Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center to Celebrate Two Years of Educating New and Beginning Farmers
By: Renita Lacy, staff writer
The Farm Management Educational Program (FMEP) for New, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Mississippi is a $600,000 federally funded grant by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). In 2018, Alcorn State University’s Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center (MSFAC) became a recipient of this grant with the aim to recruit, train, and provide at least 300 new, beginning farmers and ranchers in the state of Mississippi with the necessary resources to create a practical farm plan. The grant has since been used to accommodate the enhancement and sustainability of beginning farmers to ensure that they have access to land, educational materials, financial resources, and much more.
On Thursday, January 21, MSFAC will host its Year Two Wrap-Up Session at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. The event will demonstrate progress made in achieving the aforementioned objectives, as well as highlight and identify targets for the upcoming year. Dr. Cindy Ayers-Elliot, owner of Foot Print Farms in Jackson, MS, will serve as the event’s guest speaker.
Dr. Elizabeth Myles, associate director, MSFAC, expresses her satisfaction with the program’s success during its second year. She shares that although the news of the shutdown initially placed things on hold, she and her team didn’t lose hope in finding ways to assist those in need.
“As we began our Year 2 project activities, the Coronavirus shut everything down, and that was really scary for us,” said Myles. “But my staff and I continued to meet and formulate ideas from early April through May. By Mid-May, we had developed a plan to move all of our workshops and demonstrations to virtual formats. I must say that I am rather pleased with how things turned out,” she stated.
During the event, individuals can expect to receive insight on a variety of topics and issues faced by new and beginning farmers. Program participants and grant partners who have completed Year 2 program activities will also be in attendance to reflect and report on the year’s accomplishments, goals, and objectives.
The event is currently free and open to the public.