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The seasons are flying by quickly, and we’ve been busy in the Gulf States Regional Office. In 2016, we hosted and participated in many productive workshops and events across the region, and we are looking forward to a new year full of activities. You are receiving this newsletter because you have expressed interest in NCAT and the ATTRA program. Thank you for reading!

piglets in winter

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Welcome To Our Newest Staff Member!

Sam Humphrey

Sam Humphrey has joined us in the Gulf States Regional Office as our Demonstration Farm Manager. A native of Jackson, MS, Sam graduated from Warren Wilson College with a BS in sustainable agriculture. While there, Sam managed the college’s six-acre vegetable garden and laying hen flock. Before coming back to his home state to work for NCAT, he was a poultry manager at White Oak Pastures in Georgia. He will be establishing the new demonstration farm at the Piney Woods School, 20 miles south of Jackson. The purpose of this demonstration farm is to give hands-on training to farmers and producers in the region as well as the students of Piney Woods about ecologically sound and profitable production practices, marketing, business planning, and more. The demonstration farm is funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Welcome, Sam, we are thrilled to have you!

Gulf States Activities

Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative: Establishing Partnership

Mississippi Food Justice Meeting

Fourteen people representing the six groups that form the Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative gathered for their first in-person meeting in Jackson on December 13. The groups that make up the Collaborative include the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Asian Americans for Change, FoodCorps, Mileston Cooperative Association, Mississippi Farm to School Network, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Read More

Inspiring Future STEM Leaders

training future stem leaders, Rock Woods

Rockiell Woods spent a beautiful October day with elementary school students at the 4-H National Youth Science Day on October 5at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. The theme this year was “Drone Discovery” Engineering Design Challenge. This annual event is designed to “spark an early youth interest and leadership” in topics related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) including agricultural science, environmental science, and alternative energy, according to Southern University’s website. Read More

“Down-to-Earth” Workshops Held for Sheep and Goat Producers

Down to Earth workshop, sheep and goats

“I belong to the Mississippi Goat Association and I go to a lot of these things, too, but this is the most down-to-earth, informative workshop that I have ever seen.”

That was the response of one farmer who attended the Risk Management for Small Ruminant Operations workshop, hosted by NCAT’s Gulf States Regional Office in Prentiss, MS, on September 8. A second workshop covering this topic was held on October 25 in Shubuta, MS. These workshops were designed to give local farmers applicable information about small ruminant operations and how to manage risk and increase profitability.

The keynote speaker for both events was Mr. Dewayne Smith of Greene County, MS, a well-known meat goat producer in the region. NCAT agriculture specialist Felicia Bell also spoke about farm liability issues, and representatives from USDA and the MSU extension service were in attendance to answer questions about assistance programs for small ruminant operations.

Mr. Smith shared with the group some of the knowledge he has gained from his many years of experience raising meat goats and sheep with his family. He discussed his breeding practices, marketing, soil management, and the importance of family and a good community. He spoke to the importance of farmer-to-farmer events, recalling a favorite saying from his father-in-law, “If you want to know about planting corn, find a man who’s got a crib of corn and talk to him.” The farmers who attended these workshops were lucky indeed to be able to learn from Mr. Smith, and we look forward to opportunities for future partnership.

Upcoming Events

Farm Finance Workshop

Rock will be hosting a workshop with the Farm Service Agency to help farmers understand farm finances and what assistance is available to them through FSA programs. February 2 at 1815 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, MS. For more information contact Rock at

Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference

Felicia and Rock will be at the annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference: Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. January 25-28 in Lexington, KY.


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Copyright © January 2017
The National Center for Appropriate Technology

NCAT Gulf States mailing address:
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Jackson, MS 39202
(479) 575-1385
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