National Team

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Founder/CEO of National Women In Agriculture Association, the largest non-profit Women In Agriculture Organization in the World!

 

AGRICULTURIST. ENTREPRENEUR. STRATEGIC BUSINESS DEVELOPER. EDUCATOR. CIVIL RIGHTS WOMEN & CHILDREN ADVOCATE.

 

Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele is the first American agricultural specialist, agripreneur, educator, and women and children's advocate.

 

Born and raised on a farm, she received her secondary education in the rustic and rural community of Wewoka, Oklahoma. Upon graduating high school, Dr. Steele left Oklahoma to pursue a dual educational and business career in New York City.

 

Armed with the legal degree she obtained from New York University Law School,

and the requisite legal business experience she acquired on Manhattan's Wall Street, she returned home to her family farm and started to give back to the Oklahoma rural communities. During that time she was working full-time in the Oklahoma Corporate legal arena, and also devoting time to study for a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA), Horticulture and Childcare Development Certifications.

 

On the broader national turf, Dr. Steele is a former USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Advisory Main Council Member. Additionally, she had the rare honor of being appointed by President Barack Obama's administration as a distinguished USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Councilwoman, serve on USDA Grant Panels, and a USDA Strategic Action Team Leader.

 

Dr. Steele serves on various scholarship committees that were instituted for the educational empowerment of youth. In addition, she offers valuable support to the Oklahoma City Black Chamber of Commerce, apart from volunteering on various rural Chamber of Commerce boards.

 

Deploying uncommon intellectual energy and superlative personal industry to achieve exemplary and duly-acknowledged results-oriented performance in both individual and team activities, Dr. Steele has demonstrated unrivaled commitment in assisting counties in the State of Oklahoma with expert knowledge in healthy food production at a level that matches any known empirical and international standards. In the process, she has managed to build for herself an unassailable reputation, and a formidable pedigree, as a widely sought after agricultural expert who is never short of strategic, innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to challenges in the agricultural sector of the economy.

 

Dr. Steele has embarked upon a personal crusade to develop good character amongst women and children. With a total belief in the credo that, "A child can only be developed if her mother provides sufficient support and resources," and with a legendary passion for empowering disadvantaged women and women of color in rural America, she strives to ensure that no woman, and no child, with whom she comes into contact, is socially and economically marginalized in the scheme of things.

 

Sincerely motivated by an altruistic desire to empower the socially and economically disadvantaged, and to deliver timely awareness and education to those who truly desire a sustainably healthier lifestyle, Dr. Steele established the National Women In Agriculture Association in 2008. Since that time, she has employed the powerful and influential instrumentality of NWIAA to pursue her agenda of sustainable development in America's agricultural sector. To this end, in January 2014, Dr. Steele opened NWIAA’s first Sustainable Agriculture Academy in the United States, located on the Eastside of the Oklahoma City Metro Area, and in close proximity to the city's largest African American population. It was in the light of this that Dr. Steele was recognized at the White House in February 2014, for leading the country in efforts to save and educate America's youth using environmental and innovative agriculture-based sustainable best practices.

 

In the spring of 2013, she was awarded a humanitarian honorary doctorate for exemplary performance as one of the most influential agro-business community developers amongst her generation in the United States. Dr. Steele has received awards from Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Conservation District Cooperatives Department and Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, and Tuskegee University and other educational institutions in genuine appreciation for her support of various economic empowerment entrepreneurship programs. She has written testimonial articles with New York Magazine and other Agriculture Journals.

 

She can be reached at:womeninag@gmail.com or (405) 424-4623 for speaking engagements, and for teaching sustainable business techniques that can rapidly develop communities.

 

Valontay Linzy is the executive assistant for National Women in Agriculture. She works directly with Executive Director Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele at the headquarters building located in Oklahoma City, Ok. She has been a part of the organization since she was 12 years old, and throughout the years she has learned many skills to assist in being a great leader. Some of these skills consist of organizational skills, multitasking, time management, communication, data record, event coordination, and discretion. She uses these skills during tasks such as: Assisting with workshops, communicating with legislative staff, scheduling meetings, coordinating online workshops, and multiple other responsibilities within the position. She also serves in the United States Army in the Oklahoma National Guard as a Logistics Specialist.

 

 

Throughout the years of being a part of NWIAA, Valontay has become highly passionate about helping others learn more about agriculture and being a community leader in any way possible. She is the Youth Coordinator for the J.A.D.E Program where she manages college interns fulfilling internships through the organization and works with children in the local community.  She also represents America’s Miss Agribusiness Oklahoma where she hosts community projects planting with children and feeding the homeless. She plans to continue her position and assist with the mission of the National Women in Agriculture Association for many years to come.

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Antoinet Webster, was Born and raised in Oklahoma City, she would consider herself a certified OKIE. She love the outdoors and grew up playing sports.  She earned a 4 year scholarship to The University of Tulsa to playing, Women's collegiate Basketball and  earned a Communications Major with a Minor in Deaf Education. After graduating college in 2016, she became a Certified Fitness trainer at Planet Fitness and later earned the Club Manager roll. Her ultimate goal is to help,  rather it's to someone who is less fortunate or simply positioning herself to add value to things or people she is around.

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Darlene Gunther, M.S.  as several years’ teaching experience, including successful development of the Biotechnology Program in the TN Metropolitan School System (MNPS, grades 9-12). She successfully initiated Industrial Hemp Research at TN State University (TSU) and instrumental in supporting the TN Dept. of Agriculture in advancing the production of hemp and support for hemp farmers in the state. She served as advisor and created the Tiger Women in Agriculture Student Chapter of the NWIAA at TSU. Among her many accolades are the successful USDA/NIFA Project Directors meeting in Nashville, TN (2017) and the annual Small Farms Expo (2016 and 2017).  Ms. Gunther has successfully initiated new farmer’s workshops in various TN cities, viz. Nashville, Lafayette, Clarksville and Memphis locations. Her research interest is in sustainability with publications focused on photovoltaic materials. Ms. Gunther holds a M.S. in Physics and a M.S. in Materials Science from Fisk University and Vanderbilt University, respectively.

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Deydra Steans, a certified Texas educator (Special Education, Generalist, Health, Physical Fitness) and trained in Dyslexia Intervention.  She transitioned from the classroom to working full time providing technical assistance across the country and overseeing a couple livestock operations. Deydra serves as a trustee and fiduciary where she is responsible for security and management of over $3M in assets.  Deydra is the CEO and owner of Black Gold Resourcing, LLC, a business she started in 2018 to address the information gaps, low program participation, access to FSA programs and need for technical assistance in her local community.  Currently, Deydra and Black Gold Resourcing have over 20 FSA-211 USDA Power of Attorney’s on file, which enable the oversight and effective program management for it’s subscribed producers.  Efforts are focused on socially disadvantaged producers and beginning farmers; Within those populations are women, youth and veterans.  Black Gold Resourcing, LLC boasts collaborative support with the likes of The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).  ATTRA’s Soil for Water & NCAT’s sustainable agriculture specialists host workshops with Black Gold Resourcing in Texas focused on soil testing methods, rotational grazing, cover crops and other regenerative practices.  Originally, NCAT reached out to the grassroots company seeking to increase historically underserved workshop attendance for it’s 2019 events.  The first workshop had over 40 attendees which were a mix of women & men, varied crop/ livestock operation types and a racially diverse audience. LaCrosse Seeds traveled to the collaborative workshop from Mississippi and was on-hand to share results of cover cropping as a sustainable practice implored in the delta and the midwest, where heavily tilled farmlands and loads of fertilizers and herbicides had caused the areas to experience massive soil erosion and polluted waters with traces of fam-use chemicals.  Deydra is the only minority, woman owned LaCrosse Seed distributor in Texas, operating as Private Treaty Naturals, the retail component of this diverse agriculture agency.  The great-grand-daughter of sharecroppers, Deydra has a natural ‘knack’ for animal husbandry and uses a common sense approach to farm & land management.  With her father & uncle, Deydra helps to manage almost 300 acres and 120 head on their cow-calf operations.  She knows and has a relatable experience to many historically underserved producers, especially in the racially-tense areas of central and south Texas where her efforts are focused.  Deydra is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington where she attended on a full volleyball scholarship and graduated with a B.A. in Criminology & Criminal Justice with a double minor in English and Sociology.  She began another educational quest at Texas A&M University School of Law (2019, San Antonio) where she is completing a Master of Jurisprudence in Business Law. Naturally, she concentrates in areas of law that will be helpful for the historically underserved populations in the agriculture industry.  Areas of impact and focus include 1) heir property rights and land retention, 2) policy and access, 3) how to obtain a farm number and 4) FSA County Committee elections for diversity.  In the spring of 2020, COVID-19 impacted her ability to attend classes in person and it also demanded that she focus on the outreach efforts for CFAP 1 and 2, as well as concurrent FSA programs related to drought and natural disasters.  Her outreach has increased exponentially and she has completed a 3 year case-study on her first-hand experiences of doing FSA outreach in Central & South Texas.  Deydra hopes to continue in this capacity and expand to a wider audience of diverse producers in less-tended areas of the country. 

Amanda Edwards is a Tampa, Florida native and first-generation stateside born citizen who became the first in her family to attend university. Ms. Edwards is a devoted mother of two-year-old twins and serves as a senior student in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. In addition to her studies, Ms. Edwards is an avid Second Degree Black Belt Instructor, and Tae-Kwon-Do enthusiast. By utilizing her gifts collectively, Ms. Edwards strives to fulfill her God-given purpose to eliminate poverty in urban and rural communities by sowing seeds of enlightenment in the youths of society. 

 

Ms. Edwards began her journey in health field with a vision to restore the mindset of the millennial generation to flourish in acquiring healthy eating habits, physical fitness, and to quench the undeniable thirst for mental reformation. Her main goal was and still is, to accomplish this feat by stimulating impressionable minds with her knowledge and expertise in the preventative medicine field. Ms. Edwards strongly believes that knowledge is power, and emancipation of the minority population’s chains within society truly starts with what is being fed to our bodies. This truth has driven a lifelong vision and goal to help others gain the forward-thinking and courageousness needed to go against the grain of society to grow food for ourselves in a time of utter convenience and dependency. 

Ms. Edwards teaches classes and one-on-one sessions with clients to emphasize the importance of this mindset change; highlighting the benefits of growing and sustainably producing our own food within both urban and rural settings. As a top priority, Ms. Edwards currently strives to show others how to step into living their “best life” by making positive everyday adaptations that will slowly transition citizens into a cultural shift of independence when it comes to these key aspects. She is a firm activist and example to others, from displaying how to combat the struggle of avoiding typical food choices, to offering various fitness routines and lifestyle improvements, Ms. Edwards has a wealth of knowledge for others to draw from; including unconventional and creative ways to grow fruits, vegetables, microgreens, and herbs in even the most confined spaces.

 

Ms. Edwards’ advocacy in teaching others to liberate themselves from the cycle of dependence that stems from the standard American diet and lifestyle, couldn’t have been accomplished without a change of her own. In order to lead by example, Ms. Edwards and her children transitioned into a fully plant-based eating regimen to maintain optimal nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. While experiencing the newfound flavors of vegan living, the colorful variety, and joys of growing and picking her own food in a small backyard garden, Ms. Edwards made the declaration to one day own and operate a large scale organic family farm that would serve as part of her legacy for future generations.

 

Ms. Edwards is adamant about pursuing this mission not only for her own children but also for educating the surrounding community with ways to make positive changes in their diet by simply growing their own food from farm to table. Ms. Edwards would like to share the knowledge she has acquired and principle understandings of what she has studied, to teach both current and coming generations methods of holistic wellness and sustainability that come with harvesting your own fresh home-grown goods.

Naomi Borquaye Jenkins, MBA has a vision where regular ideas can turn into streams of income. Her mentor Lisa Miller always used to say; "it takes faith the size of a mustard seed." This is what Naomi lives by. Mrs. Jenkins is a 2010 graduate of Langston University and a 2011 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University. She has a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on Accounting. She started her career in public accounting as an auditor. From that experience she gained valuable knowledge about financial statements and internal controls.

Mrs. Jenkins enjoys time with her family, especially her daughter Rylan. She is a hand full and a ball of energy which keeps Mrs. Jenkins on her toes. Also, Mrs. Jenkins spends her extra time coaching various cheerleading teams in Oklahoma City.