Small Farm Incubator Center
The Small Farm Incubator Center is located in Preston, Mississippi. The Center has established in 1997 as a permanent teaching laboratory and educational training site for small and/or limited- resource farmers in surrounding counties who are wishing to farm but have limited farming experience.
The Center provides an opportunity for small farmers that are interested in the production of horticultural crops, livestock production (i.e. pasture poultry) and agro forestry to acquire hands-on training under the guidance of a horticulture or animal science specialist.
The purpose of the Center is to increase the number and success of limited-resource individual interested in becoming farmers, but who do not have land, and provide an opportunity to move them to an inventory farm.
Individuals selected to engage in the incubator program are required to participate in a comprehensive training program. The extent of the training will be based upon individuals’ past farming experiences. Selected farmers will be assigned an economic tract of land up to 3 acres of land based upon his/her labor and the personal interest, rent-free, for an extended period of time.
The program’s personnel work closely with each individual farmer in developing his/her production and marketing plan. The Center provides the farming equipment but the farmers are responsible for all their production supplies and implementing production practices under the supervision of the Center’s staff. During their training period, they will be evaluated annually. At the end of the three -or -five -year period, successful farmers will be given an opportunity to purchase a farm at a reasonable price.
The ultimate goals of the Small Farm Incubator Program are:
• Increase the number of small limited- resource farmers(minority) by making inventory farmland available a farm demonstration site to interested individuals who have demonstrated an interest in farming and to gain the knowledge and skills to produce alternative agriculture enterprises.
• To provide training to individuals who want to farm, but have limited or no experience in farming.
Sustainable Horticulture System Planned Program:
Research findings translated from various knowledge areas identified in the Joint Extension and Research Plan- of- Work will be demonstrated at the Small Incubator Center. The knowledge area of the planned program is as follows:
• Conduct educational session for small farmers on post- harvest handling and sanitation of horticultural crops, soil, plant, water and nutrient relationships, plant management systems, and weeds affecting plants.
• Provide training on marketing techniques/outlets.
Dr. Franklin Chukwuma – Horticulture Specialist
Rondall Hawkins- Specialist - Animal Science
Phil Luke - Farm Manager
Mamie Crosby - Program Assistant