MANRRS partners with Natural Resource Conservation Service
The LSU chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) is partnering with the United Stated Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service to perform outreach activities targeting minorities, minority agricultural producers and landowners.
Leslie Blanchard, assistant dean of the LSU College of Agriculture, said the goal of the partnership is to make a positive difference in the lives of MANRRS students by allowing them to interact with NRCS professionals and farmers.
“Students also gain an appreciation for conservation and learn innovative ways to build stainable environments for the future,” Blanchard said.
As part of the collaboration, students volunteered at Sankofa Market in New Orleans to learn about conservation efforts.
“This market is in a food desert, which is a place where resources for fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce or nonexistent so it is valuable to the community,” Norlethia Harris, a MANRRS member said.
At the market, the students helped set up the fresh fruits and vegetables for the public to buy. Harris said she and the other members were able to talk to locals who visit the market regularly and see how important it is to the community.
The students also visited the market’s wind tunnel, where some of the fresh produce for the market and local restaurants is grown, and learned some of the advantages associated with wind tunnels and growing locally.
The partnership started in the fall of 2016, when LSU MANRRS members attended a conservation field day and tour at the NRCS Addis Service Center.
During the conservation field day and tour, MANRRS members received an overview of the USDA NRCS agency mission, history and current structure. MANRRS members also learned about common conservation practices and systems implemented in Louisiana parishes.
One highlight of the event was traveling to Schexnayder and Sons Farm and the Brent River Farm to witness conservation practices in action.
“It was very insightful to learn about the incentive and cost sharing programs that help farmers implement more sustainable practices,” Samantha Smith, the president of LSU MANRRS, said
LSU MANRRS members plan to continue activities that support conservation goals set by the collaboration.