Upholding the mission

by Russell Boone

Posted on Jun 15, 2023

FVSU alumna Millicent Harrison is a loan officer for the USDA's FSA.

FVSU alumna Millicent Harrison is a loan officer for the USDA's FSA.

Millicent (Cosby) Harrison sees working in her hometown as an opportunity to provide financial assistance to farmers in middle Georgia.

For the past seven years, Harrison, a 2015 graduate of Fort Valley State University (agricultural economics) has worked as a loan officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). After beginning her career in Greenville, North Carolina, she transferred to the Peach County office in 2018.

“My role is to help farmers and ranchers throughout 26 counties of my district receive financing to expand or purchase farms,” Harrison said. “We have several different financing programs that can help farmers purchase equipment, livestock, seeds, plants, or real estate with no down payment required. The purpose of the programs is to encourage food and fiber production while promoting conservation and sustainability throughout the country,” the FVSU alumna said.

It's no surprise that Harrison, a native of Fort Valley, enrolled at FVSU to receive her college education. Her mother (Flora) and father (Mack) both attended FVSC (now FVSU) and steered her to the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology.

“They always told me about the wonderful work in the agriculture department and the important legacy of attending an Historically Black College or University (HBCU). I also wanted to be in a classroom where the professors knew me by my name and be around like-minded students,” she said.

Furthermore, Harrison described her undergraduate experience as dynamic, fun and memorable.

“There’s nothing like FVSU. We have a rich culture, inspiring professors and an absolutely beautiful campus. I’ve made lifelong friends while in college and gained a degree I’m very proud of,” Harrison said. She also participated in extracurricular activities such as the Agricultural Economics Club, 4-H and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS).

In addition, Harrison participated in internship programs at FVSU and in private business to prepare for a professional career. She interned for FVSU’s agricultural economics department and 4-H summer youth programs where she served as a student counselor. Her duties included promoting the college of agriculture and encouraging prospective students to enroll. She also helped supervise more than 200 4-H students visiting the campus.

“I served as their on-campus guide, provided mentorship and supervised them as they attended classes throughout the summer,” the FSA loan officer said.

The 30-year-old received hands-on training in her field by interning and networking.

“I interned with Ag South Farm Credit as a financial analyst where I learned the aspects of commercial lending, consumer lending and corporate culture. I was exposed to agricultural business throughout the state and got a chance to network professionally with other interns. I also interned with Global Incite as an executive assistant and traveled with the company to promote study abroad experiences to other universities,” Harrison said.

Global Incite is an academic and tourism company that emphasizes study abroad programs for minority students. Located in Washington, D.C., it is owned and operated by Carmen Fells, a graduate of Tuskegee University.

Harrison said taking part in quiz bowls, professional conferences and academic competitions carried her a long way while at FVSU.

“Without the determination of my department, I would not have the confidence to be a public speaker or realize my full potential. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to study abroad in the Dominican Republic through a University partnership with Global Incite. There, I truly learned the global impact of agriculture from an international experience by traveling abroad for the first time. An accumulation of all these experiences allowed me to be a top candidate for the career I have today,” she said.

For students interested in obtaining a degree in agriculture from FVSU, Harrison said a student must be open minded and flexible with their choices.

“Join organizations that will allow you to travel and gain new skills. Also, find and listen to your mentors. You will gain so much knowledge by learning from their experiences and following their safe guidance,” Harrison said.

Additionally, she said a student should not be afraid to relocate outside Georgia or the United States to seek employment. “Don’t be afraid to meet new people or step outside your comfort zone. Get comfortable with being in new spaces so that you can grow and be challenged. Opportunity always lies in the unknown,” she said.

Furthermore, the FSA employee said she experiences joy when she is able to help a client. “It feels great to truly help someone become successful. I know that the safety net FSA provides through programs is a big part of agricultural business. I work with a team every day that supports the American economy through creating jobs, offering support to farmers, rural homeowners and supporting food and fiber production in our communities. We all need farmers to feed and clothe us every day, so to work at a place whose mission is to keep that going is very rewarding to me,” Harrison said.

“No day is the same and no farm operation is the same. It’s always something different to see and learn here,” she said.

Harrison is married to Jayson Harrison, a 2012 FVSU alumnus who she met in college.


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  • FVSU Agriculture College