Alcorn holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center

Disadvantaged farmers and ranchers across the nation officially have a place that will focus on improving their agricultural status

Alcorn's Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Thursday, Oct. 13 on the second floor of the Biotechnology Building.

The Center specializes in policy research impacting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The Center’s mission is to make policy recommendations that will improve the success of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers by implementing a transparent management structure that focuses on research, stakeholder engagement and outreach.

Alcorn President Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. recognized the event’s special guest and board members, including Lisa Mensah, under secretary for Rural Development with the United States Department of Agriculture. He applauded them for the direction they have envisioned for the Center.

"It's good to have good partners because none of us can do things by ourselves," said Rankins. “We rely on your guidance as we move forward in taking our Policy Research Center in the right direction.”

Congressman Bennie Thompson stressed the Center’s ability to offer minority farmers valuable information on public policy.

"This is a significant opportunity for Alcorn because you now have a place you can call about public policy,” said Thompson. “Public policy is the foundation by which you get things done. This is an exciting opportunity because it caters to the small farmers."

Kenya Nicholas, who represented the Office of Advocacy and Outreach for the United States Department of Agriculture, assured the audience that the USDA will make sure to disperse vital information pertaining to farmers and their livelihood.

"We don't want to leave anyone out because we're talking about people who farm for a living," said Nicholas. “Farming is a big part of their lives and if they miss out on information that can benefit their farms, then we wouldn’t be doing our jobs. So it is important that we keep everyone informed about the programs that we offer at the USDA.”

Eloise Speight, director of the Policy Research Center, shared some of the Center’s highlights.

“One of the first things we did was put together an advisory board that include representatives from other 1890 Universities. We have also prioritized our research areas for the next couple of years. Those areas are an analysis of current agricultural policies and indications on socially disadvantages farmers and ranchers. We have started our work in various areas.”

For more information about the Policy Center, contact Speight at [email protected] or (601) 877-6601.

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