Alcorn State University Extension Program, in collaboration with the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, will host its 32nd Annual Small Farmers Conference from Monday, September 25, through Wednesday, September 27, at the Sheraton Refuge Hotel in Flowood, Miss.

The conference will provide a host of educational sessions and agriculture hands-on outdoor learning sites, including livestock and vegetable production. There will also be a “Women in Business” session that will spotlight women entrepreneurs in various enterprises.

“The primary goal of the conference is to provide educational resources that will assist farmers, landowners, and the general public to make informed decisions and to help them adapt within the ever-changing agriculture landscape, especially during this time of climate change,” said Gerald Jones, director for County Operations. “The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) state program leaders will be on the program to share information regarding the various programs and outreach assistance available for qualifying landowners.”

Linda Fondren, founder and executive director of Shape Up Mississippi, and DeShawn L. Blanding, congressional staffer for the United States House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, are the conference’s keynote speakers. Fondren is an accomplished real estate developer committed to community development and progress. As the founder and executive director of Shape Up Mississippi, she has demonstrated a passion for improving the public’s health, well-being, and quality of life. Blanding advises the Ranking Member and other congressional member offices, plans public hearings, drafts new legislation, and monitors the progress of current federal programs and policies. He leads on various issues for the Committee, including rural health and economic development, agricultural credit, civil rights and racial justice, local/regional food systems, specialty crops, organic and urban agriculture, and 1890 Land Grant Institutions.

This event also allows Alcorn and the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives staff to connect with new and beginning farmers and reconnect with the existing farmer clientele base. The collaborative environment is the foundation for knowledge exchange, networking, and professional growth.

For more information and registration details, visit the conference website at or contact Gerald Jones, Director of County Operations, at [email protected] or call 601.857.0250.