Lorman, Miss. (January 3, 2014) - The Alcorn State University Extension Program recently hosted the North Delta Pea Project appreciation luncheon at the Batesville Civic Center, Batesville, Mississippi.
Dr. Franklin Chukwuma, coordinator of off-campus centers, presided over the event attended by farmers participating in the project, School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences staff and officials from the city of Marks.
“The purpose of the luncheon is to honor the participants of this project that began two years ago. Alcorn became a member of the consortium with the goal to train farmers to produce and sell quality peas to Walmart. The training of the farmers in THE North Delta began in 2012. This region was selected because Alcorn has its processing facility in Marks. In 2012 alone we helped produce and sell about $35,000 worth of peas. We would like to continue the project and involve more farmers in this venture.”
The program opened with Elizabeth Myles, marketing specialist for Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center, stating the purpose of the event, followed by an invocation offered by Bishop Willie Knighten, Trinity House of Prayer, Moorhead, Mississippi, and reflections by Percy Baldwin, facility manager, Alcorn’s Marks Vegetable Processing Plant, Marks, Mississippi. During a delicious lunch, Dr. Cedric Sims, agronomy specialist, introduced the keynote speaker, Kurt Readus, state conservationist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Jackson, Mississippi. Readus spoke to the farmers about cash share programs availability and shared information on NRCS programs that assist in the farming enterprise.
“We are thankful to Alcorn for helping us to achieve success with this project,” stated Carl Nicosis, vice president of the North Delta Vegetable Growers Association. “Our biggest challenge was controlling weeds, but after we saw the preventive maintenance that is done on Alcorn’s demonstration farm, we started doing it too and now, we don’t have this problem. We appreciate the help of Dr. Chukwuma and other Alcorn Extension employees very much.”
Gill Thompson, farm owner/operator, member of the North Delta Vegetable Growers Association agreed with Nicosis and added, “We thank Alcorn for their assistance that helps us with our daily farming routine.”
The program concluded with farmers receiving memorable plaques presented by Dr. Magid Dagher, director, Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center, in recognition of their achievements.
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.