• Four people and the words, Extension Matters.

Extension Matters: Volume 5 Number 1

A large, green combine machine plows a soybean field while a green tractor rides beside it.

On his Rolling Fork farm, Bill Rutherford is living the life he dreamed of as a child. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A man wearing a light blue and white striped shirt and blue jeans stands in front of Belmont City Hall.

For the last few years, Gary Gasaway and Buddy Wiltshire have been nervous during the winter months. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A young woman with brown hair wearing a tan hat with a green jacket and khaki pants leans against a wooden railing.

Born in Biloxi, Ashley Ward shines as manager of event promotion for Ducks Unlimited and cohost for Ducks Unlimited TV.

A man in a blue shirt and a woman in a grey shirt with a black cardigan stand holding a banner that says “Welcome…the Square Kosciusko.”

There’s nothing quite like a charming Main Street. Lined with local shops, restaurants, and businesses, these streets are essential to building vibrant communities.

A couple, a man with a black and red jacket and a woman with a tan cardigan, stands next to a wooden railing located outside with trees and water in the background.

For Mattie and Willie Williams, it’s always been about the children. They first got involved with the MSU Extension Service through 4-H when their children were young. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A young man with a metal construction hat and bright orange vest stands in front of his work site with his hands tucked into his blue jeans.

Logging is more than a job to Drew Massey. It’s in his blood. He is a fifth-generation logger.  (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

The silhouettes of two cyclists are seen in front of a blue and yellow sunrise that reflects on a lake below.

Winston 100 Wellness on Wheels cyclists ride through the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge as the sun rises over a cool fall 2018 morning.

A close up shot of the gears and bottom of a fluorescent green bike parked in a parking lot.

Start small, but start today. That’s what Scott Stokes was thinking last year when he brought out his bicycle after a 12-year hiatus and started riding again. A new Mississippi State University Extension Service program encouraged him to get back on track. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A young boy wearing a Mississippi State t-shirt holds a butterfly-like insect out toward the camera.

Bug Camp is not a place for kids who are afraid of bugs, warns Ryals Strider.

See what's new in Extension: Extension Supports University's Community Garden, Extension Appoints New 4-H Staff, Extension Landscape Symposium Honors Professor Emeritus, and Extension's Southern Gardener Opens Little Free Garden

A black metal bench overlooking the cemetery sits under the shade of a large, green tree.

Foreman Matthew Ellis is responsible for keeping the grounds of the Biloxi National Cemetery in shape. But it’s more than just a job to him.

An elderly woman wearing an orange striped shirt stands in front of a large, multicolored, needlepoint county map of Mississippi.

When she came to her first Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers meeting in 1968, Rae Clarke accompanied her aunt, Versie Manning, who insisted Clarke come to the Thanksgiving party.

Sweet potatoes in brown dirt lay in a sweet potato field with a harvest machine in the background.

After growing up on a family sweet potato farm, Jamie Earp left thinking farming just wasn’t for him. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A man wearing a light blue collared shirt and a grey zip-up jacket stands next to a short-haired woman wearing a black sweater.

David Fulgham did not hesitate to show his support for the Mississippi State University Extension Service Plant Pathology Diagnostic Lab when his chance came.




Message from the Director

Dr. Gary

With another spring planting about to begin and 2019 off to a great start, I want to update you on what’s happening in Extension.

Human interaction is the foundation of Extension. Even with the explosion of digital devices and social media, Extension’s work with local Mississippians is built on face-to-face instruction, human interaction, and healthy relationships. We’re using the technology already at our fingertips, including smartphones and other devices, to teach, share knowledge, and solve problems.

This issue of Extension Matters features a few of the people working with the Extension agents, associates, faculty, professionals, and staff who come together to deliver the educational programs Mississippians trust.

The mayor of Belmont explains how Extension expertise enabled him to avoid implementing a tax increase to ensure clean water in his community. Also, a photo essay shows four Mississippi towns in four different stages of the community-development process to highlight the continuing partnerships Extension maintains with Mississippi Main Street Association officials representing towns of all sizes across the state.

A new Extension wellness program, piloted in Winston County, delivered impressive results when each participant lost weight following the 5-week implementation. Additionally, a couple discusses why they continue participating in various Extension family and consumer sciences programs. A Mississippi Homemaker Volunteer with 50 years of service shares why she keeps giving and sharing year after year.

Extension agricultural agents and specialists continue serving a range of producers, from sweet potato to beef cattle and everyone in between. Whether partnering with the Professional Arborists Association of Mississippi to care for trees at a veterans’ cemetery or assisting an individual tree farmer, Extension professionals with natural resources expertise are reaching audiences in person, in real time.

We’re seeing enrollment growth in our 4-H youth development program, and also, in 2018, we had our largest state 4-H Congress in history. 4-H’ers from all over the United States are coming to Bug Camp, the only 4-H entomological camp for children in the world. Finally, a former 4-H’er explains how her years participating in 4-H prepared her for her current role with Ducks Unlimited in Memphis.

Our Extension family has built trust across Mississippi because we’re taking valid research and transferring it through educational programs to the people of this great state. I continue to be excited about the future of Extension, and working with you is a real pleasure.


Gary Jackson
Director, MSU Extension Service