July 30, 2012

Grambling State University, USDA, Others Host “Big Event”

Saturday business event includes budding entrepreneurs, community members

By Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, La – If you are dying to be in business, or in business and want to ramp up your prospects and success, you want to be at the first-ever Big Event at Grambling State University on Saturday (Aug. 4).

Carl N. Wright, dean of Grambling State’s College of Business, said the seminar is the first of its kind at the university and is believed to be the first of its kind in the area.  He said it was the idea of Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue that the university should host some kind of activity targeting business people generally, especially those who need to learn more about land management. In a short matter of time, he said that Trailblazer RC&D formed a committee, made up of USDA agencies, and launched this effort.

“These issues are important to all of us. They are bread and butter matters, business dealings that have an impact on things we do nearly every day,” said Wright. “Most of us just don’t think about it, unless and until we’re involved.”

“In so many cases underserved customers are not aware of the various assistance that is available through USDA so therefore they have had limited participation in the various programs,” said Dexter R. Sapp, a resource conservationist on the water resources staff of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Alexandria. “While NRCS has participated in Career Days/Job Fairs at various universities, including GSU, for a number of years, to my knowledge, this is the first time that an RC&D Council here in Louisiana has teamed up with a University and various USDA Agencies to conduct such an event.”

A featured general session will focus on “Mineral Rights: Oil and Gas Leasing Considerations,” examining how to value mineral rights, mineral rights contract negotiations, environmental impact and land value impact from the extraction of mineral deposits and other mineral rights considerations.

USDA defines its underserved customers as “individuals or groups who have not participated in or have received limited benefits from USDA programs.”

The event will be held on campus in the Favrot Student Union Black and Gold Room. The activity will start with a free breakfast and registration at 9 a.m., continuing with concurrent workshops at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. The program includes a free lunch for those who register in advance.
The organizers encourage anyone interested in attending, though the focus is on farmers, ranchers, landowners, community leaders, business leaders and entrepreneurs to register as soon as possible.

More specifically, Wright said among those who will benefit are those who want to go into business for themselves; community and business leaders wanting to know about funding sources for community projects; people who want to know about funding sources for single- and multi-family projects; forest landowners who need to know more about how to manage and market forest products; pasture landowners who want to know more about proper land management; homeowners who want to learn about water quality and best practices in average homes; property owners with issues involving feral or wild hogs and hunters who want to learn more about managing property with whitetail deer and turkey.

 The planning committee members feel that  students can benefit, too. “Students interested in going into business for themselves as opposed to working for someone will definitely benefit,” said Wright. “Our Entrepreneurial Forum during the Big Event can help them.

“They can also find out about possible funding sources through USDA Rural Development Programs and learn about opportunities they might not know exist. If nothing else, they can take the information back to parents and others and help their families and friends.”

 Sapp said participants will “gain awareness of what services are offered through USDA, which consists of agencies funded by their tax dollars.  The assistance provided by USDA is made available at no charge to the customer and many people do not realize this.”

“The committee hopes that once the participants become aware of the various services and programs that are provided by USDA and Trailblazer RC&D that they will contact the office in their parish and actually participate in some of our great programs.”

GSU’s Project EMERALD Director Obadiah Simmons has been working with Wright, Sapp and Ellzey Simmons, CEO of the Trailblazer Resource Conservation & Development Council in Ruston to coordinate the program. Other sponsors and supporters include USDA Rural Development, USDA’s Natural Resources, USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Grambling State University’s Office of Continuing Education, Ms Barbara McIntyre, President of the Grambling Chamber of Commerce, and Entergy.

To register and reserve a seat, or for more information, call the Trailblazer RC&D office at 318-255-3554 or email Simmons at esimmons@trailblazer.org. Also, see http://www.trailblazer.org/OAO_1.htm

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton


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