Tuskegee University conference to address farmers’ needs



TUSKEGEE, Ala. (November 29, 2011) — The 69th Professional Agricultural Workers Conference will be held on Dec. 4-6 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University. This event focuses on helping to enhance the skills and contributions of agricultural professionals by sharing new technologies and information. This year the conference is sponsored by Wal-Mart and will kick off with a pre-conference at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Dec. 2-3.  The conference will incorporate groundbreakings for two new facilities, one on campus and one in Selma, Ala.

The conferences will feature sessions on successful marketing opportunities, advancement of female leaders, empowering rural communities, innovative programs and grant writing.

Outreach in Selma

On Dec. 4, Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon will help break ground for the Black Belt Family Farm Fruit and Vegetable Marketing and Innovation Center in Selma on Hwy. 80 from 2-3:30 p.m.  Sponsored by the Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance (AALGA), this facility is to be used by farmers to receive, package, temporarily store and ship produce. Therefore, they will have the ability to earn more money for their crops and have their produce available for buyers more quickly.

The AALGA is an alliance between the agriculture program deans for Tuskegee, Alabama A&M and Auburn universities. Tuskegee is the lead university for the innovation center project. Students will conduct research at the center on product quality, nutrition, food safety, marketing, shipping and profitability. The purpose of the center is to help disadvantaged farmers develop a profit-generating cooperative and better agribusiness practices that can be shared.

Help for Tuskegee area

Farmers in Tuskegee and surrounding areas will soon have access to a wealth of information about grants and government programs. On Dec. 5, Tuskegee University will break ground on the Carver Integrative Sustainability Center at the corner of Franklin Road and Motley Lane at 11:45 a.m. The center will house Tuskegee agriculture resource experts and United States Department of Agriculture agents. The purpose of the center is to empower underserved farmers and rural communities.

In a one-stop environment, information on government programs and other benefits will be provided as well as expertise from USDA agents. Tuskegee students will also do research at the center and learn various aspects of agribusiness.

For more information about the 69th Professional Agricultural Workers Conference, go to http://www.pawc.info .

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