The NCAT Gulf States Regional Office has been busy, busy, busy this spring — performing outreach to individuals and groups in the region, working on teaching basics of sustainable agriculture, and reaching out to new audiences.
Photo: NCAT Gulf States Ag Specialist Felicia Bell speaks to an eager audience on the ABCs of Organic Gardening at the Alcorn State University Small Farmers Conference in Jackson, MS, March 25, 2014. (Photo: Jim Ewing, NCAT)
Among the office's activities since our last Dirt edition:
Ag Specialist Felicia Bell...
...was a featured speaker at the 23rd annual Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) Small Farmers Conference March 24-26 at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss. She spoke on the ABCs of Organic Gardening.
Felicia also gave a presentation on Planting and Planning Your Garden at the NCAT Gulf States Office March 12, which was followed by a field day at Tougaloo-Rainbow Gardens located on the Tougaloo College campus. Both events were in collaboration with Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi's Central Chapter. She also attended and provided information on sustainable practices at the Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference in April.
Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods...
...and Felicia attended the National Women in Agriculture Association's 4th Annual New Generation Symposium, April 24-26 in Atlanta, providing information and expertise in sustainable agriculture. The Gulf States office is committed to supporting women, minorities, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers in the region. Rockiell, who holds a master's degree in agricultural economics, also spoke about farm economics for new and beginning farmers of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Choctaw, Miss., April 3.
Outreach Coordinator Jim Ewing...
...spoke on natural beekeeping and creating an edible forest on a permaculture model March 26 at the University of West Alabama. He also provided information and expertise on sustainable agriculture at the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi 2014 Sustainable Living Conference April 4-6 in Meridian, Miss.
Jim also aided in grant-writing tutorials in New Orleans and Alexandria, La., May 11-14, in collaboration with the USDA's Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program. And he met with the chancellors and vice chancellors of Southern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University, along with SSARE officials, to discuss sustainable agriculture programs.
Jim also attended a cover crops field day in Monticello, Fla., April 1, where he toured farms that practice no-till, low-till, and other soil-health practices.
Photo: Joel Love, an environment specialist with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, displays a daikon radish used in cover cropping as a method to break up subsoil in the field and increase fertility. He was sharing soil health practices at a cover crops field day in Monticello, Fla., April 1, 2014. (Photo by Jim Ewing, NCAT)
A Spring Highlight...
...for the Gulf States Office was visiting the Delta Conservation Demonstration Center (DCDC) in Metcalfe, Miss. The DCDC is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation with a board of directors that serves a four-state Delta comprising Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Its goal is to demonstrate agricultural practices designed to preserve and enrich the environment while producing a positive economic impact for the farmer and the region. The Gulf States Office is happy to support and partner with local organizations and facilities in the region, and part of that is sharing information. We certainly enjoyed learning about the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) demonstrations at the site and meeting the personnel.
Photo: Rachel Stout-Evans with the National Resources Conservation Service points out details of conservation practices under way at the Delta Conservation Demonstration Center in Metcalfe, MS, April 30, 2014. NCAT Gulf States personnel Rockiell Woods and Felicia Bell and Mississippi State University Professor Bill Kingery look on. (Photo by Jim Ewing, NCAT)
The Gulf States Office is collaborating with Mississippi State University, Louisiana State University, the University of Florida, Mississippi NRCS, and other schools as well as institutions and local and civic organizations on various projects to promote and provide education about sustainable agriculture. These collaborations are particularly focused on new, beginning, minority, and limited resource farmers. Stay tuned!
Outreach Coordinator Jim Ewing will be moderating a panel at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference on "Soil Health in the Subtropics and Tropics," 4-6 p.m. Aug. 2 in Kissimmee, Fla. The discussion will include PowerPoint presentations by experts in the field of low and reduced tillage and soil-health practices as well as a question-and-answer session with farmers. For more on the conference, see:
To learn more about cover crops, see the ATTRA page:
The ATTRA program, developed and managed by NCAT is a national sustainable agriculture information service with more than 400 publications that explain a variety of issues farmers may confront with simple, easy to understand solutions, provided mostly free of charge.
The Gulf States office is available to provide sustainable agriculture information and technical assistance across a five-state region: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Call us for more information on how we can assist your organization, toll free:
Have a farm or ranch question?
Call ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service toll-free at:
Or, en Espanol:
Contact the Gulf States office at 2548 Livingston Road
Jackson, MS 39213;
toll-free (866) 643-2767.
We would love to hear your input! What can we do to help you?
Give us a call (toll free): (866) 643-2767
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