Alcorn’s Extension Program, School of Agriculture set to host the Small Farmers Conference

The Alcorn State University Extension Program, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives’ Center for Cooperative Development, will host its annual Small Farmers Conference Monday, March 26 through Wednesday, March 28 at the Natchez Convention Center in Natchez, Mississippi. 

This year’s event will focus on the theme, “Preserving Agriculture in the South: Innovating and Implementing Good Farming Practices.” The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. M. Ray McKinne, dean and 1890 Extension administrator for the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University.

According to Dr. Franklin Chukwuma, associate director for Extension, Alcorn State University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, “The Conference is designed for both beginning and experienced farmers and ranchers, and will provide them with the latest information and research while offering opportunities to interface with experts.”

Participants will be exposed to new and innovative farming strategies and will attend sessions on common issues, marketing, financial resources, opportunities for women in business and much more.

Featured sessions will include “A Chat on the River” with Cornelius Blanding, executive director for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Land Assistance Fund, and Jacqueline Davis-Slay, director of Public and Private Partnership, Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The event will also feature mobile learning sites at Alcorn State University’s Lorman campus, as well as at other local agricultural enterprises. An “Apollo on the Bluff” mixer will feature a networking experience with karaoke and cuisine.

A diversified group of stakeholders, state and federal professional service agencies, the University community, farmers and ranchers, women in business and various individuals from across the expanse of the agricultural industry will attend to spread their knowledge and expertise. According to Chukwuma, it’s all for a noble cause.

“Small farms are an important part of Mississippi’s economy. Through exposure to information, research and innovative strategies, this conference is poised to equip participants to develop, grow and sustain their agricultural enterprises.”

According to Gerald Jones, conference chair and director of County Operations for the Alcorn State University Extension Program, the event is on track to be a huge success.

“This year, we are expecting attendance to exceed 325 people, up from 250 last year.  We have received so many positive comments regarding this year's conference, particularly related to our engaging plenaries and breakout sessions, dynamic networking events, and new mobile learning sites. The speaker list is extensive, and each is qualified to add value to this noteworthy event.”

To learn more about the 2018 Small Farmers Conference, visit You may also contact Jones at (601) 857-0250 or [email protected]