Alcorn State, Miss. (June 7, 2013) - “Three Mississippi’s farmers recently graduated from the 2013 Small Farm Agricultural Leadership Institute,” said Anthony Reed, interim assistant extension administrator for Alcorn State University Extension Program, who serves as a Leadership Institute board member.
The ceremony was held in Washington, D.C. and the United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen A. Merrigan served as keynote speaker. Merrigan, working alongside USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA’s many programs and spearheads the $149 billion USDA budget process.
The graduates included farmers Dorothy Harper from Louisville, Marcus Feazelle from New Hebron, and Khiquita D. Young from Jackson.
“The Leadership Institute is a two-year course of study specifically designed to transform small, socially disadvantaged, limited resource and/or minority farmers into successful agricultural entrepreneurs,” stated Reed. “The goal is to promote the sustainability of small family farms through enhanced business management skills and leadership development.”
Any farmer, identified as either a minority, socially disadvantaged, or a limited-resource producer who either lives or farms in a state that has an 1890 institution, who has an interest in becoming a better leader or in developing leadership skills, qualifies to be admitted to a class.
According to Reed, the participants explored various seminar topics through group discussion, small and large group exercises, assessment tools, facilitator presentations, in-class exercises, pre-and post-seminar assignments, and participant-led discussions. The training seminars were designed as highly interactive, experiential learning workshops. The Institute's two-year course of study consists of training seminars, video lessons and study tours.
Pictured L to R: Dorothy Harper, Marcus Feazelle, Khiquita D. Young, and Anthony Reed.