by Frank Taylor
As Thursday morning approach, Eastern Mississippi Small Farmers Field Day seemed in jeopardy due to rain clouds hovering from above and with an 80 percent chance of precipitation predicted. These odds would cause most organizations to cancel a plan event because of the ominous weather forecast.
However, the Millers and Winston County Self Help Cooperative members maneuvered forward with an undeterred spirit to educate farmers and landowners. This Flagship Field Day underscored relationships, partnerships and continuity to build a profitable farm enterprise through dedication and prayer.
Alonzo and Peggy Miller’s (AM-PM Vegetables and Beef Farm) hosted Eastern Mississippi Small Farmers Field Day in conjunction with Winston County Self Help Cooperative on Thursday May 29, 2014. AM-PM Vegetables and Beef Farm located on 72 acres of modest roll hills in the New Zion Community, 5020 Highpoint-Weir Road, Louisville, MS. you can classify the Millers in two categories, returning and Beginning Farmers. However, this formidable unit has created a winning formula to generate income from their natural resources.
Field Day Activities started at the designated time of 9:00a.m. The Millers offered two rotating learning sites for participants to observe and ask questions about their implementation processes. Peggy enthralled and engaged partakers with an informative presentation on High Tunnel System. “This System allows farmers to extend their growing season in Mississippi on an average of 40 days. High Tunnels and Green Houses are structured comparable with one distinct different, control of the inside environment. The High Tunnel System uses plastic to retain heat produced through natural sunlight. You can roll the sides up or down to maintain a healthy environment for plants growth. We transplanted a variety of peppers and tomatoes plants in mid February and today, you can witness the results of using this system. The High Tunnel System is a National Initiative of Natural Resources Conservation Service. “As a Beginning Farmer, I will urge interested individuals to seek assistance through Community Based Organizations, extension and UDSA before starting your farm enterprises to avoid costly mistakes”. NRCS Staff Lindsey Singleton, Penny Barrier, Janerio Smith and Kelvin Jackson assisted with this presentation. Alonzo’s Seminar focused on Cattle Production through the use of NRCS’s Conservation Practices. We applied and received numerous services through NRCS’ Environmental Incentive Quality Program (EQIP) to enhance our Cattle Operations which included Cross Fences, ponds and other forms of pasture improvements. We used Cross Fence to develop eight individual grazing paddocks. This process allows rotation of cattle and prevents over grazing of pasture’s forages with limited acres. We will continue to revise our Conservation Plan as needed through Technical Assistance from our local office of USDA. NRCS personnel Jerry Orr and Dwight Jackson assisted with this ensemble presentation.
Kelvin Jackson summarized the 2014’s Farm Bill with various insider tips for small farmers in Eastern Mississippi. Jackson said “if you would like to obtain services through our agency, then, you will need to supply a copy of your Land Deeds or legal documentation to Farm Service Agency. This will illustrate your capacity to make managerial decisions for proposed property. Farm Service Agency will allocate a Tract and Farm Number as proof of registration. Under NRCS’s umbrella, we can provide assistance with an abundant of conservation needs; however, we need landowners and farmers to consider their long-term objectives in advance. NRCS is here to help preserve Rural America by providing families, farmers, landowners, and Natural Resources enthusiasts by dispensing competent advice and information to make decisions with clarity”. Services are determined by resources concerns and a Ranking System. Wilson Murray of NRCS encouraged participants to engage in Succession Planning which will help expedite the process of obtaining services. Doug Naron of Farm Service Agency elaborated on Micro, Farm Ownership and Youth Loans accessibility. Billy Lipsey, Winston County, Farm Service Agency, CED informed individuals of Emergency Programs in place to assist farmers affected by April 28, 2014’s tornado. Individuals should visit the Winston County Office or Farm Service Agency to apply for services.
Eastern Mississippi Small Farmers Field Day concluded with two special caveats. Winston County Self Help Cooperative’s conducted its 6th Business Session of 2014. This session covered an expansive range of details in preparing members with marketing of produce, Property Tax Sale and preparations to plant Fall Forages. WCSHC articulated thanks to Judi Craddock and Dawn Brace of NRCS for their participation. WCSHC & participants expressed gratitude to Sharrone Cooper Team for preparing and serving a Magnificent Meal which included fish, hamburgers, hot dogs and coleslaw. Again, thanks and we will see you along the way in Rural America.
You can contact AM-PM Vegetables and Beef Farm’s
Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Address: 5020 Highpoint Weir Rd, Louisville, MS 39339.
Phone: 662-705-1217 or 662-705-1257