My name is M. James Faison and I’m a 4th generation farmer. Along with my siblings, I own a farm in Emporia, Virginia where I grew up. Although I proudly call Virginia home, I only moved back to Virginia 2 years ago. Before returning to my home state to take ownership of my Grandparents farm and start my business, Milton’s Local, I had been working as a corporate attorney and living in Miami. Check out my company’s website at www.miltonslocal.com. It might seem that running a startup in Virginia is miles away from working on corporate finance deals in Miami, and in some ways it is but in many more ways than not, there a lots of similarities. The greatest similarity is that both my role as an attorney and now as the founder of Milton’s Local, I have to put in the hours in order to be successful and build strong working relationships to progress. As my wife told me when we first starting dating; anything, worth anything, is hard work!
I’m honored to be a part of Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results (VALOR) and amongst such accomplished individuals as my VALOR fellows. VALOR is a program designed to develop Virginia leaders in agriculture. Being a VALOR fellow is important to me as I want to build relationships with people who are passionate about agriculture and to learn more about the issues affecting others in the agricultural community. In the relatively short time that I have been working with local farms who supply Milton’s Local with their all natural meat products, I have realized a number of problems facing the local livestock farmer. I hope that networking and knowledge sharing through VALOR will arm me with the tools to address many of these problems. I’m particularly concerned with finding solutions to the limited number of processors in Virginia and the rising costs of slaughtering livestock. You can check out the VALOR website by clicking here.