Dewayne Goldmon welcomed visitors to his farm on Thursday as the host of the Model Farm tour through the National Black Growers Council.
Goldmon grows corn, soybeans, rice and grain sorghum on about 700 acres in Wabbaseka. He works for Monsanto.
“I have been fortunate enough to have the council here on three separate occasions,” he said, after leading the tour. “We are trying to look at the best that agricultural has to offer. We decided to take on a larger platform. We are showing the integrated techniques of USDA techniques.”
Farmers contend with precipitation, weather fluctuations, pests, blight, market demands, legislation and utility prices. The National Black Growers Council exists to allow equal opportunities for people who make a living in agriculture.
“Historically, black farmers have not had access to people and resources that are needed to stay on the cutting edge of agriculture,” Goldmon said. “Because you have been historically denied, you find yourself at a disadvantage.”
Black farmers face unique issues in the Arkansas Delta, Goldmon said. By contrast, black farmers will have separate issues in North Carolina and Texas, he said.
“We welcome our visitors. The collective knowledge of the National Black Growers Council is on display here,” Goldmon said. “They come here and gain information, figure out which information is applicable to their situation. We are excited to be a part of that.
“This is another service for all of agriculture — regardless of skin color,” Goldmon said. “This organization will continue to play a pivotal role in diversity in agriculture.”
NBGC Chairman Bill Bridgeforth said that the organization supports existing black farmers and encourages young men and women of color to pursue a career in agriculture.
“There are a lot of people in our country supporting us,” Bridgeforth said. “The National Black Growers Council is a resource between farmers and federal lawmakers.
“We think it is important to work with the USDA to implement programs to make you more successful,” Bridgeforth said.
USDA StrikeForce leader Charlie Williams said that the goals are to assist poor communities that lack locally grown food. He spoke at a reception at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff after the tour.
“We help you create markets that do not currently exist,” Williams said. “Many small communities lack grocery stores.”
The USDA began the StrikeForce Initiative in 2010 to assist farmers in Arkansas and two other states, Williams said. StrikeForce helps poor counties to maximize their benefit from farm loans, conservation programs and housing.
“I can assist you if you live in Arkansas,” Williams said.
About 100 people took a tour of Goldmon’s Dell-Cam Farm. They sat atop bales of hay on a flatbed that drove slowly through clearings in the fields.
Rice and soybean farmer James Phillips came to the tour to learn how he can increase his yield in his fields in Crocketts Bluff. He grows about 300 acres of soybeans and 75 acres of rice.
“I came to learn about new technology that is available to small farmers,” Phillips said. “I enjoy this tour every year.”
The farm tour was also supported by Morehouse Black Farms and Landowners, a community-based organization headquartered in Bastrop, La., said Carol Sanders of UAPB’s School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.