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Christopher Joe of Joe's Black Angus Farm and Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Newbern, Alabama
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Public Market Good's goal with these farmer features is to offer up our platform to amplify farmers' stories. We want to celebrate and champion farmers all across the globe and make their voices heard in the conversation around climate change and sustainability.

Being "ag-vocates" to us means advocating for the representation of all farmers, growers, and ranchers. Our hope is that #SustainabilityAgvocates fosters inclusivity and recognizing diversity within the farming community.

We are pleased to feature farmer and birder Christopher Joe as our 11th #SustainabilityAgvocate. Christopher farms at Joe's Black Angus Farm and provide nature tours at Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Newbern, Alabama.
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Christopher Joe of Joe's Black Angus Farm and Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Newbern, Alabama
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Tell us about your farm!

The Joe's Black Angus Farm and Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours, LLC. is an award-winning cattle farm on 200 acres. It has been in the Joe family for over 3 generations since the early 1900s located in Newbern, Alabama. We are the recipients of the 2017 Merit Farm Family award given by Tuskegee University. The Joe’s Black Angus Farm has evolved into a herd of 50+ brood cows, two herd bulls, and a nice number of calves and young bulls. This farming operation is managed mainly by my father Cornelius Joe with help from his children Timothy, Cornelius, Jacqueline, and myself other family members as needed. We grow, cut, and bale our own hay to support the needs of the livestock and also utilize rotational grazing.

Black Belt Tourism

I began networking with organizations and colleges such as the Alabama Audubon Society, University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Mississippi State University all related to spreading the opportunities related to tourism in the Black Belt of Alabama.

I started Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours, LLC. October 2018. It was a way to diversify the family farm. It is located on 200 acres of private land in Newbern, Alabama. The property consists of pasture, bottomland hardwood, and a creek that borders the eastern side of the property. Although the focus is on birders, nature lovers, in general, are more than welcomed to come.

I have established a partnership with the Alabama Audubon Society in 2018 where they wanted to connect birders with willing private landowners. I hosted them with special guests to which turned out to be the largest Black Belt birding tour ever, boasting over 120+ birders.

January 2020 in historic Selma, Alabama, business owners and city planners met to improve the economy of the Black Belt through a different kind of tourism this was covered by the local new network Alabama News Network.
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Christopher Joe of Joe's Black Angus Farm and Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Newbern, Alabama
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Non Profit

We started a non-profit mentorship program for new ranchers/farmers called the Hale County Minority & Disadvantaged Farmers Educational Foundation Inc. was founded in 2018 but was a vision of Cornelius Joe for decades. As a third-generation Black Angus cattle farmer in Greensboro, Alabama, Cornelius Joe knows firsthand the importance of taking care of the land today, so that the next generation can prosper tomorrow. It is a nonprofit organization operated on family land located in Newbern, Alabama with the mission of assisting minority and disadvantaged farmers produce Black Angus Cattle for sale in Hale and surrounding counties for commercial and individual sales.

Alabama’s Black belt is one of the most economically disadvantaged and poverty-ridden places in the country. There is, however, a great potential for economic development to provide a means to uplift the populous. In this diverse and historic region, the threats of environmental pollution and degradation and the potential opportunities for staving off those environmental threats through the development of private/corporate partnerships that support small, minority-owned and operated businesses. Environmental racism poses a threat to the area, as evidenced by the coal plant that was in nearby Uniontown.

Having a local site that provides hands-on direction and demonstration in the field of Agriculture to minorities and disadvantaged farmers in rural areas is paramount. The equipment, tools, and knowledge would be taught to those that attend site visits and workshops. The main instruction would be given by Cornelius Joe, retired Agriculture Education teacher with 30+ years’ experience along with professionals from Alabama Extension, NRCS personnel, and myself in the field of agriculture in various professions. 
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Christopher Joe of Joe's Black Angus Farm and Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Newbern, Alabama
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How did you get into farming?

I was raised up in farming and currently the 4th generation. My grandfather started raising cattle and vegetables. My father continued the family farm but went strictly Black Angus cow/calf operation.
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What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a farmer?

Securing additional financial resources to implement practices is a challenge. Inputs such as fertilizer, seeds, and equipment are all integral parts of our expansion. The other thing is getting the funds for educational projects that can benefit others.
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What are your thoughts and beliefs on farming in the face of climate change?

We have to be flexible and connected with the operation in order to change. The high rain amounts in the winter and droughts in the summer are barriers to expand.
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Christopher Joe of Joe's Black Angus Farm and Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours in Newbern, Alabama
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What are some misconceptions you hear about farming and agriculture when it comes to climate change that you'd like to address?

That farming is only something large landowners can be successful in.

What future are you farming for and how do you think your farm can make a difference?

Our long term goals are to expand the cattle herd to over 100 head and have more birding and nature tours that educate the public and schools on the importance of conservation and an appreciation of wildlife.
My goals personally are: 

● To provide opportunities for people to experience unique species of birds in a quiet and natural setting.

● To promote the conservation and protection of wildlife habitat by providing.

● To make our nature trails available for those that would like to walk or run for their enjoyment.

● To be a source on how to implement agritourism on private property to be a source for income.

● To be a space where the young and old can take advantage of the therapeutic benefit from being outdoors for more than 30 minutes.

● To diversify regional economic opportunities and create new revenue streams for underserved communities.

● To act as an educational tool for the young people of the Black Belt.
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Where can we follow along and support you?