Fridays on the Farm: Farming in Her Footsteps

This Friday visit Annie B’s Family Farm, owned and operated by the Givens family of Lexington, Mississippi. The farm was named for Annie B. Givens, the matriarch of the Givens family, a dedicated landowner who grew a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers to sustain her family. Despite financial hardships growing up, Annie’s garden provided fresh produce for the family. Her family is following in her footsteps, growing vegetables like squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, purple hull peas, zucchini, and more.

Five people standing
Annie B’s Family Farm is owned and operated by the Givens family. Pictured above (from left) is Shawanda Givens, Alice Givens Randle, Angela Givens Williams, Sherry Givens, and Roosevelt Givens. Photo by Deidre Lindsey, NRCS.

A Future in Agriculture

“Growing up, our grandmother was adamant about keeping her land in the family,” said Angela Givens Williams. “Because of her unwavering dedication, she was able to successfully divide her land among her family members. She also gave our parents 8 acres of land, which we now farm on.”

Person standing
Annie B’s Family Farm was named to honor Annie B. Givens, the matriarch of the Givens family. Photo courtesy of Annie B’s Family Farm.

During the pandemic, the family decided to use the land to create a future in farming. After conducting research and establishing connections with local farmers, their operation was established in late 2020 to honor Annie B's legacy.

Annie B's Family Farm is dedicated to enhancing their operation by increasing land cultivation and delivering high-quality organic fruits and vegetables to local communities, living up to their motto, "nourishing Mississippi one harvest at a time."

They also host on-farm field days to educate others and provide networking opportunities for local farmers.

Person picking leafy greens
Sherry Givens picks purple hull peas. Photo by Deidre Lindsey, NRCS

Implementing Conservation Practices

The Givens family sought out assistance to address their resource concerns on their farm, eventually finding it through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. With the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), they were able to install a high tunnel on the farm to protect their crops from severe weather and extend their growing seasons. They also integrated cover crops on the operation to help improve soil health and added a microirrigation system to maintain soil moisture for optimal plant growth.

Six people holding garden tools
Pictured above (from left) is Shawanda Givens, Angela Givens Williams, Sherry Givens, Alice Givens Randle, NRCS Area Conservationist Taharga Hart, and Roosevelt Givens. Photo by Deidre Lindsey, NRCS.

“In the spring of 2021, we were able to harvest our first crop, which was far greater than we had anticipated,” Angela said. “After that, we came to the conclusion that we should increase the amount of planting that we were doing with the assistance of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Holmes County.”

EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers and forest landowners to address natural resource concerns, such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.

“The Givens family reached out us back in 2020 looking for ways to improve their farm and it’s grown exponentially since then,” said NRCS Area Conservationist Taharga Hart. “Annie B's Family Farm is now on track to become a certified organic operation now and we're working with them to implement more conservation practices on the farm to help them accomplish that goal.”

High tunnels
The Givens family installed a high tunnel with EQIP to protect their crops from severe weather and extend their growing seasons. Photo by Deidre Lindsey, NRCS.

More Information

Visit local farms, ranches, forests, and resource areas through our Fridays on the Farm stories. Meet farmers, producers and landowners who are working to improve their operations with USDA programs.

USDA offers a variety of risk management, disaster assistance, loan, and conservation programs to help producers weather ups and downs in the market and recover from natural disasters as well as invest in improvements to their operations. Learn about additional programs.

For more information about USDA programs and services, contact your local USDA service center.


Deidre Lindsey is a public affairs specialist for NRCS in Mississippi.