Since its inception (1985), The Winston County Self Help Cooperative continues to provide farmers, landowners, and others with relevant information to help sustain life in rural America. The cooperative has survived seven presidencies and shifted past numerous financial meltdowns in its 36 years of operation. This period has allowed WCSHC an opportunity to earn enough wherewithal to become an agent of change for rural Americans. This awesome task includes working with small farmers, who are living on the fringes of poverty, with hope of forging forward to leave a working legacy for future generations. This underlined prerequisite drives WCSHC and its partners to dispense needed services daily to sustain life in these economically starved communities. Yes, rural America is under attack on numerous fronts, from the lack of proper health care, insufficient infrastructure, and failing school systems. Other factors include, elected state and federal officials with insufficient rural experiences and gerrymandering politics which accelerates the loss of population and dollars. This narrative underscores Winston County Self Help Cooperative’s reason for adopting its mantra “Save Rural America” in 1989. WCSHC membership is primed and ready to formulate policies to stop the hemorrhage of its citizens and commerce. We (rural Americans), black, white, brown and others, must work collectively to construct a formula to save rural America. This calculation must be inclusive, provide equality, and opportunity for all citizens to achieve the American dream with proper accessibility. The Winston County Self Help Cooperative is issuing a challenge to elected officials, universities, centers of higher learning, schools, churches, community-based organizations, and others to propel Mississippi into a leader of positive change.
By Frank Taylor