Albany ag summit supports minority farmers
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An Agriculture Empower Summit designed to benefit underserved farmers was hosted Thursday at the Sherrod Institute.
It is a part of Albany activist Shirley Sherrod’s mission to advocate for Black farmers.
The Sherrod Institute was once a slave plantation but has transitioned into an educational opportunity for minority farmers throughout South Georgia.
“This place was once owned by the largest slave owner and the wealthiest man in the State of Georgia. He had about 1,000 slaves. We feel this is a place where we can heal,” said Sherrod.
That healing includes keeping minority farmers, who have overcome so many adversities, updated on what they need to know in today’s climate.
“There is a climate crisis right now,” said Terry Cosby, chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service.
Cosby was the keynote speaker at the summit and shared resources and new farming skills, such as conservation farming, with the group. He also stressed the importance of minority farmers’ role in the community.
“People have this image about what agriculture and what it used to be. Agriculture has changed. We need all farmers, especially small, scaled farmers to work and live in these communities and make sure they’re viable,” he said.
Generational farming was also a topic Thursday, as many young aspiring students visited the summit. Tymije Brown just became an apprentice beekeeper.
“You get stung. That’s about the worst thing about this job. Getting stung ain’t always fun,” Brown said.
Brown said he’s hoping being in the new profession will show other young Black people there is a fulfilling role for them to take on in agriculture.
“I think we need more young Black farmers to actually help our community out,” he said.
And in return, Brown said more opportunities like the summit will present themselves.
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