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ASU begins construction of product development center

alcorn-stateLORMAN — Alcorn State University is adding a new facility on the main campus.

Alcorn’s School of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences (AREAS) began the construction of its product development center, which will provide support, guidance and equipment for developing the ideas of some of Mississippi’s most creative minds. The upcoming facility will be used to cultivate the products of both the university and the surrounding communities, preparing them for mass production and launching into the public eye.

The center will be located near the university’s entrance at the site of the old biotechnology lab. The tentative date for the center’s opening is January 2015.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the center will collaborate with the Natchez Farmers Market, which will serve as the site of a new kitchen incubator facility. The incubator, a prerequisite to the product development center, will serve as a product laboratory allowing the university to assist the creator in perfecting his or her design and presentation.

Dr. Barry L. Bequette, who is the dean and director of land-grant programs in the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences, expects the center to serve two main purposes.

“The first is to produce Alcorn brand products, such as its famous hot sauce, soynut cookies, various jams and jellies, among other products. The second is to assist individuals and small businesses in value-added production,” said Bequette.

The center will serve individuals in the state of Mississippi with a valuable, marketable idea and will provide guidance in formulating business plans, record keeping and more.

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