Stephan Price, Fort Valley State University’s Bulloch County Extension agent, shows Dante’ Raven, a small farmer from Guyton, how to use Microsoft Excel for bookkeeping inside FVSU’s Mobile Information Technology Center (MITC). The unit served as a classroom on wheels during the Farmers Fair and Expo in Blackshear March 16.
Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program recently joined forces with the 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia during the second annual Farmers Fair and Expo in Blackshear on March 16.
More than 20 farmers attended the expo at the Lee Street Resource Center. The expo served as a forum to educate small farmers about federal programs and to improve or introduce them to record keeping. Several representatives from Fort Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Office of Rural Development and Farm Service Agency presented information to the farmers in attendance.
In addition, FVSU provided its Mobile Information Technology Center (MITC), a high tech computer classroom housed in a 72-foot semi-trailer, as a training facility to teach record keeping using Microsoft Excel. Stephan Price, FVSU’s Bulloch County Extension agent, conducted the classes.
Troy Jackson, president of the 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia, said that the purpose of the fair and expo is to serve as a liaison for farmers in 18 counties serviced by the organization and attract younger people to the farming profession.
“We’re trying to educate our people that farming is not a nasty thing. It is a necessity for food that we eat, services in agricultural products, and that the investment in the high yield of farmland or soil itself has been omitted or neglected in the minority community,” Jackson said.
The leader of the 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia said he learned of the services provided by the FVSU mobile unit when it was featured on a television newscast in the Albany viewing area.
Dante’ Raven, 37, lives in Guyton and presently works at Gulfstream Aerospace, but his future plans include farming. He said that by attending the expo, he learned who he needed to contact in order to start his farming operation.
“I just bought 12 acres of land, and I didn’t want it to sit idle. I want to use the land for myself, but also I want it to make a profit,” Raven said. He said that he would advise anyone wanting to start a farm that it can be profitable, but you have to want to put in the work and gather proper information in order to succeed.
For more information about the MITC, contact Terrence Wolfork, assistant administrator for communications, conferencing and technology at (478) 825-6053 or email firstname.lastname@example.org