Jackie White, standing, program specialist - Family & Consumer Sciences - Cooperative Extension Program, explains the next food tasting entry for Goat Cook-off judges.

“We were certainly pleased with the turnout this year and look forward to next year’s event,” said Lawton.

Contact Billy Lawton at 936/261-5117, bclawton@ag.tamu.edu or visit http://pvcep.pvamu.edu for more information about the Agricultural Field Day.

Photos: Tour and Farmscaping – Alecea Rush, communications specialist – Cooperative Extension Program
Goat Cook-off Photo – LaRachelle Smith, web content associate – Cooperative Extension Program
Writer:  Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program


Daniels “FARM-IT” Presentation Placed in Online National AG Risk Education Library

May 10, 2011

Dr. Nelson Daniels, program specialist – Agriculture & Natural Resources, Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, recently had his presentation titled “Helping Minority Agriculture Producers to FARM-IT” (Financial Analysis Risk Management and Information Technology) placed into the online National AG Risk Education Library.

Daniels presented his paper to an audience of 150 at the National Extension Risk Management Education Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri in April, 2011. Daniels explained the origin and implementation of the FARM-IT project as one that was developed by Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources staff to help small farm agricultural producers sustain and maintain their operations using electronic management techniques.  The FARM-IT program started in 2004.

Materials selected for the online National AG Risk Education Library are used to help producers and agricultural professionals quickly locate information, tools, and assistance on specific risk management topics.

The online Library is housed at the Digital Center for Risk Management Education at the University of Minnesota and is supported by all four Extension Regional Risk Management Education Centers. The Library’s website address is www.agrisk.umn.edu.

Writer:  Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program
Photos: Alecea Rush, Communications Specialist, Cooperative Extension Program


Cooperative Extension Agriculture Agents Host Beef Cattle Palpation Clinic

May 10, 2011

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Approximately 23 small farm beef cattle producers from Waller, Washington and Fort Bend counties attended a Beef Cattle Palpation Clinic held on the campus of Prairie View A&M University on April 29 – 30. The clinic is one in a series of workshops that will be held in 2011 through Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program’s Tri-County Beef Cattle Series.  Cooperative Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources agents, Kelvin Neal, Kenneth McCullough and Major Stevenson, Jr. implemented the Tri-County Beef Cattle Series in 2010 to help primarily limited resource producers improve their beef cattle and farm operations.

“We hosted this workshop to help our clients determine pregnancy in their cattle, which can help them make timely culling decisions and focus the resources of their beef cattle operations on sound, reliable breeders,” said Kelvin Neal, Extension agent – Agriculture & Natural Resources in Washington County.  “Pregnancy determination can also help our clients manage feeding to meet the high nutritional demands of gestation, calving, lactation and rebreeding more effectively.”

Dr. Wendell C. Baker, DVM, Baker Veterinary Clinic in Prairie View, Texas, facilitated the clinic.  Dr. Baker gave detailed information on management tools to use to determine pregnancy in cattle, practices to improve reproduction in the herd, culling decisions that need to be made and necessary equipment to use.  Dr. Baker also took the producers through the cows’ reproductive cycle and gave them hands-on experience in palpation techniques to help them determine the stages of pregnancy in their herd.

Dr. Wendell C. Baker, facilitator of the Beef Cattle Palpation Clinic, explains the management tools to use to determine pregnancy in cattle.

“This was one of the best programs that I have attended, especially for small farmers,” said Fred Thomas III, a beef cattle producer with farm operations in Waller and Washington counties. “Dr. Baker was a great teacher in the classroom and in the field, and I gained a great deal of information on palpation. I believe with a little assistance I would be able to palpate my own herd.”

Cooperative Extension agriculture agents Major Stevenson, Jr., left, and Kenneth McCullough, center, watch as beef cattle producer, Fred Thomas III, gets hands-on experience at the Palpation Clinic.

Cooperative Extension agents Neal, McCullough and Stevenson are planning future workshops and clinics for small farm producers and ranchers. For a schedule of upcoming Tri-County Beef Cattle Series events contact them at:  Neal – 979/277-6212, kwneal@ag.tamu.edu – Washington County; Stevenson – 281/342-3034, mwstevenson@ag.tamu.edu – Fort Bend County; and McCullough – 979/826-7651 –  kwmccullough@ag.tamu.edu – Waller County.

Writer:  Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program
Photos: Alecea Rush, Communications Specialist, Cooperative Extension Program