• Four people and the words, Extension Matters.

Extension Matters: Volume 5 Number 2

Four girls wearing cowboy hats and sashes at the 2019 Sale of Champions.

For the 50th anniversary of the sale, the record-breaking total amount earned was $382,775. While the animals in the sale are impressive, the 4-H’ers are even more astounding.

A boy wearing an orange and blue plaid shirt and holding an open book stands next to another boy wearing a blue shirt.  Photo credit: Kevin Hudson

“You know that saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? Well, it takes a village to raise a goat, because it’s a kid!” Tyler Branch says with a smile.

A senior at the Mississippi School for Math and Science, Tyler knows this truth from experience. His 4-H career centered around showing Boer goats.

A blonde young woman wearing a blue lab coat and safety glasses holds a glass dropper up to the camera.

As a young child, Emily Davis was the victim of a horrific crime, but, with the support of her family and the pediatrician who documented the evidence, Davis became a survivor.

A man wearing a blue collared shirt rests his hand on a green tractor with several red tractors parked behind him.

Farming is all Will Smythe has ever known. The Washington County producer, whose acres of corn and soybeans grow in Tribbett, supports his family’s farm operation beside his father and brother, his wife and children, every day. Smythe is quick to see, however, that success in agriculture is defined by much more than his year-to-year profitability.

A young woman wearing a white cowboy hat and a red embroidered blazer stands on a wooden deck.

Miss Rodeo America 2019 Taylor McNair is the official spokesperson for the sport of professional rodeo. A native of Learned, Mississippi, McNair will travel more than 100,000 miles to attend more than 100 rodeos over the course of her term. She shares how the 10 years she spent in Hinds County 4-H prepared her for her career.

A group of 14 men and women stand on either side of a woman wearing a bright green hat and holding up an award.

It all started back in 1966, when former 4-H’er Ruby Beckley decided to become a 4-H volunteer leader. During her own days in 4-H, she won corn-growing competitions, and she knew, even though she wasn’t a mother yet, she needed to share her talents with the next generation.

A close up of a white concrete entrance with “Polk Dement Stadium” engraved into the concrete.

Jackson Precast Inc. is Mississippi’s only company that specializes in producing architectural precast, DeVoss explains. When the business competes for jobs, out-of-state manufacturers are its main competitors

Dark blue water meets the edge of white sand on a clean, empty beach.

Mississippi’s commercial fish industry employs thousands of Magnolia State workers who work along the beautiful waters of the Gulf Coast.

Two young women and one young man wearing green blazers stand on a marble floor.

Legislative Day is a favorite among 4-H’ers. Each year, Mississippi 4-H Council officers and ambassadors spend a day visiting their legislative leaders at the Mississippi State Capitol. Not only is the visit an interesting experience for 4-H’ers learning about how state government works, but it’s also a way to thank legislators for their support of 4-H and the Mississippi State University Extension Service, which oversees 4-H statewide.

A young woman wearing a dark green blazer stands behind a podium while several people stand looking at her.

Nerves jangling, Jaylin Smith of Greenwood stepped to the podium to address legislators and guests gathered in the Mississippi Senate chamber in February 2019. Her audience seemed preoccupied, checking their cell phones. By the time she finished her speech, they were on their feet, applauding.

A woman wearing a blue collared jacket stands in the fruit aisle of a grocery store.

In this "What's New in Extension," Extension agents implement better safety standards, train to deliver Mental Health First Aid, and receive national recognition. Also, new irrigation and specialists join the Extension family.

A man stands next to a woman with his arm around her shoulders while they both smile at the camera; a lake rests in the background.

John McKee refers to the Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course as a “convention of rock stars.”

A man wearing a blue collared shirt stands in a boat with his hand on an old white steering wheel.

When Ryan Bradley wanted to help make the Mississippi Sound cleaner and more profitable for commercial shrimpers, he knew where to turn for help launching a cleanup program.

A young boy throws a rope toward a fake bull with the help of an older man standing behind him.

When FARMtastic makes its rounds over South Mississippi, residents, businesses, schools, and community organizations come together to ensure that participants have a great time.

Three older men wearing suits stand next to each other.

William Hall “Corn Club” Smith,  Francis J. Lundy, Alphonse Marks, Hobson Waits, Lester Spell, and Harry Dendy have been recognized for their contributions to 4-H.

Nine men and women stand in front of a metal building.

A dream of the Mississippi Pest Control Association and the Mississippi State University Extension Service is coming true after more than 20 years, thanks to a generous donation by one of Mississippi’s oldest pest-control companies.




Message from the Director

Dr. Gary

The groundwork has been laid not only for another growing season, but also for Extension to continue extending knowledge to all Mississippi residents to make their lives better.

Who uses Extension in Mississippi? It’s farmers. It’s families. It’s young people. It’s communities. Here in Extension, we’re focused on the future at the county level, the regional level, and the state level. We deliver Extension education both in person and by device, and our agents, specialists, and faculty are building the personal relationships that Mississippians trust for research-based information.

Every person featured in this magazine has a personal connection with Extension and is “paying it forward,” developing additional connections in their local communities and beyond.

Producers from the Delta, including one participant in the inaugural Thad Cochran Agricultural Leadership Program, participate in Extension educational and training opportunities and then share what they learn with their neighbors to conserve resources and help the next generation of farmers. Ruby Beckley, a Mississippi 4-H volunteer leader in Lee County for more than 50 years, shares her story of service and connection with people of all ages, from all walks of life. Likewise, Mississippi 4-H President Jaylin Smith is passionate about a life of service; she’s using the leadership skills she’s learned in Leflore County to make a difference in other young people’s lives.

In the southern part of the state, Extension is benefiting the local community and economy through a partnership with Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United and Vietnamese Fisherfolk to clean up tons of marine debris. Also, a Hinds County business owner, a participant in the expansion of MSU’s Davis Wade and Polk-DeMent stadiums, tells how working with Extension helped his company stay in compliance with state environmental quality standards.

From promoting conservation initiatives that protect and preserve our way of life, to delivering educational programs that teach our children values and service, Extension fosters partnerships that improve Mississippians’ quality of life. Our commitment to Mississippi and its people continues, and we look forward to working together through this growing season, the harvest, and the years to come.


Gary Jackson
Director, MSU Extension Service