Season 7 | Community of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR) | Episode 7

#106 | To build trust, you first have to admit that the stories are true

April 10, 2019 | Charley "Strikeforce" Williams

Charley “Strikeforce” Williams is a veteran soil conservationist and recent retiree after 44 years with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He is also a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College) where he earned a BS in Agronomy before joining the NRCS and making such a difference for forest and farm landowners. Despite being retired, there’s still a lot of work ahead that keeps Charley excited. For example, on today’s show he talks about the Keep It In The Family program that helps African American landowners retain their land and utilize it so that it is not a burden but an amazing asset that generates family wealth and well-being. Charley also provides some excellent resources for landowners and fellow natural resource professionals looking to help out. Listen now and share this episode with landowners and forest resource professionals far and wide!

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:25] A quick intro about Charley’s background.

[4:40] How did Charley get started in natural resources?

[8:10] How does Arkansas’s terrain differ from other states?

[11:45] What were some of Charley’s first jobs like?

[13:45] How did the Keep It In The Family program get started?

[20:30] Research showed that owning land was more of a burden than a blessing for African American landowners due to having to pay taxes on the land that wasn’t returning income.

[22:30] How did African Americans lose their land?

[26:15] Charley shares what he has learned so far about developing trust with landowners.

[32:20] How do landowners find people like Charley and use their services?

[35:55] Charley offers advice to other professionals in the forest and natural resources community on how they can help.

[40:00] Where can landowners go for resources and to get help?

[43:40] How has the situation improved for African American landowners?

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on the Arkanasa Forestry Commission: Arkansas Forestry Commission

More information on Conservation Districts: Conservation Districts

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

More information on the Arkansas Forestry Association: Arkansas Forestry Association


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