Brown Loam renamed in honor of long-time leader

Brown Loam renamed in honor of long-time leader

E.G. "Gene" Morrison spent more than 40 years with Mississippi State University, where he devoted his career to research projects aimed at improving livestock production methods. (Photo By: Kevin Hudson)

By: Susan M. Collins-Smith

On Nov. 20, 2014, former colleagues, friends and family celebrated with him as the MSU Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station was named in his honor. Morrison, a native of Utica, served at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station facility as superintendent for 33 years, beginning in 1956.

"I am deeply humbled and appreciative of this honor," Gene Morrison said to the large crowd gathered. "I have been looking forward to this day for a long time, and I am honored that all of you and my family could be here with me today."

While at Brown Loam, Morrison strived to advance production efficiency for central Mississippi beef cattle and sheep producers. He brought regional notoriety to MSU and Brown Loam with his work on grazing newly-weaned beef calves on cool-season forages.

"You had a purpose in your life, and it shows in the life of your family and your service to your community and your state," said George Hopper, director of the MSU Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. "It is very fitting that we are going to place your name on this facility forever in honor of your work."

Sherry Surrette, head of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center, thanked Morrison for his dedication to Mississippi producers.

"We are grateful to you for the years of work you did here to better the wellbeing of our producers," Surrette said. "We could not be more proud to have your name on this station."

Morrison also was recognized as an excellent teacher. He shared his research results with livestock producers, MSU Extension Service agents and industry professionals, even before a formal relationship existed between the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

"You were a man ahead of your time," said Gary Jackson, director of the MSU Extension Service. "You developed a close working relationship between the research unit and Extension at Mississippi State University. You laid a great foundation for the kind of work we do today for our state."

Mississippi Senator Perry Lee, who was an agent with the MSU Extension Service for 28 years, worked closely with Morrison.

"I know the dedication of the station is something that comes from a lot of hearts to you today," Lee said. "You have been an integral part of the ability of two units in the land grant system to come together and use the research to help the people. People in this state have benefited a great deal from your hard work and sweat at this station."

As a hands-on leader, Morrison was well-respected, not only by clients and colleagues, but also by the employees at the station, Lee said.

Morrison said much of his success is owed to the team of employees he worked with at the station.

"It was my privilege to work alongside an untiring workforce to do the research the people in the state needed to prosper," Morrison said. "Without the unselfish dedication of all the employees during my tenure, I could not have accomplished what I did. I owe all of them a debt of gratitude."

After earning a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from MSU in 1949, Morrison completed his master's degree at the University of Tennessee in 1951. He then returned to MSU as livestock production leader at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, where he served until his move to Brown Loam.

Morrison was named the first head of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in 1990 after its creation the year before. He retired on June 30, 1992, after 40.5 years of service.

He has remained an active member of the Mississippi Farm Bureau and the Mississippi Cattlemen's Association. He was inducted into the Mississippi Cattlemen's Association Hall of Fame in 1992 for his commitment to improving the state's beef cattle industry. He is a member of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Learned and a U.S. Army veteran.

The Gene Morrison Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station encompasses 1,700 acres southwest of Raymond in Hinds County. Researchers at the facility study beef cattle, forages, soybeans, corn and conservation management.

It is one of three research facilities under the supervision of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center.

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