St. Helena Parish Ag Day Showcases Farms & Teaches Youth Where Their Food Comes From

BATON ROUGE – The Southern University and LSU Ag Centers held their annual St. Helena Parish Ag Day on June 15 at the Fifth Ward Recreation Center in Amite, La.

Burnell Muse, SU Ag Center Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, and Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., SU Ag Center’s Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach, welcomed the nearly 90 youth and adults attending the event before the group left the center to tour several farms.

The group visited the vegetable farms of Warner Hall and Jerry Hall, both in Greensburg, La. During the visits, both producers talked to the group about the farming methods they used to grow their vegetables. Both producers also emphasized the use of pollinator plants in their gardens to attract bees that help to pollinate their vegetable plants.

The group also toured St. Helena College and Career Academy’s school garden.

“This event is being held so farmers can showcase the activities on their farms and for the kids to see what actually happens on a farm, where their food comes from and the process involved in growing food,” said Muse.

The 65 youth in attendance participated in a plant propagation demonstration which was facilitated by SU Ag Center staff members Mila Berhane and Stephanie Elwood.

Jay Meadows with the Louisiana Department of Ag and Forestry also spoke to the youth about forestry fire protection.

The adults participated in a produce safety/Gap Certification training conducted by SU Ag Center’s Fatemeh Malekian, Ph.D. and Emily King.

Kimberly Knighten with United Health Care also facilitated a health and wellness workshop.

Muse said the two Ag Center’s incorporated health on the farm into the program this year after noticing that several older farmers were in poor health.

“We want to start conditioning young farmers early in life to protect their plants, but also to protect their bodies,” said Muse.

Dennis Ware, with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service; Patrick Babineaux, with the Farm Service Agency, the St. Helena Cattle Company and Tri-Parish Community Farmers also spoke to the group.

For more information about agricultural programs and services in St. Helena Parish, contact Burnell Muse at 225-222-4136.