An important partnership will promote greater cultural and ethnic diversity in agricultural fields of study, expanding opportunities for university students in Virginia and beyond.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences announced they have entered an agreement with the goal of increasing minority involvement in agriculture.
A memorandum of understanding signed in October is expected to strengthen membership value for both organizations through collaboration on projects. These will include written content for each organization’s publications, providing leadership training and expertise, and cross-promoting programs and events.
“The new partnership between MANRRS and the American Farm Bureau Federation will ensure that all of the voices of the agricultural community are heard as we work together to develop a well-trained workforce that not only identifies agricultural issues, but one that also addresses these challenges today and tomorrow, domestically and globally,” said Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, president of the National Society of MANRRS.
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has long-supported MANRRS chapters in Virginia, and some of its leaders are celebrating the official partnership.
“I think the formalization of this nationwide partnership will only enhance the strong relationships built by our Collegiate Young Farmers and university MANRRS chapters at the state level for the last 15 years,” said Lindy Fimon, chair of the VFBF Young Farmers Committee. “We’ve become more effective as an organization with the participation of MANRRS chapter members in annual competitions and activities, like Collegiate Discussion Meet. We welcome any opportunity to deepen that partnership, furthering efforts for inclusion and advancement for members of ethnic and cultural groups often underrepresented in agriculture.”
The national society of MANRRS consists of more than 55 chapters located at various colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including Virginia State University.
Dr. Marcus Comer and Dr. Jada Brooks are VSU College of Agriculture’s MANRRS chapter advisors.
“We are excited because this partnership will give us access to more resources but more importantly, it will expose our students to the policy work of Farm Bureau helping both organizations ensure that everyone in the agricultural community has a voice in establishing equitable agricultural policies to build a stronger food system,” they said in a statement.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the organization is eager to share its resources and programs with potential new farmers and the next generation of leaders in agriculture.
“We will need the brightest minds and new perspectives to continue meeting the growing demand for healthy, affordable food,” Duvall said. “We believe the partnership will benefit both of our organizations and all of agriculture.”