Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) is collaborating with fellow 1890 Land Grant Universities in a project to help stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
The grant is titled "Reducing the Impact of SARS-Cov-2 and Related Disruptions on the Local Food Supply Chain in Minority Communities in the 1890 Land-Grant Regional Network." The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funds this $1 million project through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program. The grant is funded from November 2020 to November 2021.
The goal of the grant is to reduce and diminish the infection rate of COVID-19 involving small-scale, limited resource minority farms, food processors and food service business serviced by 1890 Land Grant Universities.
FVSU’s role in the project is to produce and develop a series of instructional videos and webinars about properly processing beef cattle, goats and sheep. FVSU will also produce a video about record keeping.
“Once we get the videos made, we will circulate them to the other 1890 universities,” said Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., FVSU Extension administrator, who is also a co-project investigator (PI) for the grant. The FVSU Extension administrator also said the grant will cover FVSU’s costs with video and webinar production, personnel and instructional materials.
Furthermore, Latimore said it was important for FVSU to participate in the project due to personnel with expertise in record keeping and meat production. “We found it necessary to contribute because of the challenges which small and limited resource farmers, primarily African-American, are facing. We have expertise that really works for us, and we wanted to share it with others across the 1890 system,” Latimore said.
The grant is also providing resources for training more than 200 1890 Extension educators. They will teach more than 1,000 producers, 3,000 farmworkers and 500 farmers markets, food processors and hubs about proper hygiene and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about the grant, contact Latimore at (478) 825-6269 (firstname.lastname@example.org)