On April 18-20, 2013 , I had a wonderful opportunity to travel by bus to the 3rd Annual National Women in Agriculture Association (NWIAA) Conference in Jackson, Mississippi. I have never been to the deep South of Mississippi yet never been to a Conference that is focused on farming. I was excited to go and I made sure that I had a open mind to what I was going to learn there.
The jam pack Conference was held at Jackson State University and there was so many seminars to attend at such a short period of time. One of the seminars that I had attended was the AGRI-BUINESS NETWORKING and the highlight of this session was making a business farm plan. I did not know that alot of farmers do not have a business plan for their farming business and have so much problems in getting funding. Dr. Nicholas Hill gave us written information on how to write a business plan in detail and explained how we can do a planning forecast projection sheet. Then Dr. Donald Causey discussed about the importance of networking as a farmer in order to bring continual business. He explained the importance of understanding other peoples needs before your own needs and expect nothing in return. The whole thing about networking is to help others and get to know the right people.
Another great seminar was the “Marketing: Goat Milk Soap” by the Huff Family. They explained about the ingredients of the goats milk by using lye or sodium bicarbonate, oil, conditioner, filler, frozen goats milk and a variety of fragrances. I tried their goats milk soap and I found it to be more moisturizing than any of the other soaps on the market.
There were seminars that deal with lifestyle such as the “Natural Hair Tips and Hair Wrapping” by Martha Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins spoke about the differences of textures with black women’s hair and the different ways on how to take care of each natural hair textures. She also explained that drying agents such as alcohol and salt strips the moisture from black hair leaving it dry and damage. She demonstrated different techniques on ways to to keep black hair moisturize such as making your own conditioner – avocado, coconut milk and honey. This conditioner will prevent dryness and allows the hair to be more manageable.
There were also alot of success stories from the NWIAA members who have hook up and worked with the NWIAA and USDA. Mr. Glyen Holmes who owns a company called the New North Florida Cooperative – Small Farmer Distribution. In his company, Mr. Holmes grows, sell and distributes small farmers produces to all across the country. With his fleet of trucks his drivers and sometime himself picks up produce from local small farmers in the areas and sells them to the local schools. The goal for the cooperative is to “marketing services to the participating farmers, collectively sell produce to markets such as local school districts, and ultimately to increase the amount of product being sold, thereby increasing the farmer’s income”. http://www.farmtoschool.org/
Another successful story was Mr. James Turner and his unique potato chips. Mr. Turner wanted to create a potato chip for the children that was nutritious and healthy. He came up with a product called Power Potato Chips that offers a high source of B2, B6 & Vitamin C and an good source of B1, B3, Vitamin E, & Zinc! Power Potato Chips are unlike the other potato chips products out there which are high in fat and no nutritive value. USDA and NWIAA assisted high with contacts that he needed to start his business. Soon Mr. Turner will be contracting his potato chips to schools across the country.
I had received so much more information at this conference that it would take me days to write. Next year’s, NWIAA Conference is going to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. I would like to especially thank Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele (the Founder of NWIAA from Oklahoma), my Greater Carroll Country Georgia Chapter NWIAA Chairperson Michelle Lewis, the NWIAA Mississippi Chapter and Jackson State University for their hospitality and for making this conference a worth while event. NWIAA headquarter’s is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Check out the NWIAA website for more information: www.nwiaa.org . Next week, I am going to blog about the NWIAA Conference Farm Tours in Jackson, MS. So stay tune! Also pray for our brothers and sisters in Oklahoma this week!
Want to see some pictures of the NWIAA Conference. Click here