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Additional county agents focus on community development 

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is adding community resource development agents in four counties across the state to help reach Mississippians in new ways. 

The community resource development agents will work with local citizen groups, civic organizations, economic development agencies, and government offices to identify and implement programs that address local needs. 

“We looked at socioeconomic statistics of all the counties in Mississippi and picked four counties that were solid, middle-of-the road economically,” said Sumner Davis, director of the Extension Center for Government and Community Development. “We also wanted to spread them out geographically. These new positions are all part of a bigger community effort by the MSU Extension Service.” 

In the 2013 legislative session, the MSU Extension Service received additional funding, which led to the creation of these community resource development positions in Sunflower, Yalobusha, Lincoln, and Pearl River counties. 

Davis said these agents will facilitate technical assistance, trainings, and workshops on various community development topics specific to each county and its surrounding area. The campus-based Extension Center for Government and Community Development and the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics will support the agents’ work. 

Allyson Coleman has been named the community resource development agent for Yalobusha County and its surrounding area. 

“We are looking forward to having Allyson as part of our staff to integrate some of the things we do with the Extension Center for Government and Community Development into the community,” said Steve Martin, head of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. “She will help with surveys in county profiles and training for governmental leaders.  Allyson will help us expand our reach and bring Extension closer to the county.” 

The additional positions will be filled in the coming months. All four agents should be in place by the end of the year. 

Davis stressed the importance of selecting the right person for each location. 

“We understand Mississippians are highly diverse and have a broad range of needs and goals. We want to be sure these new agents will have the specific skills and experience needed for the clients they’ll serve and the projects they’ll undertake,” Davis said. 

As more funding becomes available, the MSU Extension Service will add community resource development agents to additional counties across the state.  

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By Kaitlyn Byrne

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Extension Matters Volume 1 Number 1.