A former Wall Street banker, now a Mississippi farmer

Cindy Ayers Elliott, a former Wall Street Investment banker, started a 68-acre farm within the city limits of Jackson, Mississippi.
Posted at 4:34 PM, May 03, 2023

Cindy Ayers Elliott, CEO of Foot Print Farms had a successful career as an investment banker in New York. She was a worldwide jet-setter who helped to write farm policies and issue million-dollar bonds.

Then she started to question her purpose in life.

"How many diamonds do you really want? You know, pearls are key, but everything else I can let go. But how many of these things is really worth life? What does it really do?" Elliot said. 

Before making a career change, she had different plans.

"I planned to be an investment banker. I planned to open a bank. I didn't plan to be a farmer." Elliott said.

Her new uniform is a pink shirt with a matching cowboy hat and pearls on her wrist. And her new mission is educating anyone willing to listen. Elliot says there are a few issues when it comes to farming.

For many American farmers, land is passed down from generation to generation. but for many Black families in agriculture, that can be complicated.

Sometimes having too many owners makes decision making difficult. Or there's no clear will or trust to say how the property will be used or disbursed.

"Black farmers in America is an endangered species. Now it's less than 50,000 of us. Right now, heir property is one of the biggest hurdles for black farmers," Elliott said.

According to the National Black Farmers Association, after slavery Black farms did quite well. The association says at that time Black farmers owned over 16 million acres. Today, it's less than five million.

A Black man stands in a field on his farm.

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