North Carolina Farmer Works to Diversify the Hog Market

Farm and Food Voices

Mary James from Pender County, North Carolina, not only dreams about a better farming future, she makes dreams come true.
Some of her dreams are for the specialty farm that she and her husband Nelson, a third-generation farmer, own. Since retiring as a reading tutor from the local school system, she’s become a full-time farmer, adding new products to the operation.
The James’ produce vegetables, flowers, ducks, rabbits, Cornish hens, free-range chickens, brown eggs, and pasture-raised Niman Ranch pork. They also rent out ornamental plants for weddings and special events and sell their Dogwood Farms’ products at farmers’ markets and on a new Web site.
This year James will add shiitake mushrooms and more herbs. She and Nelson have also qualified for USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which will provide technical assistance so they can expand their hog operation while improving environmental practices.
“I am on cloud nine,” James says. “We’ll have 16 acres in EQIP, and we’ll be able to sell 250 hogs to Niman Ranch when we’re done. It’s a blessing to get this assistance for what we’re trying to do.
“I am a visionary. My biggest goal was to build a small processing operation so we didn’t have to take our hogs to one place to be killed and another to be processed before we could market the meat.”


Type of Operation:
Vegetables, flowers, plants, rabbits, ducks, Cornish hens, free-range chickens, brown eggs, pasture-raised hogs; markets her own meats
Land in Agriculture:
35 acres
Greatest Challenge: 
Farm profitability and energy costs
Program Participation:
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Unmet Need:
Programs to help small farmers market their crops; incentives for beginner farmers

Her other dream is to introduce more people to agriculture as an enterprise. “You can’t get more farmland. When the older people pass on, if their children need money, they’ll sell the estate. In New Hanover County, there’s a lot of housing development like that.”
That vision made James one of the first people selected for North Carolina’s new Farmer to Farmer Mentor program. Through the program, she shares her enthusiasm and experience to help other small farming operations.
“I talk with people and show them how they can turn a profit on the land, or if they don’t want to farm, how they can keep the land in the family and get payments through the wildlife program or easements.”
“My plan for this summer is to introduce more young people to agriculture. I want to see school kids come here to see how our food is raised and processed. I can start to work with them with the rabbits. I want a training program, because we need to reach them when they are young.”
James would like to see federal farm programs support her vision. “The best thing to help us out would be to assist the small farmers in marketing their goods and to create new incentives for beginning farmers.
“That could be a young person or an older person who is just retiring and needs an incentive to work the land. People have got to be visionary—they’ve got to look down the road and see that they can make a living in farming."


FYI Mrs. Mary is planning a major TV cooking show. Details to follow.





CESI Joins Forces With UAF & All Star Ray Lewis to Talk About Financial Literacy Education


Ray Lewis, as part of the United Athletes Foundation (UAF)  is speaking out about the need for Financial Literacy Education in our communities and for the athletes they serve.

CESI’s CEO Dr. Diane Chen will be taking part in a panel discussion at the upcoming Pro Athlete Summit in partnership with UAF, the New York Stock Exchange and Racing Toward Diversity Magazine. This event is part of the larger UAF  Charity Weekend in New York City. We are excited to spread the word about the difference financial literacy can make in our communities! For more information about the UAF Event visit the link on their website

Apr142011 Survey Reveals Experience Matters More When Finding a Job Than "Who You Know"


Networking not always the strongest way into your dream job according to survey results.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) April 13, 2011, Inc., the world's largest network of niche career communities, polled job seekers across its network of thousands of geographic and industry-specific sites to learn what is most helpful to business professionals when searching for a job. More than 1,600 Network visitors responded to the poll that asked:

What is most helpful when finding a job? 

  •     45.35% - My Experience
  •     20.97% - My Education
  •     19.93% - The People I Know
  •     13.75% - My Communication Skills


With the unemployment rate hovering at 8.8 percent according to the United States Department of Labor and a large pool of candidates vying for similar job opportunities, applicants are placing more value than ever before on their actual work experience than they have in the past.

"At one time it was all about who you knew and who in your Rolodex© you could connect with in order to secure an interview," says Rich Milgram, CEO of "While networking is and will continue to be an important component of the job search, it can only get you so far in the process. Employers are looking past just 'who you know' and making sure candidates have the right qualifications and experience before hiring."

For more workplace-related resources, visit the Career Resource Center.

About, Inc. is the world's largest network of niche career communities, providing access to thousands of top-tier industry and local web sites. Our career search services and networking tools enable job seekers and employers to create targeted connections across thousands of online communities. We deliver a one-of-a-kind recruitment solution that provides the targeted exposure of a specialized job board, reinforced by the breadth and volume of a larger career network. was named to Inc. Magazine's prestigious ‘Inc. 500' list and is a Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE) portfolio company.


Transforming Diverse Teams


Can a white guy talk with authority on diversity?


Brian V Moore • Human diversity includes people like myself. 

I am what you would call white, a member of an African tribe, descendant of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English and South African forebears, born in Zambia to a Roman Catholic family, resident in South Africa, my wife is a Hindu South African of Indian descent, I speak a number of African languages, Afrikaans and English, greet in over 100 languages, have worked in the USA, UK, Hong Kong and in numerous parts of Africa.

My diversity experience comes from living amongst and experiencing people, traditions, cultures, religions and I have worked as a peacemaker in rural African communities.

There are two issues here:-
1) How dare I not share my growth and lessons with others who have not had my experiences.
2) How strange it is that we, as diversity specialists, can judge people by colour. A Zulu (African tribe in South Africa) say clearly in this proverb. "Uhlubu’ dlube ‘khasini" Literally - "A bean is revealed when you open the shell."

We cannot know a person by their external appearance. We can only learn about them through either our own experiences of them - or that of others whom they have impacted.

Of course any focused and experienced person can speak with authority on diversity. My wife and I have touched 10s of thousands of lives through our work.

Let the catalysts of change do their work without judgement!
Best wishes
Brian V Moore