Fort Valley State University President Dr. Ivelaw Griffith, meets with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, and Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., FVSU’s interim assistant vice president for land grant affairs, Dr. Govind Kannan, FVSU’s dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology and Karla Martin, FVSU’s USDA 1890 Program liaison Sept.23 in the Troup Building on campus.
Fort Valley State University’s land grant mission of providing research based technical assistance and education to rural citizens attracted U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to campus Sept. 23.
Malcom Shorter, USDA deputy assistant secretary for administration, Quinton Robinson, state director for USDA rural development, Christian Obineme, facilities director for the USDA and Daniel Westcott, outreach coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service visited campus to learn about USDA Strikeforce for Rural Growth and Opportunity activities in Georgia. They also visited to learn about additional outreach activities occurring through FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology.
The USDA Strikeforce for Rural Growth and Opportunity effort is a program that aims to increase resources in rural communities by providing technical assistance to Georgia’s 60 Strikeforce counties, or counties with consistent poverty. FVSU is a partner in the Strikeforce Initiative.
During the visit, officials participated in a roundtable discussion with rural farmers at FVSU’s Agricultural Technology Conference Center, toured campus agriculture facilities and met with FVSU President Dr. Ivelaw Griffith. Visitors also had a chance to engage in conversations with rural small business owners, representatives from community organizations and local politicians. Shorter said FVSU and USDA have a strong relationship. He wanted to continue this relationship by reaching out to President Griffith.
“I want to make sure he understands how strongly U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack feels about Strikeforce, how strongly he feels about 1890 land grant institutions and how strongly he feels about being able to reach out to our partners and provide them with the help and assistance they need to provide the help and assistance that the general population needs,” Shorter said. He said these needs may come from farmers, local community leaders, students or cooperative extension.
“We are glad that USDA officials have noticed FVSU’s contributions to the Strikeforce initiative, particularly our technical assistance to Gotcha Goat, and other ongoing collaborations with rural small enterprises,” said Dr. Govind Kannan, dean of FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology. Gotcha Goat Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a minority-owned business that markets goat meat products.
For more information about FVSU’s role in Strikeforce, contact Karla Martin, FVSU’s USDA 1890 Program liaison at (478) 825- 6298 or send an e-mail to Karla.Martin@osec.usda.gov.