Moore’s Farms LLC was established in 1984 by Moses L. Moore. Since then, the farm has continued to grow and has become a valuable asset to the New Hebron and Shivers communities.
Moses and his wife Juanita have one daughter Teruko Moore, who serves as Moore’s Farm’s nonprofit organization’s executive director. The family and their farm are dedicated to educating local youth on the many opportunities available in agriculture in Mississippi.
Teruko Moore was raised on her family’s farm, where she worked from sunup to sundown. She learned how to operate farm equipment, grow and harvest crops, tend to the livestock and farm animals, manage the land, and run the family farm business. However, she had no intention of becoming a full-time farmer.
“When my father retired from Southern Pine Electric Power Association, he told me, I’ve done all of this for you. I need you to learn everything so that I can pass it down to you. I looked at him and said, “Dad, I don’t really want to farm like that,” and I just started thinking about what I could do and how I could make a difference with this land and this opportunity,” Moore shared.
In 2020, Teruko started a nonprofit organization where their family farm now hosts summer camps and teaches children how to farm. “We give each student an acre every year to plant and produce a crop. Whatever they plant and produce is sold in a market booth,” Moore shared.
The Moores have over 600 acres of farmland operating in four locations and run a cow/ calf operation. Through their nonprofit, they have created a summer program dedicated to teaching valuable life skills.
Moore explained that the need for these types of programs is more prevalent than ever. She stressed that children are glued to electronics now and need to be taught other skills that may be useful to them in the future.
She said, “Growing up, we worked from sunup to sundown. Children with their electronics no longer know how to do these things. With this program, we’re getting to teach them the trade and instill responsibility, work ethic, and sense of community service.”
When you sow good seeds, you reap even greater rewards. So, when the Dean of Alcorn State University called and asked to meet with Teruko, she was shocked. “He reached out to me and said, “I hear you have a nonprofit and are doing great things for our youth. Can I meet with you? I think there is a great opportunity here.”
Alcorn State University’s School of Agriculture partnered with Teruko and her family’s farm. They will utilize their 600+ acres to provide experimental learning for their student while developing youth-based programming through their extension services.
“We receive all of the university’s interns at our farm and work on all kinds of projects together. We are even looking at corporate sponsors for housing now,” Moore shared.
“This began because I wanted to use my family’s land as best as possible. I wanted to give kids a safe place to come and have fun and focus on agriculture, There isn’t anything for kids to do in New Hebron, and now these kids that come out and work the farm with us love it!”
There has been excellent support for Moore’s Farm and its great strides with youth and agriculture in Simpson County. Congressman Benny Thompson and many others have reached out to Teruko and her family with great interest in their nonprofit organization and even greater gratitude.
In addition to the summer program, Moore’s Farms operates an apprenticeship program for ages 16-21 in collaboration with the Department of Labor. Once enrolled, the apprentices complete their course study online, which goes towards credit hours for college. Moore also explained that scholarship opportunities, notably the USDA 1890 National Scholarship Program, are available.
“There are a bunch of HBCUs that are listed for students to attend. There are a lot of different opportunities in agriculture. It’s not all about working in the field or handling animals. Desk jobs and other jobs are paying well in agriculture,” Moore shared.
The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program was established in 1992 as part of the partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program aims to increase the number of minorities studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and related disciplines. The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is implemented under the USDA Fellows Experience Program (FEP).
The USDA offers four-year, full-ride scholarships. The Moore family and Alcorn State University are passionate about instilling and investing in Mississippi’s youth and the future of the state’s farmers and agriculture industry.
“This has changed everything. I never thought I’d have an opportunity like this. Being able to give back to the community in this way… it’s huge. I get so emotional about being able to help these kids.”