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WCSHC FIRST 40 DAYS OF 2017 Note of Appreciation Thanks for attending and participating in the first six Saving Rural America Conferences in 2017. We appreciate our partners; Covington County Self Help Project, Mid-South Progressive Agricultural Group, Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance, Scott County Small Farmers and Landowners Organization, Unlimited Agricultural Community Cooperative, and Wayne County SelfHelp Organization, Scott County Small Farmers and Landowners Organization for their hard work and dedication. So far, 2017’s SRAC conferences have engaged a total of 618 individuals. After the completion of SRAC’s schedule, the final number of participants will be disclosed. The state of Mississippi and its citizens encountered “old man winters attributes of rain, sleet, and snow.” These elements caused major havoc for driving conditions and additional day-to-day routines. Mississippi’s eighty-two counties received weather warnings causing schools, universities, and industries to dismiss classes and work early. Northwest Mississippi received the major blunt of this untimely weather causing subsistence farmers primary harm to their leafy crops. However, Mr. Robert Robinson of Brookhaven, MS said, “My collards will rebound and continue to produce, but my cabbages and turnip greens sustained damages from the freeze and highly unlikely to recover.” Per some legendary farmers, we need these types of weather conditions to help regulate and reduce feisty insects, which will hinder crop production in the summer.

The Winston County Self Help Cooperative’s 1st Business Session occurred on Monday, January 9, 2017, 3:45 pm at the Louisville Coliseum 201 Ivy Avenue Louisville, MS. WCSHC welcomed Gloria and Romack Smith with prayers and blessings. Gloria, we are praying for a speedy and healthy recovery. Per Frank Taylor, “You and I share something in common, and I know from my personal experiences, with God’s grace you will move forward with your life.” WCSHC Team Leader Frank Taylor asked members to arrive in advance to allocate time for a presenter, and members yielded to the request. Frank called the meeting to order at 2:50 pm and showered members with an appreciation for their commitment to getting it done. Taylor elaborated at length about new leadership Continued on page 2

WINSTON COUNTY SELF HELP COOPERATIVE P.O. Box 774 • Louisville, MS 39339 Phone: 601-291-2704 • Email: fltaylor@bellsouth.net • Web: www.wcshc.com “Saving Rural America”


Continued from page 1 at USDA and how it will impact WCSHC and rural Americans. Over the past seven years, farmers experienced the highest growth in farm income, an increase in home ownership through Rural Development’s housing programs, and an upturn in small farmers receiving conservation payments. Taylor speculated who would receive the nod for Secretary of Agriculture. We should be highly concern of a potential trade war with China, Russia, Mexico and other allied countries. These countries consume over seventy percent of America’s value added products. Notes of reminders-Livestock Forage Program (LFP): LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover,or that is planted specifically for grazing. Sign up deadline for LFP is January 30, 2017. 2/28/2017 Closing Date to sign up for NAP cover for corn, cotton, okra, peanuts, peas, pumpkins, rice, sesame, sorghum, soybeans, sugarcane, and sweet potatoes. Visit your local Farm Service Agency to sign up NAP. January 13, 2017, WCSHC members purchased a mixer of feed in bulk from the Neshoba Gin in Philadelphia, MS. Allen McReynolds and Alonzo Miller led this collective effort, which helped members save on feed cost. Latrice Todman facilitated a getting healthy session at Kroger in Starkville MS on January 22, 2017. On January 23, 2017, Columbus McReyonlds expanded his shiitake mushroom operation with the support of Alcorn State University Extension Program’s Dr. Frank Rema. Columbus and friends prepared a total of 500 logs for inoculation under the guided eyes of Dr. Frank. Columbus selected trees in advance from his forest to be used for the inoculation process. Columbus said, “The ideal size of a log for inoculation should be at least three inches in diameter.” He sawed logs into three feet units and placed logs in a workable area. Columbus friends divided themselves into two groups. Columbus started the arduous process of drilling holes in three-inch spaces. Another crew injected logs with mushroom spores. January 24, 2017, Alonzo Miller led a team of members and friends to repair cooperative pasture located in the Bethel community east of Louisville, MS. WCSHC will use pasture for weaning purposes. This venture will benefit the co-op with passing on higher quality heifers. According to Alonzo, this will allow the co-op to provide a

quality regiment of feed to produce uniform heifers for the next family. Also, this process will assist individuals with limited grazing space. Additionally, we will continue hay production on about 20 acres. On January 25, 2017, Latrice Todman presented to the residents of the Community Counseling Center on S. Church ST, Louisville, MS on how to eat healthy on a budget. The residents


asked a plethora questions to help stretch their weekly $40 budget. Alonzo Miller relocated two heifers into the pasture from co-op members Rosie Harris on January 31, 2017. Allen McReynolds organized a conference call on Tuesday, January 31, 2017-attendees Dr. Peyton, Latrice Todman and Frank Taylor. They discussed organizing a seminar for cattleman in late spring.

WCSHC’s 2nd 2017 Business Session Report

SCSFLO First SRAC By Frank Taylor Email: fltaylor@bellsouth.net

On January 19, 2017, more than forty individuals braved tornado like weather conditions, to kick-off the 2017’s Saving Rural America Conference Schedule. Scott County Small Farmers and Landowners Organization’s (SCSFLO) hosted their first Saving Rural America Conference at Little Rock M. B. Baptist Church in Forest, MS. Sherrie Spivey, Scott County Small Farmers and Landowners Organization member said, “This conference will help enlighten our members and friends about opportunities in rural America through a collective effort”. SCSFLO’s maiden assembly started approximately at 7:50 am with T’arie Todman, WCSHC introducing Thomas Brewer, Jefferson County CED. Thomas engaged participants with thoughtful reflections of leaving their house in order. Thomas said,“You

will need a mechanism to pass on assets after your demise. Therefore, you can save family relationships and eliminate headaches by developing a will or a device, to pass on your assets”.This session drew an enormous amount of interesting questions from the audience. Allen Crosswhite of Rural Development discussed rural housing program 502 and 504. Allen said, “Our 504 program provides loans and grants for families to eliminate health issues/injuries such as unstable floors and leaky roofs”. Hope Collins of the Scott County’s Natural Resources Conservation Service office conveyed the need for individuals to complete conservation plans to fortify their ranking opportunities in 2017. Allen Curry, NRCS Area-two, Soil Scientist offered a variety of services to help people understand their soil production and how to enhance soil fertility. Jason Hurdle of Scott County’s Extension Service Office explained a myriad

of moneymaking opportunities to create income from the natural resources. The Craft Family of Smith County, MS said, “We enjoyed Thomas Brewer’s session on heir property. This one matter continues to hamstring families from receiving services through USDA. Therefore, we will request assistance from WCSHC to orchestrate an outreach meeting in Raleigh, MS within the next 90 days”.This groundbreaking conference ended with words of thanks from SCSFLO member Greg Nicks and Frank Taylor of WCSHC.

WCSH Youth Group 10th SRAC By Jean Harper Email: JeanH29@bellsouth.net

Winston County Self Help Youth Group celebrated their 10th Saving Rural America Conference on January 20, 2017 at the Louisville Coliseum in Louisville, MS. This year’s conference featured a partnership between the Louisville Public Schools System and the WCSH Youth Group. This partnership allowed 231 students consisting of 11th and 12th graders to participate in this informative and educational conference according to Jean Harper, WCSHC Youth Director. Jean said we are planting seeds and looking forward to a successful harvest of new farmers. This venue provided students a medium to engage with service providers and asked questions about possible involvement in agriculture careers. The 2017 conference opened with a prayer from Rev. Lee Mark

Taylor. Jean Harper audibled warn words of welcome and detailed instruction for attendees to bunch in groups of twelve. Students visited with the following resource providers/agencies, Farm Service AgencyDoug Naron & Billy Lipsey, Natural Resources Conservation Service-Brad Fouche & Delany Johnson, Leslie Burger-PHD Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Darrell Banks-MS State Extension Agent, Manola Erby-Youth Specialist, Alcorn State University, Dow Thomas-Renasant Bank, Gidget Mills, BancropSouth Bank and Dennis Murray of Youth Development &Capacity Building Inc.We added a new caveat to this year conference called a Taste of Winston County according to Sandra Jackson, Winston County 4-H Program Associate. We prepared local grown turnip and collard greens to be tasted with the hope of identify new customers for local producers. No doubt, the smell of greens,

sweet potatoes pies and corn drew interest from students and adults. One student said “this reminds me of my grandmother kitchen and this food is delicious.” Winston County Self Help Cooperative is asking schools, churches, groups and families to purchase local grown food to help spur economic growth in Winston County. 2017 conference ended with words of encouragement form WCSHC foundering members Mary Hannah and Youth Director Jean Harper.

WCSHC’s 2nd 2017 Business Session Report


UCAC 2nd SRAC By T’arie Todman Email: tarieltwcshc@gmail.com

At the beginning of each year Saving Rural America Conferences are pinned as seminars that equip and propel individuals with vital information and tools across Mississippi, to help save rural America. On Friday, January 20, 2017, at 12 pm, the Unlimited Community Agricultural Cooperative (UCAC) hosted their second SRAC at BJ3 Center in Starkville, MS. For some participants, this event was their second SRAC for the day, while others used their lunch break or paid time off to be a part of this epic event. A delicious lunch consisting of goat meat (chevon) (prepared by one of the speakers Thomas Legiandenyi), fried fish and chicken, fries, Subway sandwiches, beans, and coleslaw was awaiting attendants to consume on their arrival. Orlando Trainer, President of UCAC, started the session with the purpose of the event followed by several speakers from different organizations. Thomas Brooks, Rural Development, expounded on who is eligible for 502 direct/guarantee home loans and 504 housing grant/loans. Fran Brock, MS State Extension agent-3,discussed 4H opportunities

for youth to be involved. Additionally, she shared an array of courses facilitated by her to the community such as health and wellness. Dr. Thomas Legiandenyi, MS State Extension agent-3 shared his expertise on the importance of knowing your soil to determine what vegetables would thrive on your land. Esmeralda Dickinson, MS State Statistician, NASS took the audience to church by having each participant look at their neighbor and say “It is Census time”! She explained, not completing the census could significantly impact MS farmers financially in the event of natural disaster, drought, etc. Between 2008 and 2012 the percentage of reported farmers dropped significantly. Esmeralda concluded with a plea to please be cooperative to individuals who are working to collect vital census information via phone, mail, or in person. Doug Naron, Farm Service Agency, talked extensively about microloan eligibility requirements. Also, he shared accounts on how to strategically plan to borrow money via FSA. Orlando Ellerby, Mississippi Forestry Commissioner, shared the importance of having a forestry plan. Forestry management planning could prevent fires, improve

growth of trees, enhance individuals’ profit, etc. Wallace Cade, NRCS shared the ranking process for Environmental Quality Incentive Program and encouraged each participant to visit their local USDA office. Linda Stephens of WCSHC shared the medicinal benefits of Shiitake mushrooms. Furthermore, she solicited the audience to start growing shiitake mushrooms for additional income. The workshop concluded with Orlando Trainer sharing words of gratitude and good health.

MMFA 3rd SRAC By T’arie Todman Email: tarieltwcshc@gmail.com

A severe thunderstorm had seized the state of MS in the early, early morning of January 21, 2017. As series of lighting strike struck Earth, the sounds of thunder followed each strike. The sounds were so loud that it caused the earth to rumble. Perhaps many individuals thought surely Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance (MMFA) group would cancel their third annual Save Rural America Conference event. Faint not, MMFA consists of veteran farmers who have adapted to severe weather situations, that said, the event was held at MMFA’s Market Building in Okolona, MS. Carolyn Jones, Director of MMFA, promptly began the session at 8 am with the event’s purpose. Ms. Jones shared a beautiful opening that charged the participants to be helpful to their communities. Her opening statement resonated through the minds of the members and attendees during the

entire meeting. Cliff Parker, AgRAEIS/USDA presented on the need for crop insurance in case of natural disaster, drought, etc. Esmeralda Dickinson, State Statistician, NASS conveyed to the audience the significance of completing 2017’s census. After her presentation, a concerned farmer raised a question, “How can completing the census assist me?’ Frank Taylor, asked for permission to answer the question. Frank asked, by a show of hands how many individuals have received financial assistance through USDA. Many people across the room signaled they were recipients of funding. Frank concluded, sir this is how completing the census will help individuals like yourself. If you were in the room, one would quickly realize MMFA’s SRAC was well represented by 1890s universities, Alcorn State and Tuskegee University. These land grant institutions have done and are doing an outstanding job assisting our rural communities to thrive. Tuskegee University’s Dean of Agriculture, Dr.


Walter Hill shared how at first, he wasn’t sure why he was present at the event but after hearing the opening remarks, understood his existence in the room. Dr. Hill recapped the necessity of being relevant to others. Dr. Hill and Miles Robinson shared highlights of Tuskegee Research Center in Selma, AL. Dr. Elizabeth Myles, Marketing Specialist, Alcorn State, recounted her personal account growing up on the family farm and how grateful, she was to her father for instilling MMFA 3rd SRAC Continued on page 5

WCSHC’s 2nd 2017 Business Session Report

MMFA 3rd SRAC Continued from page 4 strong work ethics. Dr. Myles also shared her role in assisting farmers to market their products for sale. David Watkins, Up in Farms Food Hub, discussed how he and his organization could help farmer’s sale their products. Joshua Lundy, FSA, County Executive Director of Chickasaw County shared NRCS ranking system and Farm Service Agency’s eligibility requirements. Jim Church, Commercial Loan Officer, Hope Credit Union, highlighted their origins and their desire to assist the needs of small farmers and landowners. Sean Suggs, VP of Manufacturing, Toyota Plant, Blue Spring, MS discussed Toyota’s desire to help save rural America through job opportunities and community grants. Cassandra Wilder, Policy Research Analyst, SDFR Policy Research introduced Eloise Speight, Director of the Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University. Also, Cassandra recanted the words of Esmeralda to complete 2017’s census forms, which will assist her significantly at the

policy center. Eloise gave a detailed account of the origins and purpose of the research center located on Alcorn State Campus. The policy center mission is to make policy recommendations that will improve the success of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Attorney Bennie Jones highlighted the necessity of leaving a clearly defined will for your loved ones to adhere. Mr. Jones recounted many scenarios he had encountered over the years. Establishing a legal document before your demise is the best course of action to prevent unnecessary legal cost and family disputes. Frank Taylor received a humanitarian award for his unending passion and selfless dedication to saving rural America. At first, Frank was at a loss for words, but after a few minutes he gathered himself and expressed his memories growing up in MS and his commitment to getting it done. Additionally, MMFA recognized their veterans who proudly served their country and now their communities. Ms. Jones closed the program with heartfelt words, followed by a delicious and healthy lunch.

Jones County 1st SRAC

By Frank Taylor Email: fltaylor@bellsouth.net

The Winston County Self Help Cooperative and friends invaded the Free State of Jones on February 1-2, 2017, to propel and set assail potential farmers’ dreams of creating income from their natural resources through sustainable management practices. This Calvary of farmers’ descended into Jones County on Wednesday with reconnaissance team-one searching for needed supplies and ammunition. This team comprised of Shirley Gladney, Bobby Hardin, and Leon Stephen. These unsuspecting team members located a wealth of supplies at the local Wal-Mart

in Laurel, MS. Team two composed of Mary Hannah, Rosie Harris, Jean Harper and Lorine Gladney. This unit marshaled at the campsite and prepared conference attendee’s bags with weaponry of materials, to help individuals structure successful farm entities. After each team had completed their task, they reassembled and enjoyed a fulfilling meal with the night’s resting location in sight. As darkness started rotating into daylight on Thursday morning, WCSHC’s Calvary gathered in the mess hall for breakfast. After consumption they mounted up and traveled over to the Currie Community Center in Ellisville, MS for Jones County 1st Saving Rural America Conference. WCSHC appreciates District Five employee Roland for opening facility’s doors to ensure an early start and a timely finish. As the clock hands settled on 7:45 am Frank Taylor, WCSHC Team Leader, bellowed greetings and began introducing visitors. Taylor requested local businessman Grover Nicholson, to speak about his previous experiences as a swine producer. Grover said, “hogs will eat you out of house and home”. Both Taylor and Nicholson graduated from Kentucky State University in different decades but share a common interest in

managing their natural resources. This exchange continued with retired educator Lewis Goins sharing his insights about loving the land and learning how to master USDA’s NRCS practices to enhance his profitability. Lewis said, “These kinds of venues offer land practitioners an opportunity to ask pertinent questions to service providers and obtain relevant information. Also, you can develop lifelong friendships with individuals from other areas of the state, who shares similar aspirations.” At this point, the conference officially opened with an uplifting prayer from Audic McCormick, a local cattle farmer. Ryan Collins, NRCS, Soil Conservationist extended warm words of welcome to more than forty attendees. The following individuals presented on behalf of their agencies/organizations; FSA-Randy Saxon, RD-Dave Geary, MFC-Orlando Ellerby and WCSHC-Linda Stephen. Additionally, we welcomed two new presenters, Jamie Keith and Amadou Diop. Jamie serves as NRCS, Supervisory District Conservationist for Jones, Wayne, and Greene Counties, located in southeast Mississippi. She delivered an engaging and educational presentation on NRCS practices. Jamie stated, “We will work

WCSHC’s 2nd 2017 Business Session Report

Jones County 1st SRAC Continued on page 6


Jones County 1st SRAC Continued from page 5 diligently on behalf of NRCS, and we look forward to working with other farmers in the fields to find and resolve their conservation needs. Amadou Diop, U. S. Forest Service, Outreach Liaison for Region-8 elaborated about their services. “We partner with other agencies to deliver services to landowners, and we primarily manage 192 million acres of national forests and grasslands. The U. S. Forest Service helps identify invasive species and provide financial and technical support to eliminate problems”. Amadou and WCSHC’s relationship expands over eighteen years per Mary Hannah. According to Mary, “Amadou has provided WCSHC with technical support and leadership with our forestland issues, and we appreciate his efforts, to stay connected with private landowners.” Jones County 1st SRAC ended with Frank Taylor presenting Lewis Goins with WCSHC’s Saving Rural America Certificate for his support in organizing this conference.

MSPAG Celebrated 4th SRAC By Revelyn Coleman Email: rgipcoleman@yahoo.com

Mid South Progressive Agricultural Group’s 4th SRAC was held on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at David Beckley Conference Center in Holly Springs. Following registration and breakfast, conference participants were provided valuable information from a variety of presenters. Presenters from FSA, NRCS, MSU Extension, and MFC focused on the programs and services that participants would find beneficial. Their presentations generated a lot of interest, judging by the amount of and scope of questions from participants. Farming operations included the requisite hoop house production and the marketing edge of produce being available for sale weeks earlier than conventional methods. Livestock productions, beekeeping, herbs and shiitake mushrooms were two new farming presentations that were added this year, and were well received by participants. During the Healthy living segment, the presenter had participants to perform a simple stretch routing and then talked about simple practices that can begin healthy living practices. The conference closed with a ministry of singing, words

of encouragement from WCSHC and a delicious lunch. During lunch, the attendees networked not only with the presenters but also with each other. Those presents were encouraged to “LIKE” us on Facebook, Mid South Progressive Agricultural Group, and where they will find postings about upcoming events and topics of interests to farmers. The members of MSPAG want to


thank the presenters, Rust College Cafeteria Staff and the staff of the David Beckley Conference Center, and participants for contributing to the resounding success of our 4th SRAC. Extra special thanks to our sponsor WCSHC for conceiving and implementing the conference, and MSPAG is grateful that to WCSHC for bringing the conference to the farmers.

WCSHC’s 2nd 2017 Business Session Report




WCSHC’s 2nd 2017 Business Session Report



Editor: WCSHC Team Leader Frank Taylor | Email: fltaylor@bellsouth.net | Phone: 601-291-2704 Layout and Design: Marqueus Draper

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WCSHC 2nd 2017 Business Session Report - February 2017  

WCSHC 2nd 2017 Business Session Report - February 2017