Alcorn State University serves as the lead institution for the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center and collaborates with other 1890 and 1862 land-grant universities in research proposals and policy development. Also, Alcorn State University collaborates with private non-governmental organizations on research, policy development, and funding to implement actionable items for the success of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
The 19 historically black land-grant universities are located in 18 states as follows: Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University (Alabama); University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Arkansas); Delaware State University (Delaware); Florida A&M University (Florida); Fort Valley State University (Georgia); Kentucky State University (Kentucky); Southern University and A&M College (Louisiana); University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (Maryland); Alcorn State University (Mississippi); Lincoln University (Missouri); North Carolina A&T State University (North Carolina); Central State University (Ohio); Langston University (Oklahoma); South Carolina State University (South Carolina); Tennessee State University (Tennessee); Prairie View A&M University (Texas); West Virginia State (West Virginia); and Virginia State University (Virginia).
The president of Alcorn State University and the Director of the Policy Research Center identified national agriculture leaders to serve as members of an advisory board. The advisory board, chaired by Dr. Alfred Rankins. Jr., president of Alcorn State University, consists of 20 members that include representation from the socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers community, Community Based Organizations, 1890 Land-Grant universities, 1862 Land Grant universities, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers farm organizations, agriculture business and other agricultural leaders with a history of working with socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The purpose of the advisory board is to assist the Policy Research Center in center effectiveness focusing on the three areas of active research, stakeholder engagement, and outreach.
The Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University use the outreach component to disseminate research findings and to continue to gain perceptual data from stakeholder. Outreach strategies include publications, educational materials, reading/resource rooms, and presentations at national conferences, growers meetings, and field days. Success in this area is measured by the amount of educational and training materials compiled, the number of educational and training sessions held and the attendance rates, the number of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and their associations and organizations served, and perceptual data from farmers.
July 18, 2016 – Winston County Self Help Cooperative
The Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center collaborated with the Winston County Self Help Cooperative in Louisville, Mississippi. The purpose of this awareness meeting was to introduce the Policy Research Center, as well as to create a dialogue about important issues that socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers are encountering. During this session, valuable data was collected, and this data will be analyzed to determine reoccurring themes. Ms. Eloris Speight and Ms. Cassandra Wilder represented the Policy Center at this outreach meeting.
August 2, 2016 – Alcorn State University Extension Program
Eloris Speight and Cassandra Wilder from the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center traveled to the Alcorn State University Extension/Research Farm and Technology Transfer Center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. At this outreach meeting, attendees were informed about the Policy Center and its purpose. Additionally, attendees participated in round-table discussions, which allowed the opportunity for data collection.
August 4, 2016- Agromen Inc. Youth Center
Louisiana farmers and ranchers were exposed to the purpose and mission of the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center. Attendees engaged in an awareness meeting at the Agromen Inc. Youth Center, which was located in Opelousas, Louisiana, outside of Baton Rouge. The awareness session, entitled “A Conversation between Louisiana’s USDA Agencies and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers,” provided an opportunity for Eloris Speight and Cassandra Wilder to share information about the policy center, as well as gather useful qualitative data.