A team of faculty, students and Extension staff from the College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems at Kentucky State University (KSU) participated in the 49th Southern Rural Sociology Association (SRSA) meeting in Jacksonville, Florida recently. Several KSU attendees presented research and Extension papers, poster presentations and received awards for their outstanding teaching, Extension and research papers. 

Dr. Marion Simon, professor and state specialist for small farm and part-time farmers at Kentucky State University, received an award as an appreciation of her service to the SRSA as President for the 2017-2018 term and for her outstanding contributions to the SRSA in previous years. She presented a presidential address titled “Sustainable Agriculture in the South: Rural Sociologists are a Critical Key.”
Dr. Buddhi Raj Gyawali, associate professor of geospatial technology and human dimensions of natural resources at Kentucky State, received the SRSA Excellence in Teaching award for his outstanding contribution in integrating environmental sociology to his geospatial courses, student experiential and thesis research and teaching pedagogy. Gyawali was also elected to the position of program chair-elect with a four-year commitment to the SRSA, which will transition him to the position of president of SRSA in 2022.
Cynthia Rice, a graduate student Gyawali in the Master of Environmental Science program at Kentucky State, received the Outstanding Student Paper award, which included a cash award. Rice also gave a presentation on the same topic as her paper, Food Security and the Small Farmer’s Place in Food Security.” Audience members applauded her research efforts and expected that her thesis results would contribute to develop innovative educational and outreach materials about food security and safety for Kentucky farmers.
Other research and poster presentations from Kentucky State participants included:
  • Community Perceptions on Surface Mining, Reclamation Impacts and Trust on Public Entities in the Eastern Kentucky (oral) – Dr. Budhi Raj Gyawali 
  • A Business Model for Small Scale Catfish Farming (oral) –Victoria Odesanmi, undergraduate business major
  • Motivation of Regrowth (oral) – Laura Rogers, Area Small Farm Extension Agent;  
  • Role of Building Resiliency of Small and Limited Resource Farmers (oral) –  Courtney Owens, second author
  • Developing Networks for Diversity (poster) – Edwin Chavous, Area Small Farm Extension Agent
  • Kentucky’s Local Food Systems – African American Beginning Farmers Are Taking a Lead Role (poster) – Tehran Jewell, Area Small Farm Extension Agent 
  • A Diversity of Farmers Have Built Networks Because of Pastured Poultry Enterprises (poster) – Steve Skelton, Mobile Processing Unit Manager
  • Farmers and Food Security Perceptions (poster) – Cynthia Rice