(l-r) Silvadanie Quianoo, graduate student; Denera Perdue, recent AAMU graduate; JarMarkus Crowell, undergraduate student; Breana Cobb, undergraduate student; Jasmine Faush, recent AAMU graduate; and Earl Purifoy, graduate student.
During the recent summer months, the Alabama A&M University Small Farms Research Center (SFRC) has sponsored six interns comprising AAMU graduate and undergraduate students, as well as alumni.
Throughout this period, the interns not only learned the day-to-day activities of the Center, but they also became attuned to its responsibilities to the community, the clientele it serves, and its significance to the agricultural sector. Interns interacted and networked with agriculture professionals from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Rural Development (RD), Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS), and the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, just to name a few.
The professionals offered information on possible employment opportunities and experience in assisting agricultural producers, landowners, and Alabama’s rural entrepreneurs. The interns worked closely with E’licia L. Chaverest, the Center's program manager and marketing specialist; Dr. Rufina Ward; Dr. Swagata "Ban" Banerjee; and Dr. Duncan M. Chembezi, professor and Center director.
"This internship program has been a huge success,” said Chaverest, who spearheaded the program and supervised four of the six interns. “Our goal is to build on this success and expand the program in future years. We want to make sure students are able to connect what they learn in the classroom with real life situations and experiences.”
Founded in 2000, the Center aims to conduct need-based small farm socio-economic research, and to provide outreach training, technical assistance and advice to minorities and underserved agricultural producers, landowners, rural businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Center also conducts and promotes interdisciplinary research on the economic and social development of small, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, landowners and rural entrepreneurs in Alabama’s underserved communities.
Moreover, SFRC's research focuses on small farm profitability and overall sustainability, business development, rural and youth entrepreneurship, agricultural risk and risk management, and genetic modification/biotechnology.
The Center’s goal is to educate, equip and empower producers, especially current and beginning socially disadvantaged agricultural growers, landowners and rural entrepreneurs, by providing the knowledge and technical skills needed to operate, manage, and own profitable agribusinesses.
Through the "very successful internship program," notes Chaverest, the Center was also able to hire two interns as program assistants. "We appreciate all our interns who worked diligently and contributed so much of themselves to the success of our events/activities throughout this summer," she added.
This internship program was funded by U.S. Departmentof Agriculture's Outreach Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) Program administered by the Office of Advocacy and Outreach. To learn more about the Center and its community outreach efforts, please contact Ms. E’licia L. Chaverest at (256) 372-4958 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.