Mission Statement

Family. Agriculture. Resource. Management. Services. (F.A.R.M.S.)  is a youth education and legal non-profit, committed to assisting farmers and landowners retain land for future use of next generation farmers of color. 

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F.A.R.M.S.'s Goals:

  • To reduce the percentage of land loss;

  • Increase economic opportunities for farmers and landowners; and

  • Create and support youth agriculture outreach and education. 

Where We Work:     Alabama, Georgia & the Carolinas

*F.A.R.M.S. 501 (c)(3) status is pending approval 





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Land loss is an epidemic that has plagued Black farmers and landowners.  Every month, 30,000 acres of Black landownership is lost primarily due to non-payment of property tax, eminent domain, unprofitable business models, discrimination, generational out-migration, and lack of estate planning.

Ultimately, when the initial landowner(s) die without a will, ownership passes down to their living heirs creating heirs property.  Heir’s property is created when the land is held collectively by the original landowner’s descendants.  Each heir’s ownership share varies based on state law.  However, no matter the size of each heir’s ownership share, all possess the same rights, leaving no single heir with clear title.  Over time, the number of heirs owners increase hindering profitable business opportunities.  For example, heirs property owners cannot obtain a mortgage or access a range of USDA programs because the title is not cleared.  Due to the overwhelming restrictions on ownership, a forced partition sale is often initiated by one or more of the heirs, resulting in the loss of land.

Many ask,“what is the point of retaining land ownership?”  The ultimate purpose of retaining the land is to pass it down to the next generation as a family legacy.  However, if the youth are disinterested in agriculture, the purpose of family preservation is loss.  F.A.R.M.S. is committed to creating and supporting programs that educate youth about agriculture in innovative ways.  By working with landowners to retain land through various estate planning and land protection means, the availability of land will not be lost to the next generation.



LEGAL SERVICES                          EDUCATION & OUTREACH              YOUTH EDUCATION

Estate Planning                                    Expansion of Sales Markets                       Program Management

Clearing Title                                       Workshop Facilitation                               Education Instruction

Conservation Easement                       Grant writing Services                               Partnership Programming

Purchase and Sales Contracts

Legal Research & Writing



Ms. Jillian Hishaw,  Founder & Director

As a Midwest native for the past seven years, Ms. Hishaw has worked extensively in the area of environmental education, civil rights, and agricultural policy.  Ms. Hishaw’s dedication to public service is reflected in the 2006 establishment of the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program, an inner-city environmental education program in Kansas City, Missouri, geared towards educating young Black males about ecology and conservation.  The program was later adopted by a neighborhood association and the City of Kansas City Green Block Initiative.

After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tuskegee University, and a Juris Doctorate and Legal Master’s Degree in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Ms. Hishaw’s work experience in environmental and agricultural advocacy has varied.  As an Environmental Planner, Hishaw had the opportunity to enforce policy on a grassroots level, in working with federal, state and local municipalities to ensure compliance of the Clean Water Act provisions in low income communities.  Furthermore, her work in civil rights within the federal sector to providing legal assistance to Black and Native American farmers during the settlement phase of two discrimination class action suits, influenced her current efforts in establishing a legal non-profit for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers in the Southeast.  Ms. Hishaw is licensed in Wyoming.

Notably, Ms. Hishaw’s extensive law review and American Bar Association includes her latest Co-Authored article, How Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Initiatives Have Not Resolved USDAs History of Discrimination and Recommendations From Front Line Agricultural Workers, Tuskegee University-Production Agricultural Workers Policy Journal (Fall 2013 Edition).


Ms. Kyra McLaren, Youth Social Media Manager

Kyra is a Senior at Providence Senior High school in Charlotte, NC.  Kyra is an active member in her school’s concert choir, track and field, and speech and debate team in which she recently won the national team competition in Chicago, IL.  Kyra comes from a third generation farm family located in Georgia.  In the Summer of 2013, Kyra’s interest in marketing peaked when she was selected to take part in a youth MBA program at Clark Atlanta University.  Kyra plans to major in marketing and minor in business next Fall when she continues her studies at a regional college or university.  Kyra currently has a 3.200 GPA and has received honors for her academics.  Kyra currently handles all of FARMS social media platforms which include Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  FARMS is pleased to welcome Kyra to our team!

Farm to Food Bank

FARMS in partnership with the Pee Dee Land Trust in Florence, South Carolina are working with African American farm families to grow and distribute fresh produce to the Harvest Hope Food Bank which in 2013 provided 28 million pounds of food to homeless shelters and residents.   

Storytelling Project

FARMS staff in partnership with the Pee Dee Land Trust in Florence, South Carolina are conducting interviews of African American farmers to document the history of African American agriculture in the region and teach students about the cultural legacy of African American agriculture in the classroom.

* FARMS Director currently works as a consultant on the above projects.


Board of Directors

Sean Poellnitz-President 

Mr. Sean Poellnitz is Manager, Contracting and Resource Utilization for CHRISTUS Health. CHRISTUS Health is a major catholic health organization. In this role, Sean is heavily involved with contracting strategy, GPO utilization, Value Analysis Teams, and building key relationships with clinical stakeholders across the IDN. Formerly, Sean Poellnitz was the Contract Administration Manager at Alegent Health. Alegent Health is a billion dollar non-profit, being Nebraska's largest health system, including 5 Metro Hospitals, 3 Rural Hospitals and 50 Clinics. Prior, Mr. Poellnitz was Site Supply Chain Manager for Raytheon, a global aerospace and defense firm, Contract Administrator for Metrolink, one of the largest high-speed commuter rails authorities in California, and a Senior Purchasing Analyst at Union Pacific Railroad; a US based firm providing railroad services in the rail industry. Over the past ten years he has been responsible for analyzing costs, leading teams, negotiating contracts, and managing purchasing and supply chain operations.

Mr. Poellnitz received his Bachelor’s of Finance from Tuskegee University and is currently completing his MBA at Southern New Hampshire University. It is with great pleasure that F.A.R.M.S. welcomes Mr. Poellnitz to its Board of Directors!

Mr. Paul Ballenger-Vice Chair

Mr. Paul Ballenger resides in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Internationally, Mr. Ballenger has assisted non-profits in Costa Rica with business development through product development, marketing, and finance.  Mr. Ballenger's recent work as a graduate assistant with the Clemson Institute for Community and Economic Development included assisting South Carolina startup companies with business, marketing and financial strategies.  EdPRESIDENTucationally, Mr. Ballenger obtained his B.S. in Political Science from Clemson University; Juris Doctorate and Legal Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.  In 2013, Mr. Ballenger obtained his M.B.A from Clemson University.  It is with great pleasure that FARMS welcomes Mr. Ballenger to its Board of Directors!


Ms. Keisha Brashier-Treasurer

In the Fall of 2012, Ms. Keisha Brashier earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Park University. Currently, employed as an Accountant at Welch & Associates, CPA’s, Ms. Brashier’s work experience includes extensive work with non-profits in relation to 990 audits and filings, financial statement preparation, federal and state corporate and partnership filings, and more. Ms. Brashier’s payroll and budgeting experience at the US Department of Veteran Affairs, along with her position as Treasurer of Park University’s Student Government, adds to her credentials. It is with great pleasure that F.A.R.M.S. welcomes Ms. Brashier to its Board of Directors!

Mr. Robert Lewis-Board Member 

Mr. Robert Lewis is a highly accomplished professional with 20 years of military, logistics, and estate planning experience.  As a licensed New York Life Financial Services Professional in NC, SC, LA, MD, DC, DE, FL, NJ, TX and IL.  Mr. Lewis services include providing retirement funding, estate planning, executive bonus, Simple IRA funding, mutual funds, variable annuities, Roth/Traditional IRA funding, buy-sell funding, qualified plan funding and structured settlements.

Additionally, Mr. Lewis has an extensive and successful 20 year track record in foreign and domestic supply chain management, warehousing, and distribution experience.  Mr. Lewis expertise also includes managing multi-site operations in an effort to reduce costs and increase profits.  Mr. Lewis has a distinguished career of operational excellence in distribution & operations, logistics solutions, customer/vendor relations, and continuous process improvements.  Mr. Lewis distinguished military career includes managing all requisitions for U.S. Presidential Air Force One and Two, as well as foreign diplomats and Air Force and Navy organizations assigned to Andrews Air Force Base.  Mr. Lewis received his B. A in Information Systems in Inventory Management from the Community College of the Air Force after transferring from Grambling State University.  Lastly, Mr. Lewis also holds a B.B.A in Operations Management from American Intercontinental University.   It is with great pleasure that FARMS welcome Mr. Lewis to its Board of Directors!

Mrs. Tia Phillips-Board Member

Mrs. Tia Phillips is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Mrs. Phillips was a Pogue Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received a BA in Political Science in 1996.  Mrs. Phillips received a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2001 where she was a member of the Holderness Moot Court bench and an inductee into the Order of the Barristers.  Since 2001, Mrs. Phillips has been a practicing attorney in Georgia and North Carolina. Her practice area has been primarily in commercial and residential real estate transactions and real estate finance.    Mrs. Phillips formerly served as the vice president of the Wake County Real Property Lawyers Association (2008-2009), and is a Goodman Fellow and graduate of Leadership Triangle Regional Leadership Institute (2009).  It is with great pleasure that FARMS welcome Mrs. Phillips to its Board of Directors!

Ms. Tiffany Hayden-Board Member

Ms. Tiffany Hayden has extensive experience in retail, brand strategy, and merchandising.  As Marketing Manager of Personal Care and Hair Care for AVON Products Inc., Ms. Haydens expertise in quantitative and qualitative analysis has been cultivated in focusing on North American body care and hair care products.  Notably, Ms. Hayden’s Corporate marketing experience extends to Walgreens Co., Best Buy, Unilever, and more.  Internationally, Ms. Hayden led a team in the development and re-launch of a $1M product line in China for Shiseido Cosmetics, a Japanese cosmetics company.  Additionally, Ms. Hayden has over five years of professional sales experience within the publishing and industrial sectors.  Ms. Hayden obtained her Bachelors in Sales and Marketing from Tuskegee University, and Masters in Brand Management and Marketing from Northwestern University.  It is with great pleasure that F.A.R.M.S. welcomes Ms. Hayden to its Board of Directors!

Mrs. Yasmeen Qadimasil-Board Member

Originally from Austin, Texas, Mrs. Yasmeen Qadimasil’s personal beliefs regarding environmental protection have laid the foundation for her professional career. Mrs. Qadimasil's federal agency experience within environmental advocacy stems from her policy, administrative and NEPA compliance experience at the National Park Service, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Ecological Society of America, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mrs. Qadimasil received her Juris Doctorate from Thomas E. Cooley Law School.  Additional educational credentials include a Master’s of Science in Biology from Howard University and a Bachelor’s of Science from Tuskegee University.  In February of 2013, due to hard work and perseverance, Mrs. Qadimasil placed 5th(among 224 teams) at the National Negotiation Competition in Dallas, TX.  It is with great pleasure that F.A.R.M.S. welcomes Mrs. Qadimasil to its Board of Directors!


479.283.6460 or info@30000acres.org