National Women In Ag. Association At its Best
By Dennis S Murray Sr
What happens when you get a diverse group of women together under the same umbrella? You get the National Women in Agriculture Association (www.nationalwomeninag.com); based and headquartered out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a city that redefines itself, Oklahoma City’s hip, spirited environment blends with its deep western heritage to create a place where culture and commerce thrive. With renowned festivals, national sporting events, treasure-filled museums and a variety of districts highlighting arts and entertainment, the possibilities for adventure and fun in Oklahoma City are endless. On April 3, 2011, women from Community Base Organizations’ (CBO) across the country of rural and urban cities/town descended to celebrate the 1st Annual Symposium at Cole’s Garden at OKC-Langston satellite off campus Center. The theme for this symposium was “Growing Character, Health, and Income from the ground Up!” The open day garden party reception was at the beautiful and charm atmosphere of the Cole’s Garden dining facility just minutes from downtown Oklahoma City, set amidst exquisitely manicured gardens, Coles Garden was the perfect place for the National Women in Agriculture Association to have there event that provided a unique setting for these professional women to express there ideas regarding the future of women in Agricultural nationwide. This picturesque waterfall and beautiful floral gardens with its tranquility surrounding and its simplistic way, shows the world that these beautiful and powerful women are ready for the world.
Executive Director, Tammy Steele of the National Women In Ag. Association closed the reception with honoring the women that have helped transformed her and the organization to early success in Agricultural. Ms. Steele feels the urgency of socially disadvantaged women, in particular women of color to develop as parent(s) while creating outstanding family values as well as developing good character in children. The Symposium continued on Monday April 4th Ag. Health Day at OKC-Langston University satellite off campus center where there were actual professional doctors and nurses providing health screenings to the farmers and producers; as well as personal trainers, a dermatologist for our skins while out working the lands; and of the course healthy hair beauty touch by professional natural hair consultant. Ms. Steele welcomed the attendees and prepared the audiences for Dr. Marin Burns, Dean of the School of Agriculture, at Langston University. Dr. Burns is quote as saying “this moment being the day that represent the power of connecting with others to empower ones commitment to Agriculture development. Dr. Burns’s expressed to the women and attendees to continue to take care of there community and always be the torch bearers of structure which provides the humanitarian drive and culture that have been planted in the seed that is there future. We were also grace with Dr. Terry L Cline, PhD, Commissioner of Health for Oklahoma City. Dr. Cline’s was informative but his statistical data was out dated to an audience that needed answers regarding there future. Attendees felt troubled by this data because it provided some conflicting issues regarding their communities. For years these underserved communities are being plague by high unemployment, health disparities, and the continuing cuts of services that devalue the community and its vital survival of the family in Oklahoma City and it’s metropolitan. After, Dr. Cline’s closing remarks he was asked about the upcoming federal and state budget and how these cuts will further deplete the health issues for Oklahoma’s underserved and socially disadvantage communities. He replied by saying he didn’t know at this point but he is certain that the WIC and other needed programs in the community will see traumatic cuts, unfortunately. However, Ms. Linda Thomas of the Community Development Service, Office of Minority Health was in the audience as an attendee and provided accurate data to help the attendees understand the present issues facing their community and families. These cuts will decrease the present data of 2010 and devalue the community health system already depleted, but the National Women In Ag. Association is dedicated to fight for the rights of health care for those underserved citizens in Oklahoma.
Reforming the values of Oklahoma City and the community is what the National Women In Agriculture Association is all about say’s Janie Simms Hipp a Native American and a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Ms. Hipp is currently serving as the political appointee for USDA as the Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs in Washington, DC. Ms. Hipp has a special interest in the Oklahoma community because she is the co-founder of the Intertribal Native American Women and Youth in Agriculture and has worked extensively with American Indians famers and ranchers throughout the nation. She explains that it’s hard to tell the truth and continue to be trusted by there constituents in a state that is declining in revenue like others in these difficult times. She feels very optimistic that the disparities among the underserved people in Oklahoma will rebound, but also feels that if we continue to fight and work together we can overcome some of these problems that are ripping the families and our communities apart. The attendees are hopeful that USDA’s Administration of the 21st century will be truthful and honest to the Agriculture family in Oklahoma and the nation. Ms. Hipp would like more transparency for those socially disadvantage and underserved famers and ranchers which have been the victims of racial disparity and oppress just to survive in the Agriculture industry. Throughout the Symposium Ms. Steele helped make the attendee’s feels warm and comfortable by continuing to provide words of wisdom and compassion for the fight and struggle that these professional women in Agricultural have face despite their strong commitment to working harder. On Tuesday the 5th of April, George Roberts the uncle of Ms. Steele take the breath of the attendees with his Innovational Announcement on values and respect to the land and the people that serve it. Tuesday, April 5, 2011, NWIAA’s Symposium provided innovative, comprehensive and linguistic Agric-Business Education to attendees from how to start a business to different categories of agriculture (floriculture, aquaculture, Healthy Bee Pollination, Specialty Crop Risk Management).
Shortly after breakfast, USDA’s Forest Service Cheryl Bailey of Washington, DC took the platform to open the final leg of the Symposium. Her delightful and pleasant demeanor brought many special moments to help the attendees feel comfortable and clear on the issues that keep them whole. She even took time during her hosting of the symposium to provide Mr. & Mrs. Larry Johnson & Delona Gay cattle ranchers of Hughes and Ardmore, Oklahoma with some helpful tips. The Gay’s were able to get vital information to help expand and resolve some of there problems regarding USDA programs and there efforts to continue farming. The Symposium closed with remarks from Ms. Steele and her gratitude to others whom took time out of there busy schedule to help the National Women In Ag. Association. We celebrate life and commitment to Agriculture, the next generation and family values. She invited all attendees to stay the course and continue their fight together with us. National Women In Ag. Association will host its next Symposium in one of its chapter states to continue the generational movement of making a tangible difference and significant impacts for socially disadvantaged farmers and new beginning farmers. Women Who Dare, Care and Share, National Women In Ag. Association!