From Issue  Summer 2022

A Statewide Resource

By: Karen Brasher

A Statewide Resource

Mississippi is a trove of ecological diversity, from the rolling hills in the Northeast to the flat, rich farmland and endless sky of the Delta, to the sandy shores and coastal breezes along the Gulf Coast. The state’s soils are just as diverse as the changing topography and assorted weather patterns with six different soil ecoregions. A traveler would easily move through all the ecoregions by crossing the 170-mile width of the state and would certainly notice changes in weather and temperature traveling the 340-mile length of the state. In north and central Mississippi, hill country with abundant trees and vegetation contains upper thin and thick loess soil with swaths of lower coastal plain and blackland prairie soil regions. The Delta is its own soil ecoregion where flatlands are measured by rows of cropland, until you reach the mighty Mississippi. In South Mississippi, the interior flatwoods, coastal flatwoods, and lower thin and thick loess soil regions contain abundant forest resources along with the Gulf of Mexico coastline. These different soil regions require different management practices.

The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station has more than 20 off-campus farms, laboratories, and centers to meet the needs of Mississippians where they live. In the North, research is focused on non-irrigated crop production. In the Delta, research encompasses irrigation, crop, and catfish production. In the central and southern portion of the state, research in horticultural crops, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers, bode well in the warmer climate. Beef cattle research is conducted throughout the state while coastal research in the South also includes seafood aquaculture.

These MAFES Branch Experiment Stations and units are part of the community in which they are located and provide service to their neighbors. Through workshops, field days, tours, and answers to everyday questions, our doors are open to serve all Mississippians. Find the branch experiment station near you and drop by for a visit. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the research we are conducting to improve the lives of Mississippians.