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MSU Extension welcomes sweet potato specialist
PONTOTOC, Miss. -- Mississippi State University recently welcomed a new sweet potato specialist.
Lorin Harvey joined the MSU Extension Service after completing postdoctoral work with sweet potatoes at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station, which is part of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center. He is also a faculty member in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Harvey is based at the Pontotoc branch experiment station and will provide Extension programs to help sweet potato growers statewide.
Harvey, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, said he is focused on meeting the needs of Mississippi’s sweet potato industry.
“My goal is to develop a producer-driven Extension and research program using a hands-on approach,” he said. “I want our state’s growers to be involved and invested in the direction that sweet potato research takes and benefit from the results of that research through science-based information shared in statewide and local Extension programs.”
Harvey is involved in several projects that cover all aspects of sweet potato production, including insect and weed control, food safety procedures, virus testing protocols, production strategies to improve yield, and methods to reduce labor requirements for harvest and packing.
In addition, Harvey, who has a background in plant breeding and genetics, plans to begin work on developing new sweet potato varieties.
“It’s a very long process to release new varieties, but I’m hopeful we will see some promising results in the next few years to present to growers,” he said.
Harvey earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Iowa State University. He holds both a master’s degree and doctorate in plant breeding and genetics from Texas A&M University.
He is a member of the Weed Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy and American Society for Horticultural Science.