Where Knowledge and Character Matter ®

Keynote Speakers

J. Latrice Hill
National Outreach Director
Office of the Administrator
Farm Service Agency
U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington, DC 20250

J. Latrice Hill was selected to serve as the National Director of Outreach, for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in 2013. As Director, she establishes program outreach policy and maintains oversight of FSA outreach activities nationwide.

Hill began her federal career as a county office clerk with FSA (formerly Farmers Home Administration). She later served in the positions of loan officer and district outreach coordinator where she was responsible for determining feasibility, assessing financial situations and risks, approving and servicing borrower farm loan accounts for six counties. With a strong background in communications and passion for serving others, Hill was later selected to serve as the FSA State Public Relations and Outreach Specialist , overseeing outreach activities in 71 counties. While in MS, Hill was appointed by two US Secretaries of Agriculture to serve on the National Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers for three two-year terms.

Hill has received several awards and recognition for her collaborations and work with rural farmers, organizations and students. Notable accomplishments include the Emerson Congressional Hunger Center's Policy Leadership Award, Secretary's Award for work with local and regional food systems, Administrator's Team Award for Farm Bill Outreach and many others.

A native of Mississippi, Hill earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Belhaven University.
She maintains residences in Virginia and Mississippi.


Dr. Ellen W. Harris has over 29 years of service with the federal government. Presently, she is an Associate Area Director for the Southeast Area, Agricultural Research Service, USDA where she helps support and direct agricultural research programs in 8 states (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) and Puerto Rico. Before coming to Mississippi, Dr. Harris was the Director for the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, MD. She, also, has served as the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) Associate Director and the Research Leader for the BHNRC Community Nutrition Research Group. In 2010/2011, Dr. Harris completed a special assignment with the USAID Bureau for Food Security serving as a Senior Nutrition Advisor for the Collaborative Research Support Program conducted in Uganda and Nepal. She is a past recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship and taught nutrition at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, Zimbabwe. Prior to joining USDA in 1990, she taught as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Harris holds a doctorate in public health with an emphasis in public health nutrition and epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health.