Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II delivered a keynote address to hundreds of farmers from 10 states and 41 Kentucky counties Nov. 15 during the 2017 Kentucky Small, Limited Resource, Minority Farmers Conference held at Kentucky State.

President Brown said his father was a sharecropper in South Carolina, but he never fully understood the role of small farmers until his presidency at Alcorn State University.

“Marrying the role of small farmers to the national concern of food insecurity can reap large benefits,” President Brown said. “This is an opportunity to do social and human good.”

Over time, President Brown said, the work of local farm producers has been devalued due to industrialization. He recalled fond memories of visiting a fruit stand on a Sunday afternoon during his childhood.  In order to combat the high incidence of illness due to poor eating habits, President Brown said consumers must avoid the center of the grocery store and instead focus on fresh produce and goods that line the perimeter.

“Your work is a larger part of our future,” President Brown said. “We have to figure out how to translate the work of this conference to a stepping stone for even greater success.”

The luncheon was one part of the conference that included educational sessions, farmer success stories, tours of the state capital and successful agriculture ventures around the area, a banquet and honoring the small farmer of the year.