Hub City hosts 31st Annual Small Farmers Conference

Farmers from Mississippi and surrounding states gathered in the Hub City to learn about the resources and information they needed to improve their farms.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - On Monday, farmers from Mississippi and surrounding states gathered in the Hub City to learn about the resources and information they need to improve their farms at the 31st Annual Mississippi Association of Cooperatives Small Farmers Conference.

“Right now in Mississippi, more than ever, we want to continue to advance, to create new farmers to take care of the land we have, not just to grow trees but to grow farmers harvesting trees,” said Cindy Ayers Elliott, a farmer at Foot Print Farms.

During the conference, farmers can learn about the educational programs that are available to learn about the changing agriculture landscape.

“Number one, we live in a rural state, and therefore, a lot of times, our small farmers are reluctant to go into the county offices and apply for those services,” said Gerald Jones, director of county operation at the Alcorn State University Extension Program. “So coming to a conference like this, where we’ll bring all the experts together, allows them to interact one-on-one and face-to-face.”

Jones said to help with the hurdles farmers face, attendees also had the opportunity to apply for funding through various USDA programs.

“There have been past struggles due to the pandemic,” said Elliott. “There are a lot of resources that they would normally qualify for have been limited. We have food deserts where grocery stores are not in their locations, in their hometown, and that becomes an issue in terms of eating quality healthy food.”

Elliott, who farms on 68 acres in Jackson, said conferences like today help solve landowners’ daily problems.

“The great thing about struggles is being able to get past those, so there are still a lot of barriers that we have to deal with, but it’s nothing we can’t handle or overcome,” said Elliott. “Right now, of course, in the city of Jackson, we had major problems with our water system, and we still have problems with our water systems. But yes, as a farmer, water is important to me as land is important to me.”

The Small Farmers Conference will run until Wednesday, Sept. 21st.

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