Alcorn State University to host 2013 Small Farmers Conference in the Delta

Alcorn State University to host 2013 Small Farmers Conference in the Delta

Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) announces that its 22nd Small Farmers Conference will be held March 25-27, 2013, at Harlow’s Conference Center and Resort in Greenville, Mississippi. The conference is co-sponsored by ASUEP and the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC).

“The purpose of our Small Farmers Conference is to assist small and limited-resource farmers whose issues are different from their larger counterparts. They need assistance with sustainability, financing, and marketing of their products,” shared Anthony Reed, ASUEP interim assistant extension administrator and conference co-chair. “This venue is also needed to provide USDA an opportunity to remind farmers and introduce to others programs and services available to them to meet various challenges and to encourage new producers into agriculture. However, the biggest need for this conference is to make sure small farmers are aware of the latest information, programs and services that will enable them to make sound, research-based business decisions.”

Conference highlights will include an educational road tour to the Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center (aka ARS Building) in Stoneville, Mississippi.

“The Center’s scientists will provide conference participants with valuable information on cutting-edge research in the area of catfish genetics, cotton ginning and biological pest control,” said Gerald Jones, ASUEP regional coordinator, Capital River Region. “The participants will also visit Alcorn State’s Vegetable Processing Facility in Marks, Mississippi, and the Demonstration and Technology Transfer Facility in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, to learn about value-added marketing and best management practices for crop production.”

Mr. Reed stated, “Through concurrent educational sessions led by industry experts and noted researchers, the annual Alcorn Small Farmers Conference informs attendees about groundbreaking research and provides access to educational support in the areas of operating sustainable and profitable enterprises, integrating cost-effective methods to meet state regulations, and applying the latest research to real-world problems.”

In addition, a “Women in Business Awards Ceremony” will be held where over 30 vendors and exhibitors will showcase their products for farmers and women entrepreneurs.

Mr. Reed said, “The conference aims to facilitate solutions-based collaboration by encouraging networking and an open dialogue among small scale alternative and traditional farming enterprises. Farmers will also be provided with up-to-date, research-based, in-depth educational information on a number of different enterprises that are low input cost and a greater return on the back end. Additionally, the conference is an excellent vehicle for increasing awareness of Mississippi’s locally grown products, access to local, state and national vendors that support small farms industry, and an open opportunity to talk one-on-one with USDA officials about small scale farming and their support to the farming industry.”
He added, “Attendees will participate in workshops, hands-on demonstrations, and organized networking activities, enabling them to share experiences while interacting with their peers from all over the state.”

To register for the conference, please visit or contact Anthony Reed at 601.877.2305, the ASUEP at 601.877.6128, or call toll free 877.427.9536.