Son of SFRC Capitalizing on Internship
For decades, the Small Farms Research Center (SFRC) at Alabama A&M University has grown the next generation of farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs, and STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics) careers, all while boosting the sustainability and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture.
Case in point is recent news that an AAMU alum and former intern for SFRC has been selected as County Executive Director of the Marengo/Choctaw and Wilcox County offices of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). JaMarkus Crowell was most recently a trainee in the County Executive Director program, serving the Perry/Bibb and Hale County Offices.
JaMarkus began his FSA career on October 5, 2015, as a program technician in Greene/Sumter County, responsible for payment limitation, farm records, disaster programs, compliance and other areas. Within the County Offices, outside his training, JaMarkus has been afforded the opportunity to shadow CEDs on detail assignments approved by the State Executive Director.
JaMarkus also has spearheaded in-person Outreach COC Election Meetings, along with Virtual Outreach County Committee Election Meetings for Marengo, Choctaw, Wilcox, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Pickens, Greene and Sumter counties via Microsoft Teams. He successfully completed the CEDT program and was certified by the STC last December.
JaMarkus graduated cum laude with the B.S. degree in agribusiness management (concentration in agricultural sciences) from AAMU in May 2013. Prior to FSA, JaMarkus was an intern at SFRC. He was promoted to program assistant and worked with the SFRC assistant director while completing his senior year at AAMU.
“I’m very appreciative of my start with AAMU’s Small Farms Research Center,” stated JaMarkus from FSA offices in Greensboro, Ala. “It has equipped me in so many ways in my start with the USDA Farm Service Agency and my continued progression with the agency.”
Mr. Crowell contacted the AAMU–Small Farms to express the great news. “Thanks so much!! Your congratulatory wishes are much appreciated. Your guidance, editorials to the newsletter drafts done by you, your keen eye to handle outreach needs throughout my tenure with SFRC has not gone unnoticed. It has equipped me for where I am now.”
According to SFRC staffers, he assisted with carrying out various objectives outlined in various proposals awarded through AAMU’s SFRC, one-on-one consultations with new and/or beginning farmers, coordinated/organized professional training workshops and outreach lead-person for SFRC, to name a few. Subsequently, JaMarkus was promoted to agricultural program specialist before his career with FSA began in September 2015.
“When I interviewed for the program technician position in Greene/Sumter (counties),” recalled JaMarkus, “I expressed how working with FSA was a long passion of mine. Now, I’m placed in the seat to be an even greater resource and with a wealth of knowledge to better assist this generation of farmers, producers and landowners.”
JaMarkus stated that one of his “most prized training opportunities” was the SED shadowing assignment, because it placed “a larger light on the many hats carried by the SED” and the everyday functions of FSA at the county, state, and national level.
In his free time, he enjoys traveling, attending worship services, spending time with family and utilizing his role on the Deacon & Choir Ministry Board.
The Small Farms Research Center consistently conducts and promotes interdisciplinary research on the economic and social development of limited resource, new and beginning farmers and ranchers and rural entrepreneurs in Alabama’s underserved communities. It continues to hire bi-weekly and graduate students, including interns.
“We are not only growing the next generation of farmers, but we are inspiring and growing the next generation of agribusiness specialists to assist them," stated E'licia Chaverest, SFRC assistant director. Dr. Duncan M. Chembezi serves director of SFRC. The Center is served by two program assistants, Oppia Burke and Shuniya Hutton.