FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Federation Secures a Top-Notch Forestry Expert as the Director of its Rural Training and Research which Includes its Regional
Agroforestry Center

Atlanta, Georgia - On January 1, registered forester, Freddie Davis III, will fill the position of the Director of the Rural Training and Research Center (RTRC) for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund located in Epes, Alabama. The Federation owns and operates more than 1300 acres of land collectively which includes its unique training and agroforestry center. 

The RTRC has long been the site for local, state, regional, national and international groups to hold meetings, trainings, and recreational activities. The Southern Regional Agro-forestry Center (SRAC) was established in 2016 through a memorandum of understanding between USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the US Forest Service, and the National Agroforestry Center. A multi-dimensional initiative, the SRAC was designed to conduct research, extension and training to assist African American landowners in the South in adopting sustainable agroforestry practices as well as serve as a regional forestry demonstration site and national showpiece. The goal of the center is to be an integral part of the US Forest Service’s network of experimental forests to conduct leading-edge research on all aspects of forestry, forest uses, and socioeconomics related to limited resource landowners and communities of color.

Mr. Freddie Davis has always been up for a challenge and is a known problem solver in the field.  With more than 20 years experience in agriculture, forestry, and natural resource conservation, Davis brings a unique combination of skills to the RTRC. His background includes, Forestry Technical Service Provider for USDA, Procurement Forester and Harvest Contract Manager for Weyerhaeuser Wood Products in Alabama, Land Management Forester for International Paper Company in North Carolina, and military veteran of the US Army and Mississippi National Guard. He has been a successful entrepreneur, establishing himself as a reputable resource for landowners in the region.  Mr. Davis is in process of transitioning his work as an entrepreneur and forest consultant to the full-time Director in order to continue to support limited resource farmers and landowners and advance the mission of the Federation.  “Freddie will provide management of our RTRC as well as a level of guidance and expertise to the agroforestry center that we have recently relied on outside consultants to do. No one knows our 1300 acres better than Freddie. We are looking forward  to expanding and utilizing the area to better benefit the membership and  landowners in the
region," says Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation. 

The Federation has also intensified its reach around the south as it relates to heirs property and land retention, which are also integral parts of the SRAC by adding land tenure specialist in Georgia and Mississippi. The inaugural National Heirs Property Conference recently concluded December 4 th -6 th in Atlanta, Georgia. As a follow up to this groundbreaking conference, the Federation will continue to provide technical assistance and support to identified heirs property owners throughout the US and link them back to the center. 

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, entering its 52nd year, assists limited resource farmers, landowners, and cooperatives across the South with business planning, debt restructuring, marketing expertise, and a whole range of other services to ensure the retention of land ownership and cooperatives as a tool for social and economic justice. The overall mission is to reverse the trend of black land loss and be a catalyst for the development of self supporting communities via cooperative economic development, land retention and advocacy.
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