Rural Women as Agriculture Leaders

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2005: $9,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Mikhiela Sherrod
Southwest Georgia Project

Annual Reports


  • Nuts: pecans
  • Vegetables: beans, cabbages, cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, value added
  • Soil Management: organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration

    Proposal abstract:

    The purpose of this project is to assist and enable groups of rural black women who are small-scale producers in southwest Georgia, to develop viable businesses based on vegetables, herbs and other agricultural products. The project will help these women, who are or hope to be limited resource farmers, apply information and education available to them so as to develop their businesses and communities. The project will supplement and expand the training these women will receive as participants in a year-long Risk Management course. They will engage in group and individual planning sessions to develop methods and means to cooperate in order to leverage their individual resources within a larger network with expanded resources. This will enable them to develop sustainable marketing and economic development projects. 1) Workshops with Planning Sessions and Organizational Development: At least 40 women will participate in the series of related workshops, planning sessions and organizational development activities and acquire information and skills pertinent to their own business plans and demonstrate mastery of this material by using it in their own business plans a) Goal setting and Decision-making: Participants will set personal goals for their enterprises and begin to make decisions about how to proceed. b) Resource Evaluation: Participants will learn how to evaluate their resources and needs (knowledge, skills, interests, goals, access to land and other production elements, and capital) and formulate ways of maximizing their usefulness. c) Production and value-added processing: Participants will learn the essentials of relevant value-added processing methods and apply this knowledge to their own plans d) Organizational, legal and business management: Participants will learn how to identify and evaluate alternative forms of organization and cooperation, incorporation, and contracting as they apply to their own business plans. Participants will also learn the essentials of business resource management (finances, personnel, equipment and other business assets) as they apply to their own situations. e) Marketing: Participants will learn how to identify potential markets and outlets; describe and quantify potential customers, reasons for buying, current price levels, costs and benefits of accessing specific markets; and analyze competitive factors. f) Financial: Participants will learn the essentials of financial management, including revenue and cost projections, budgeting, analysis of actual results, credit management, and profit and loss analysis so as to monitor and control the performance of their businesses. 2) Feasibility Studies: In the course of the project, feasibility studies will be completed for three potential enterprises for participant groups, including assessment of markets, financial viability, production, and processing. 3) Outreach: The project will conduct at least one outreach event in southwest Georgia and one event in either Mississippi or Alabama to inform local officials and other rural women about the project and its purpose and activities. 4) Recruitment: The project will recruit 20 new participants from the initial five counties and other counties in southwest Georgia

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.