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Producers express needs, ideas to MSU
RAYMOND -- Producers and industry professionals from the central district gathered Feb. 26 to share needs and ideas with agents, specialists and researchers of Mississippi State University’s Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural, Forestry and Experiment Station.
The Central District Producer Advisory Council meeting was held in conjunction with Alcorn State University’s Extension Program and Hinds Community College.
“We are excited to have the advisory meeting for this area formally revitalized,” said Sherry Surrette, head of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center. “It is important that we interact so that we understand your needs and you stay informed of our research and educational efforts.”
The nine commodity groups represented were agronomic crops; beekeeping; beef and forage; dairy; equine; forestry and wildlife; ornamentals; small ruminants and swine; and fruits, vegetables and nuts.
“Without producer input, it is difficult for us to assess the needs of our clientele,” Reuben Moore, associate director of MSU’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, told the group gathered. “We need your guidance, and we appreciate that you took the time to be with us today.”
Gary Jackson, director of MSU’s Extension Service, said Extension exists to educate Mississippians.
“We have expertise on every level, but in order for us to bring you the information you need, we must have your input on a regular basis, and that is why we are here today,” Jackson told the group.
The beef and forages group requested more variety trials for grass and real-world forage research south of Interstate 20.
Dairy representatives asked for assistance in exploring ways to expand the state’s dairy industry. They also said research on high-quality forages to lower production costs would be helpful.
The equine group suggested the Master Horseman program be expanded and that a class be held on managing forages for horses. They asked for a statewide electronic forum for posting all equine events, schedules, classes and other information.
Forestry and wildlife group members said they need more information and resources on maximizing the market for their products. They requested information on ways landowners could set up cooperatives for harvesting and other activities that require many acres. They asked for more information on management, leasing, retaining resale value and aesthetic value of recreational land. The group also requested research on the best ways to reforest clear-cut land and on wild hog control.
Representatives of the fruits, vegetables and nuts group requested educational programming on farm production, including field design and layout and spray schedules for crops. They also want the ability to have specialty crop soils analyzed. They want more information on sales, marketing, and food safety certification and compliance.
The ornamentals group requested market research to help producers select new specialty crops and training to help them prepare for nursery certification exams.
Agronomic crop representatives requested research on chicken litter usage, wildlife control, and weed resistance and management.
The small ruminant and swine group asked for research-based data on parasite resistance and forage possibilities for gestating sows.
The beekeeping group requested research on drone and colony issues and additional educational programs on beekeeping.