MSU representatives hear client needs, concerns

MSU representatives hear client needs, concerns

Mississippi State University representatives met with agricultural clients in Ellisville recently to discuss research and education needs for 2018. More than 115 individuals attended this year's event.

By: Susan M. Collins-Smith

The Coastal Research and Extension Center's annual Producer Advisory Council brings together industry leaders, producers from the region's 21 counties and MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural Forestry and Experiment Station agents, specialists and researchers.

"This is an important step in providing you with the information you need," said James Henderson, head of the Coastal Research and Extension Center.

Wayne Porter, regional Extension coordinator for the region, emphasized the significance of the council.

"We can't solve a problem unless we know about it," he said to the group gathered at Jones County Junior College Ronald E. Whitehead Advanced Technology Center in Ellisville. "So, let us know today what you need from us. Maybe you need more information, training or research on a particular topic. We may need to train our agents on a particular topic to help meet your needs."

Extension Service Director Gary Jackson expressed his appreciation to the clients who attended the meeting and those who share their input throughout the year.

"This process is so important to us because it informs us on what we should be focused on," he said. "Your support of MSU and all of our agricultural units and Extension is critical to the work we do. I greatly appreciate your support."

Nine commodity groups met during breakout sessions: bees, forestry, livestock, poultry, agricultural crops, fruits and vegetables, commercial and home horticulture, horse and small ruminants, and seafood and aquaculture.

Beekeepers said they want continued vigilance on biological controls of Chinese tallow trees and flea beetles. They requested information about how to ensure commercial beekeepers who overwinter their bees in the state are licensed and permitted. They also asked for information on sources for pollinator-friendly plants and seeds and more frequent newsletters from Extension.

Representatives of the forestry group requested help with developing new markets, hands-on programs about controlled burning, and more information about cost-share programs for chemicals that control invasive species.

The livestock group asked for more research on the long-term effects of minerals and low-stress handling of cattle. They requested more education on hay testing and pasture weed control. They expressed concern about a bill that would affect timely transport of livestock.

Poultry producers said they want more education on water quality testing, prevention and symptoms of bird flu, and proper biosecurity for commercial and backyard flocks. They requested information about options for recycling chicken waste.

Agricultural crops representatives requested more information on varieties, fertility, new technologies, and disease, insect and weed management.

The fruit and vegetable group said they want more variety development of unique crops and information on marketing. The also would like to have programs that help educate the public about protecting pollinators and immigrant labor laws that affect their employees.

Representatives of the commercial and home horticulture group said they want education on marketing local products and management of crepe myrtle bark scale and rose rosette disease. They would also like more research and education about tea production. The group was also informed about the network to help monitor downy mildew on cucurbit crops, as well as the Master Floral Design Program and cut flower research.

Members of the horse and small ruminant group said they want more field days, education programs for beginners and more education for young people.

Seafood and aquaculture representatives asked for more education on red snapper regulations and living shorelines as alternatives to bulkheads.

The Coastal Research and Extension Center links the coastal region to Mississippi State University. Experiment Station researchers and Extension agents and specialists strive to conduct research and educational programs that improve the quality of life of Mississippians and other Gulf Coast states' residents.

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