Yang gets patent for Alexandrian laurel

150902yang001edcaesDr. Guochen Yang has been awarded a patent associated with a popular landscape evergreen that has the potential to increase production and profits for small-scale growers.

Yang, a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design,  has worked more than 10 years to formulate a micropropagation protocol he’s developed for Alexandrian laurel. The process reliably produces many of the plants in far less growing time than nature could.

Naturally, the laurel has a 20 percent chance of growth; growers that plant 100 seeds may get 20 plants. With Yang’s method, growers are guaranteed to get 100 shoots from 100 seeds, and each of those shoots has the potential to contain up to 50 plants. What’s more, the time each plant will take to grow to marketable size is reduced by one or two years, from six or seven years to four or five.

Yang’s research has been directly inspired by the commercial marketplace, with the owner of a local plant nursery encouraging him to find a quicker way than usual to get the slow-growing Alexandrian laurel to market.

Now, the patent that protects the Alexandrian laurel-growing protocols is the intellectual property of Yang and A&T. Landscapers, nursery operators or anyone else who wants to know how to grow the plant from tissue samples can do so, but must first sign a contract with A&T.

The shortened growing process overcomes the difficulty of cultivating enough sellable plants to make space in growers’ greenhouses, which can cost up to $15 per square foot, per year, pay.

“Once you get the formula, the protocol, you can quickly produce many plants,” Yang says. “Time is money. This has the potential to significantly increase the production, and profit margin, for U.S. agriculture overall.”




A&T student achieves milestone in FFA election

DeShawn Blanding, a sophomore biological engineering major at N.C. A&T, has been elected Southern region vice president of the National FFA. His  election makes him one of only six African Americans to achieve this distinction and the first from an HBCU.

Chastity Warren English, faculty advisor of A&T’s collegiate FFA chapter, says that Blanding has what it takes to succeed as a national officer.

“The Collegiate FFA Chapter at N.C. A&T is ecstatic about DeShawn’s new role,” Warren English says. “I am especially proud because I know he dedicated an abundance of time to making his dream become reality.

“He has such a humble spirit and a desire to learn. He is also a friendly young man, and open to working with diverse groups of people.”

Each year at the National FFA’s Convention and Expo, six students are selected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, a secretary and vice presidents representing regions of the country. In his new role, Blanding will take a sabbatical next year to travel the country. National officers commit to a year of service to the organization, visiting FFA chapters, hosting state and local conventions and meeting FFA members. Each officer will also meet with business and industry professionals, government and education officials, and will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country.

“It means so much to be able to be a minority voice and a leader on the team that has brought so much to me,” Blanding says, describing FFA as equal parts agriculture and leadership. “To be able to influence the 649,000 members of the organization is a great opportunity, and I’m fortunate to have it.’’

Blanding credits CAES faculty with developing his skills to take advantage of this position, by pushing him and others “outside your comfort zone” and preparing students for leadership roles.

Blanding has been involved with the FFA since high school in South Carolina, where it was the first organization he joined. In high school, he was a chapter officer and the state vice president his senior year. “I didn’t have an ag background coming into this organization,” he says. “The FFA introduced me to ag and brought me out of my comfort zone. Now, I have a huge interest in ag – it has basically been my life for the past five years.”

Helping other students find their passions will be the most enjoyable aspect of his new office, adding that: “I can’t wait to help students who aren’t familiar with agriculture know about FFA.”

Warren English points out that Blanding’s election is also a milestone historically.

“At one time, we had an organization named the New Farmers of America (NFA), which began in 1935 as a national organization for African American farm youth to promote agricultural leadership, skills and character. In 1965, when the NFA merged with the National FFA, the organization consisted of 1,004 chapters in 12 states, and had more than 50,000 members.

“DeShawn being elected as a national officer, who attends a(n)deshawnblanding HBCU, represents the 50,000 African American members who came before him.”


Workshops show growers how to extend growing season

High tunnels can be used for season extension and natural resources conservation.
High tunnels can be used for season extension and natural resources conservation.

CAES faculty who work with vegetable growers will want to point them toward several upcoming workshops on high tunnel vegetable production that The Cooperative Extension Program has organized for different climatic regions across the state.

Geared toward producers selling into wholesale markets, as well as toward Extension agents who are assisting growers with wholesale market expansion, this full-day, hands-on workshop will offer a variety of tools to assist growers in maximizing the efficient use and profitability of high tunnels. Presenters from The Cooperative Extension Program and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will discuss various high-tunnel equipment vendors, as well as updates on regional marketing strategies and federal funding for high tunnel construction.

“Season extension is one way that farmers can access markets six weeks longer, and really capitalize on their vegetable production,” says Laura Lauffer, coordinator for local farms and foods for The Cooperative Extension Program.

Two sessions of “Season Extension with High Tunnels – Maximizing Use & Producing Profits” have been scheduled; both are 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.; cost is $25 and participants may register online through the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS):

  • Monday, Nov. 21 at the Ashe County Cooperative Extension Center, 134 Government Circle, Suite 202, Jefferson, N.C. 28640. Registration  deadline is Nov. 17.
  • Monday, Dec. 12 at the Sandhills Research Station, 2148 Windblow Road, Jackson Springs, N.C. 27281-9124. Registration deadline for that session is Dec. 7.

Both days will conclude with high-tunnel farm tours. The Ashe County workshop will include information about high tunnel features that are important for extended season growing in the southern Appalachian mountain region, while the Jackson Springs workshop, will provide information about high tunnel features that are important for the Sandhills region.

An additional three sessions have been scheduled for 2017: February 9 in Onslow County; March 27 at Lomax Farm in Cabarrus County, and March 30 at the North Carolina A&T State University Farm in Guilford County. Details and registration for these workshops will be posted at the CEFS website in December.

For more information about these workshops, or other initiatives from N.C. A&T in support of local farms and foods, contact Lauffer at The Cooperative Extension Program at (336) 285-4690 or (919) 444-1478, or emailing her at ldlauffe@ncat.edu.

Dairy food safety training scheduled Oct. 5

In keeping with the CAES’s Local Food & Health Initiative, The
160318-poerter-myrick-130ed2Cooperative Extension Program has organized a food safety training class for dairy producers 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 in Coltrane Hall on the N.C. A&T campus. Cost is $40 which includes a workbook and training by Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel, CEO of Dirigo Food Safety a nationally recognized authority on dairy food safety. Registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 3.

This class for cheese makers and dairy producers will focus on the basics of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and documented food safety planning, a topic of critical importance to anyone in the dairy industry.

“HACCP training allows farmers to assure a safe product to meet a growing consumer demand for locally produced artisanal cheeses and dairy products,” says Laura Lauffer, project coordinator of local farms and food for A&T’s Cooperative Extension Program.

Participants will learn how to write standard operating procedures (SOPs), write process-flow diagrams, describe their product accurately and understand value added dairy operations. At the end of the course, participants will earn a certificate in Food Safety for Value Added Dairy Production.

Farmers and others interested in artisanal dairy production should register online and click on “Artisanal, Safe and Efficient: The Way Forward for Dairy Producers”

CAES Homecoming Celebration scheduled

Alumni who preregister online will get a first class "boarding pass" to the buffet line.
Alumni who preregister online will get a first class “boarding pass” to the buffet line.

The Greatest Homecoming on Earth is approaching, and as always, the CAES will host the greatest welcome-back-alumni cookout on earth during its annual CAES Homecoming Celebration.

This year, the celebration will be 1 – 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, on the lawn of B.C. Webb Hall.  On the program are fun games; great food by David Pittman, (class of ’97); dynamic entertainment by DJ, Courtney Lawrence, (class of 2009);  and the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, faculty and students. The CAES will also have a table for alumni to donate to the CAES and/or the department or program of their choice.

Alumni can show up without reserving in advance — but those who do so online will be privileged with a first-class “boarding pass” for seating, and for the buffet line.  Alumni can find the online registration form by visiting the CAES homepage, and clicking on “Alumni.”

This year, the CAES cookout revolves around the theme, “The CAES Footprint.”

“The event will be an opportunity for faculty and staff to share the many ways CAES makes strides, steps up to challenges, and keeps pace with 21st century change, thus leaving a positive imprint across North Carolina through relevant research, Cooperative Extension outreach, and academic programs that serve industry and society,” says Dr. Antoine Alston, associate dean for academic studies, and chair of the CAES homecoming committee.

Showcase of Excellence a success

Brenda Searcy, a CAES administrative support associate and a master's student majoring in Agricultural Education, shows her poster describing her study abroad experience in Belize.
Brenda Searcy, a CAES administrative support associate and a master’s student majoring in Agricultural Education, shows her poster describing her study abroad experience in Belize.

A record 75 CAES students presented an enormous array of their summer academic experiences during the annual Showcase of Excellence, Sept. 7 in B.C. Webb Hall. The student experiences spanned the gamut of agricultural fields, and included corporate internships, study abroad, and independent research projects at N.C. A&T and other universities or government agencies.

After conversing with students and viewing posters that described key experiences and lessons learned, university and CAES administrators congratulated participants on their achievements, in a concluding ceremony.

“To take knowledge from the classroom and utilize it in a meaningful way … that’s what education is all about,” said A&T Provost Joe B. Whitehead.

Dr. Antoine Alston, CAES associate dean for academic studies praised students’ efforts, urging them to pursue a life that is “more about substance than show,” and to seek advanced degrees and lifelong learning.

“You represent the best of the best,” said Alston, who is the Showcase coordinator.

Each student received a certificate, and several received awards. Award recipients, in three categories were:

  • Graduate Research Poster — First place: Yvette Robbins, a master’s student in Integrated Animal Health Systems, for research at the National Institutes of Health; second place: Rohit Ranabhat, Ph.D. candidate in Energy and Environmental Systems, for research in the CAES’s Food and Nutritional Sciences Program; two third-place winners: Sarah Adjei-Fremah, Ph.D. candidate in Energy and Environmental Systems, for research in the CAES’s Department of Animal Sciences, and Si Zhu, Ph.D. candidate in Energy and Environmental Systems, for research conducted at the CAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies.
  • Undergraduate Research Poster – First place: Malaycia Goldsmith, an Animal Science major, for research in Multicultural Academic Opportunities at Virginia Tech; also winning 1st was Jasmine Hall, a Child Development and Family Studies major, for research in the CAES’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; second place: Sabrina Victorin, an Animal Science major, for research at Iowa State University.
  • Best Study Abroad/Internship Poster – First place: Kayla Harris, an Agricultural Education major, for an internship with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service; second place: Jacoby Shipman, a Biological Engineering major, for an internship with Boston Scientific; third place: Karina Relatado, a Biological Engineering major, for an internship with Abbot Laboratories.
A record 75 students participated in the 2016 CAES Showcase of Excellence
A record 75 students participated in the 2016 CAES Showcase of Excellence

Seminar on campus entrepreneurship scheduled

Dr. Kathleen Liang, the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Professor in Sustainable Community-Based Food Systems for the College of 160817 Kathleen Liang 001ed3Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), will deliver a seminar describing an entrepreneurship curriculum for college campuses. Liang will present “Dollar Enterprise – Creating an Integrated Experiential Learning Opportunity for Entrepreneurship Education,” 2 – 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13 in Room 262, Carver Hall.

The seminar was coordinated through the CAES’s Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education. Dollar Enterprise, a highly ranked entrepreneurship curriculum, motivates learners to directly apply entrepreneurship theories to plan and operate small ventures on college campuses. Dollar Enterprise strives to create the maximum impact on generating products, services and learning, by using $1 seed money, per person, with a combination of local sourcing and recycle, reuse, renew, and up-cycle concepts. It allows budding entrepreneurs to gain knowledge, skills, and practical experience simultaneously about entrepreneurial transformation, new venture creation, and community engagement. Liang has prior experience with developing an entrepreneurship curriculum, from her prior position as professor at the University of Vermont.

Research publication: Tahergorabi

Dr. Reza Tahergorabi in the Department of Family and ConsumerReza Tahergorabi Sciences has published a study of a functional food product that
incorporates oat bran fiber into surimi, a popular processed seafood product, often marketed as imitation crab legs. “Physicochemical properties of Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) surimi gels with oat bran,” was published in volume 66 of LWT – Food Science and Technology, an academic journal.

Natural resources student to participate in national congress

Aaron Cinque, a senior majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Systems with a concentration on Sustainable Land Management, has been selected to participate in the third National Student Congress on Public Land Policy for Land Management. The conference is sponsored by the Public Lands Foundation (PLF) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Cruces District.  The event is scheduled for September 8-11 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Cinque, whose faculty mentor is Dr. Charles Raczkowski, a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, will join 20 other students who will engage with policy makers, current and former federal land managers and academicians to discuss public land policy in the face of a changing environment.

“I’ve been interning with Sandhills Area Land Trust, a community-based conservation organization in southeastern North Carolina, this summer,” Cinque said.  “After completing my degree at A&T State University, I plan to pursue a career in land conservation and native ecosystem rehabilitation.”

NIFA Deputy Director gets a look at CAES research and programs

160819NIFA003ed2Dr. Muquarrab A. Qureshi, the deputy director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, spent a day getting to know the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Friday, taking in some leading research and outreach activities. NIFA provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences, and is a major supporter of CAES initiatives.

He met with Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, CAES interim dean and a host of administrators and faculty, including the three associate deans, the departmental chairs and Provost Joe B. Whitehead.  Qureshi is the deputy director of NIFA’s Institute of Youth, Family and Community, overseeing its three program divisions in Community and Education, Youth and 4-H, and Family and Consumer Sciences. His campus visit included presentations by CAES family and consumer sciences faculty including Dr. Meeshay Williams-Wheeler and Dr. Carinthia Cherry, who discussed their respective work in parenting and obesity programs. The day also included a tour of the University Farm, a presentation on food innovation and food safety and a visit to the lab where Dr. Jianme Yu discussed the reduced-allergen peanut research she helped develop at A&T, that is now patented and being developed by Alrgn Bio for a commercial market.




CAES research team brings relief to local food desert

160817UrbanGarden014ed2GREENSBORO – The first seeds were planted Wednesday in the new farming enterprise on Phillips Avenue, organized through the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T, and in partnership with area neighborhoods looking to get a foothold in the food system for fresh, local and affordable food.

The project is aimed at addressing the health, nutrition and enterprise needs of one of Greensboro’s largest and most longstanding food deserts. The project is in partnership with Concerned Citizens of North East Greensboro (CCNEG), where Phillips Avenue is a major artery. The United States Department of Agriculture-funded project represents the culmination of several years of community organizing by Dr. Terrence Thomas, a social sciences researcher in the CAES.

“Residents of northeast Greensboro have been concerned about their limited access to fresh food for many years,” Thomas says, “and so we have been working with them to find solutions. We hope this will become a model for how communities can develop their own healthy food environments and enterprises,” Thomas said, adding that the project is in keeping with the College’s Local Food and Health Initiative.

The first planting Wednesday was a crop of cucumbers under a 30-by-90-foot high-tunnel greenhouse. After germinating for the next five days the seeds are expected to produce shoots in another 10 days or so, and a mature crop will be ready for harvest by the end of September.

The first employee, Cameron Grady, has been hired to maintain and manage the enterprise . The plan calls for two additional high tunnels and two additional employees. Concerned Citizens is involved in all the decision making, and is responsible for marketing the produce at affordable prices to residents and, it is hoped, to a new community-owned food co-op being developed nearby. The plan is for the CAES to turn over full management of the vegetable farm to CCNEG. Technical assistance and training is being provided by The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T.

Thomas, whose academic interest is in studying how community-based organizations solve complex problems, has combined outreach with research and education in the project. Numerous nutrition and food-preparation workshops that he organized throughout 2015 for the neighborhood were well attended and enthusiastically received, and he hopes to continue them, if future funding becomes available. Thomas also hopes to conduct longer-term studies on the health status of residents impacted by the new food environment.

“Behavior is constrained by the environment, so education alone does not have an effect, unless you also provide access,” Thomas says. “This is aimed at solving both problems.”

The project is also aimed at invigorating a spirit of entrepreneurship in young people, such as Grady, says Dr. Bob Davis, president of CCNEG. Davis, a retired A&T professor of sociology, said the urban farm proceeds will be returned to support the farm and, as it grows, more jobs.

“The neighborhood is enthusiastic about seeing this going full blast, and Concerned Citizens hopes this will get more young people interested and involved,” Davis said.

New W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair joins the CAES faculty

Dr. Chyi Lyi (Kathleen) Liang has been appointed the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Professor in Sustainable Community-Based Food Systems, effective August 1.

Liang hails most recently from the University of Vermont, as a professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her record of scholarship and outreach includes: developing a community entrepreneurship curriculum, receiving more than $5 million in grants to design and implement research across institutional disciplines; consulting local and national producers, growers and entrepreneurs; developing a series of service/experiential learning programs that integrate science-based research and innovative teaching into outreach; and serving on boards and committees for rural development, agricultural enterprise, and small business development.

Liang’s appointment positions her as co-director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a partnership between North Carolina A&T, NC State University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Both universities have $1.5 million endowments from the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Community-Based Food Systems to help promote agricultural sustainability through research and teaching, while fostering a local food supply that is healthy and accessible. 

“Dr. Liang’s well-established background in sustainable agriculture and small-business outreaches are a wonderful fit for our program and its mission to advance agricultural-based education and engagement,” says Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES).

Through the CAES endowed chair, Liang’s duties will include helping to develop outreach and programs that enhance sustainable-agriculture practices and education. In addition to producing scholarly publications, she will also mentor junior CAES faculty as well as Cooperative Extension agents.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the world’s largest private charitable trusts, was established in 1930 by the eponymously named breakfast-cereal pioneer.


Ag Education at A&T ranks at the top

academics_iconN.C. A&T is the second most popular university in the nation offering agricultural education degrees, according to the website State University.com . With 48 students, A&T’s agricultural education program is second only to Florida State University, and outranks almost all other land-grant and other institutions that offer ag education, including N.C. State, Iowa State and The Ohio State University, which rank 6th, 3rd and 14th on the list.

“In 2014, we were ranked No. 3, so we are moving up,” says Dr. Antoine Alston, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences’ associate dean for academic studies. “As a point of reference, the Agricultural Education Program is the oldest masters and undergraduate program at N.C. A&T

For more information, visit: http://www.stateuniversity.com/program/13-1301/Agricultural-Teacher-Education#15613#ixzz4Gfa8v6KK


Portable garden takes root in Greensboro

Dominic Burgos (7yrs) Dr Leonard Williams
Dominic Burgos, 7,  shows peppers to Dr. Leonard Williams who is taking CAES research to Johnson’s Day Care in an effort to prevent childhood obesity.

A research team from the CAES has partnered with a Greensboro child-care facility in a longstanding food desert to help prevent childhood obesity.

The team taught the youngsters how to grow a portable vegetable garden, using recycled 5-gallon plastic buckets and other containers that can easily be found in households or businesses, while educating them about the importance of nutrition and health.

“Nutrition research tells us that there is a strong correlation between a plant-based diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and good health, while child-care experts believe that children who are encouraged to eat vegetables at an early age are more likely to make that practice a lifelong habit. That’s why we are doing this,” said Dr. Leonard Williams, director of the CAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT).

The project, developed in partnership with Johnson’s Day Care on Phillips Avenue, is supported by the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute – of which A&T is a partner along with East Carolina and N.C. State universities. Assisting Williams with the implementation and education is Priscilla Randolph, a CEPHT research technician.

The project is one more example of ongoing efforts in the Phillips Avenue neighborhood to improve the health and wellbeing of residents through food entrepreneurship, and is also in keeping with the CAES’s Local Food and Health Initiative. Residents of that community, organized by Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro, (CCNEG), have partnered with the City of Greensboro to establish a community-owned food cooperative, and are also developing  an urban vegetable enterprise, supported by a USDA-funded project led by Dr. Terrence Thomas of the CAES’s Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education.

Small Farms Field Day scheduled June 30

Collard connoisseurs rejoice. Researchers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University are demonstrating environmentally friendly methods to reduce bugs on the greens, during the 15th annual Small Farms Field Day. The annual showcase of agricultural technology and techniques is scheduled from 8:15 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 30 at the University Farm, 3136 McConnell Road in Greensboro.

Sponsored by The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T, the event shows farmers and gardeners how to increase food productivity, maximize income and promote environmental stewardship. The general public is encouraged to attend the free, rain-or-shine event, as well.

With the collards tour, researchers have planted a decoy crop to attract pests and divert them away from the main crop of Georgia Southern collard. Considered trap cropping, the technique uses Integrated Pest Management and results in reduced pesticides on both the greens and the greater environment.

This year’s Field Day also offers tours of:

  • Cover crops for organic high tunnels
  • Organic heirloom tomatoes, with improved selection
  • Black cohosh and goldenseal in high tunnels
  • Healthy goats raised without antibiotics or drugs
  • Broiler houses, and which energy source is best for them

Demonstrations and poster discussions will feature information on making healthy yogurt at home, food safety, flour made from grape pomace, and agromedicine and health screenings.

For more information or to register call 336.285.4661or email ajgaines@ncat.edu

Landscape Architecture student receives national honor


David Duperault, a recent graduate of the Landscape Architecture Program,  has been named a 2016 University Olmstead Scholar finalist by the Washington-based Landscape Architecture Foundation.

The Olmstead Awards are recognized as among the premier national student awards in the field of landscape architecture, according to Anna Reaves, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design , who nominated Duperault for the award.

The program recognizes and supports students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, services and leadership to advance sustainable planning and design and to foster human and societal benefits. Duperault was selected from among 32 undergraduates and 45 graduates who were nominated by faculty across the nation, and was one of six finalists who received $1,000 each in recognition of the honor.

Duperault’s project while a student included working with the Center for Community Engaged Design at UNC-Greensboro to design a moveable farmer’s market for a local neighborhood. He was also one of the SAES’s Undergraduate Research Scholars, completing an independent research survey of homeowners’ preferences for native replacement of invasive plants.

As a non-traditional student, Duperault already had significant experience on his resume, including service as project and construction manager for Habitat for Humanity in Greensboro. Like most SAES students, he had a job offer by the time he graduated.

Duperault is working as landscape designer for Borum, Wade and Associates P.A., a Greensboro engineering and surveying firm.

Research faculty advise agencies to fund Extension overseas

A meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) at A&T brought attention to pressing global issues of poverty and hunger, as well as some advice for funding agencies from faculty members who regularly work in agricultural development overseas. The seven member board, which advises the United States Agency for International Development, includes Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., and met on campus May 18-20.

A panel from SAES included Dr. Manuel Reyes, Dr. Osei Yeboah, and Dr. Anthony Yeboah, who all suggested that funding agencies find ways to translate research data into action on the ground.
Reyes buttressed an impassioned plea for conservation agriculture with photos of rain forest destruction from all over the globe, often the result of cash-poor nations engaging with multinational corporations to plant monocultures, such as pineapple, which are chemical dependent and can deplete soils. Conservation agriculture, on the hand, protects soil while providing income, he said, and advocated more investment in infrastructure to educate farmers.

“What we need to do is scale up, because we know it (conservation agriculture) works,” Reyes said.

Both Drs. Anthony and Osei Yeboah advocated for more funding for Extension personnel in developing nations, to insure that the research-based innovations are more widely adopted, and so that the host countries will have a sense of ownership over implementation.

“Extension will provide the means for ownership,” Dr. Anthony Yeboah said.

More about the BIFAD conference can be found here:

International agricultural development

Faculty, staff and students overflowed a conference room in the Alumni Foundation Event Center to learn about opportunities to work in international agricultural development, during an outreach session by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) Thursday, May 19. The seven-member presidentially appointed board, which includes Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., advises the United States Agency for International Development on ways the nation’s land-grant universities can augment the agency’s mission to end global hunger and poverty.

“Agricultural development (at the local level) is more poverty reducing than urban growth,” noted Rob Bertram, chief scientist for food security for USAID, adding that investing in smallholder farming, and women-run small farms in particular, increases local income, decreases hunger and stimulates job growth.

During the session, officials from the USAID and USDA provided an overview of the many programs and ways to connect to both agencies. Most of the opportunities fall under the USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, which emphasizes introducing appropriate technologies and drought- and pest-resistant crops to smallholder farms in developing nations.  John Watson, minority serving institutions coordinator for USAID, explained that his office is prepared to help institutions like N.C. A&T connect to the agency’s many programs. He and others from USAID emphasized the Payne Fellowship program as one pathway to careers in international ag development.

Martin, who delivered opening and closing remarks, said he appreciated the large turnout, and encouraged faculty to use the information toward their own research, education and outreach efforts.

Information about USAID’s international agricultural development programs can be found by visiting www.USAID.gov and connecting to the agency’s Office of Minority Serving Institutions. Similar programs can be found through USDA’s Office of International Research, which is administered under the Agricultural Research Service www.ars.usda.gov/research/

News of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University