Season 7 | Community of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR) | Episode 19

#118 | Nothing is cookie-cutter with NRCS

July 3, 2019 | Christopher Joe

Christopher Joe is a District Conservationist in Macon County Alabama for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and he is a fourth-generation African American landowner who farms and raises cattle on the historic Joe Black’s Angus Farm. Chris’ deep roots in agriculture and professional training make him a uniquely gifted resource to landowners, and he is also a creative entrepreneur who personally demonstrates how landowners can diversify their land use and income streams. A native of Greensboro, Alabama, Chris graduated from Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama, where he majored in Agribusiness Management. Learn more about how Christopher helps landowners, demonstrates creativity on his family farm, and provides services that support the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention community.

Key Takeaways:

[1:35] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Chris’s background.

[4:40] How did Chris get into cattle farming?

[6:35] Chris describes the Black Belt of Alabama.

[9:30] What kind of work ethic did Chris learn while working on the farm?

[12:15] Chris shares a bit of his family and farm history.

[15:25] How has Chris been able to diversify his land uses?

[21:20] NRCS has SO many resources for landowners!

[24:05] Chris has people from all over the states coming to his land to watch birds. He didn’t know this might be a natural and financial opportunity until very recently.

[25:55] Chris keeps a journal for his farm. It’s helped him tremendously keep track of his idea, actions and results on the farm!

[30:25] What’s next for Chris and his farm?

[35:55] Chris shares a bit about his educational journey on how he got into farming and conservation.

[42:40] You don’t want to go on to somebody’s farm and tell them what they have to change; first you want to learn their goals.

[52:15] The NRCS has a lot of available resources and programs for landowners who might not be able to afford many conservation activities on their own.

[59:15] Chris loves being able to partner with the community and teach them practical lessons on how to efficiently use the land.

[1:03:25] Another resource that the NRCS teaches is about game hunting on your property; what’s legal and what’s not legal to do.

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 USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Connect with the Alabama Forestry Commission here, and find your State Forester here

Learn more about High Tunnel Systems here

Connect with Christopher on Twitter using @ConnectingAnd

Connect with Christopher on Instagram by searching for “Birds and Nature Tours”

Check out Chris’ YouTube channel and videos here

Contact Christopher by email at birdsandnaturetours@gmail.com

Visit the Birmingham Audubon Society here

Listen to one of Chris’ landowner clients and podcast guest Darryl Shelton here, titled, “We inherited a farm, now what?”

Listen to one of Chris’ forestry consulting colleauges and podcast guest Alex Harvey here, titled, “The trust factor takes up 70 percent of my time even today”

Christopher Joe certifying the completion of firebreaks and prescribe burning, two of the cost assistance practices administered by the NRCS

The Joe’s Black Angus Farm believes in top quality, and that starts with a world-class bull. This is one of the farm’s two herd bulls




Leadership Nature is a proud supporter of #forestproud, a diverse community of forest stewards.