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Alcorn State University and Royal International partnership and USDA educate small farmers on goat production to impact Mississippi’s economic development

President Brown and Congressman Bennie Thompson support the initiative

Small and limited-resources farmers, representatives of state and federal agencies, special interest groups from the state of Mississippi, Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II, Congressman Bennie Thompson, and ASU School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences (AREAS) administrators and faculty gathered for the Small Ruminant (Goat) Field Day and Workshop held by Alcorn State University Extension Program, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Royal International LLC at the Royal’s family farm in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, on August 5, 2013.

Considering the fact that goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world with the demand for it constantly growing, Mississippi farmers have a great opportunity to prosper in this rapidly developing market. Those who want to invest in the business of growing goats received valuable information on production and marketing of goats during the workshop.

The participants toured Royal’s goat and lamb meat farm to see with their own eyes the thriving operation that was established less than two years ago and during this short time expanded tremendously. They now have about 1000 goats on this property and about 4,000-6,000 animals altogether on their three farms.

“We have been pretty successful in what we do and our mission is to become the largest goat meat producer and exporter in the United States,” stated Charles Pickett, CEO and president of Royal International LLC. “We believe in doing things right and supporting our community. We are proud to enter into the partnership with Alcorn and NRCS to make things happen for Mississippi.”

Under the agreement between Alcorn and Royal International, the University receives a site for farming and research providing its faculty and students with valuable hands-on experience, providing Royal with research, extension and educational services, and activities that will result in improved farming technology and management systems.

In his comments, Congressman Bennie Thompson recognized Alcorn and Royal International for being “vital partners in the project that helps Mississippi’s small and limited resource farmers to be better farmers” and ultimately boosting the state’s economic development.

Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II stated, “When we sign this agreement, we will not only be the first in the state of Mississippi, but with the help of others, we will be the best.”

The event concluded with the participants sampling tasty goat and lamb meat dishes prepared by celebrity Chef Joe Durio, known for his Louisiana style authentic Creole cuisine and promoting healthy eating for all ages.

For more information on the project, please contact ASU Extension Program at 601.877.6128.

-ALCORN-

Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.