Photo: Pictured from left are Roy Mills, President of Texas AgriForestry Small Farmers and Ranchers (TASFR), Hilton Kelley, Founder & Director of Community In-Power & Development Association Inc. (CIDA), Adell Mills, Board Member of TASFR, and Igalious "Ike" Mills, Executive Director of TASFR and former member of the USDA Minority Farmers Advisory Committee, Washington, DC.
Growing Organization Looks to the Future by Remembering the Past: How the TASFR is Affecting our Agriculture by Alex Bashelor, former intern, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
Though the Texas AgriForestry Small Farmers and Ranchers (TASFR) has not been around but for a few years, they have made a large impact on Texas and the farmers that have taken advantage of this wonderful association. Starting with only 35 volunteers, the TASFR has substantially grown and is now working with farmers all over Texas. According to Igalious “Ike” Mills, Executive Director, he and a few other volunteers started the TASFR in 2017 to help small farmers with their “lack of trust” for the government. Many African American possessed land but had limited information and assistance from the government, which explains one of the reasons for distrust. Mills states that this stems from the late 1860s, when “slavery ended, but the masters of the plantations held back that information from the former slaves and forced them to continue working for another two years.” When they were finally freed from their enslavement, many African Americans were given land that was difficult to grow crops on, which explains the reasons for distrust.
Mills also stated that “A lot of people don’t want to address the issues, but we can’t move forward before we do” but “we can work together and treat everybody as human beings” and that alone can change our world for the better.
Today not only does the TASFR work with a diverse group of small farmers and ranchers, but even shows diversity on their board: which includes “women, veterans, and even Native Americans,” according to Mills. Their mission statement is thus “researching, identifying and supporting best practices in renewable energy efforts and new technology in farming and ranching operations. Overall, we promote a sustainable environment of natural resources in underserved rural communities.”
For more information or to donate to the TASFR please visit their website at https://tasfragriculture.com/ or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- end -