Alicia Dorn | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Shefali Mehta, Ph.D., Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics (USDA REE), recently visited the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (UAPB-SAFHS).
During her visit, she participated in a forum focusing on the needs of African American farmers in the Delta region. Topics discussed were:
- amplifying the message shared at the 1890s Strategy Sessions in New Orleans and promoting the Census of Agriculture;
- learning more about the research needs and priorities of what would be most beneficial to African American farmers in finding ways to partner and collaborate;
- sharing information on the current research that may be of use to African American farmers;
- empowering producer groups to be their own best advocates;
- allowing farmers to express their concerns about USDA programs and loans.
The forum also consisted of Karama Neal, Ph.D., Rural Business-Cooperative Service administrator; Jill Floyd, Arkansas USDA Rural Development State Director; Doris Washington, Arkansas State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA); Caird Rexroad, Ph.D., USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Program Leader for Aquaculture; Hazell Reed, Ph.D., USDA Equity Commission and Executive Director of the National Black Growers Council (NBGC), and Henry English, Ph.D. Director of the Small Farm Program at UAPB.
Each USDA representative who attended the forum was appointed to their respective positions by the Biden Administration and represented an important organization in the field of agriculture.
To conclude the forum, the participants toured a rice mill in Jefferson County, Arkansas owned by P.J. Haynie, chairman of the National Black Growers Council.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.