Producers set priorities, discuss issues with MSU
BILOXI, Miss. -- Coastal area agricultural producers met with Mississippi State University researchers and Extension Service agents to discuss the research and education they need from the university in 2019.
The MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center Producer Advisory Council meeting was held on Feb. 26 in Biloxi. The annual meeting helps the university allocate time and resources to the most important issues facing Mississippi’s agricultural producers and related industries.
“I want to thank you for your time and participation, and we look forward to continuing to work with you throughout the year,” said James Henderson, head of the Coastal Research and Extension Center. “We challenge you to spread the word to your fellow producers about the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and ask you to encourage them to attend future meetings.”
Producers from nine commodity groups met in breakout sessions to discuss their groups’ priorities. Commodities represented were beekeeping, forestry, livestock, floriculture, agronomic crops, commercial horticulture, home horticulture, fruits and vegetables, horse and small ruminants, and marine resources.
Beekeepers said they want information about queen beekeeping, FDA labeling for honey and strategies for dealing with small hive beetle. They are interested in research results on hygienic bees and want more research on flea beetle and Chinese tallow trees. The group wants to provide 4-H programs and publications for young people.
Commercial ornamental and home horticulture representatives discussed research goals and current programs, including vegetable trials, high tunnel cut flower production, honeybees and insecticides, sustainable production and increased profitability, and the Mississippi Medallion Plant Promotion Program. The group addressed the spread of crepe myrtle bark scale and spotted wing drosophila.
Attendees of the floriculture meeting asked for more research on preemergent and post emergent herbicides and more information on community supported agriculture and markets for edible flowers and cut roses.
Forestry group members discussed management tools for cogongrass. MSU researchers are working on an app that will help landowners coordinate with agencies, including boards of supervisors and the USDA Farm Service Agency, that will help all parties implement the best control methods.
Fruit and vegetable growers said they want education on muscadine pesticides and fungicides. They also would like to introduce fruit and vegetable production to young people with programs focused on technology in farming.
Representatives of the horse and small ruminant group said they want a small ruminant specialist to perform research and provide educational materials and opportunities. They requested education on deworming and foot rot in goats.
Members of the livestock group said they want more education on grass management and marketing options for livestock. They are interested in the results of recent research on ryegrass and oats. They also want apps for calculating calving, grazing and hay amounts, and cattle production costs.
Marine resources representatives asked for information on sea level rise to be posted on the Extension website. Researchers presented information on various projects, including coastal avian ecology work, the Coastal Conservation and Restoration Program, the Marine Fisheries Ecology Program and the Marine Economics Program.
Poultry group members asked for more education on backyard poultry. Tom Tabler, Extension poultry specialist, discussed research and information on liter management and antibiotic-free commercial poultry production.