Family farmers to gather in Capital City for conference

farm_rgbJACKSON — Dr. Valmadge T. Towner, president of Coahoma Community College and superintendent of the Agricultural High School, Coahoma, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy-Hyde Smith and Dr. Raygene Paige, retired assistant director for Mississippi State University Extension Service, will serve as keynote speakers for the 23rd annual Small Farmers Conference slated for March 24-26, 2014, at the Jackson Convention Complex, Jackson.

Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) are invited guests at the convening of the conference. Towner will be the keynote luncheon speaker at noon on March 24. Paige will address the audience at the Cooperative Extension Centennial Banquet at 7 p.m. on March 25. Hyde-Smith will serve as luncheon speaker at the closing session on March 26, at noon.

A highlight of the conference will be the observance of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Cooperative Extension System. During the Cooperative Extension Centennial Banquet, the McDonald siblings – Georgia Wright, 99, Major McDonald, 98, Ozola Eichelberger, 95, and Mildred Bell, 94 – will be honored for their family’s rich farming legacy. The event will also honor the farmer of the year, woman in business and cooperative of the year.

Other highlights include a learning sites tour that will feature livestock husbandry, vegetable production and marketing, women in business, asset building and a conservation farm tour on March 25.

For more information and to register for the conference, visit www.smallfarmersconference.org, or contact Alcorn Extension at (601) 877-6128. Registration is $45 (single) and $80 (couple).

Scholarships are available for small farmers, ranchers and women in business on first come first serve basis. For information on scholarships, please contact Savannah Jackson, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, at (601) 354-2750.

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