Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center welcomes new leadership

Curt Lacy

Curt Lacy (Photo By: Office of Agricultural Communications)

By: Meg Henderson

A Mississippi State research and extension center welcomes a new department head who brings extensive knowledge, experience and strong university roots to the job. Curt Lacy, extension professor and interim associate director for county operations, steps into his new role at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond Oct. 16.

Lacy's history at MSU goes back more than three decades, beginning with his bachelor's degree in agricultural and extension education and-years later-his master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics.

Prior to his 2015 return to MSU to serve as regional coordinator for the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, he served as an area specialist for the University of Tennessee's Agricultural Extension Service and as an associate professor and extension coordinator in the University of Georgia's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. He also is a graduate of the Food Systems Leadership Institute and LEAD-21 program, two national peer leadership communities.

Lacy has overseen county operations for the MSU Extension Service for the last year. Steve Martin, MSU Extension interim director, said Lacy has a strong ability to see and meet needs.

"Curt has shown exemplary performance as the interim associate director for county operations, leading agents to meet the needs of their residents through programming in youth development, agriculture and forestry, family and consumer sciences and community resource and economic development," Martin said. "I know he will be a great leader at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center."

The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, or MAFES, has three branch stations in the central region at Newton, Raymond and Crystal Springs. Scott Willard, MAFES director, said Lacy will bring important contributions to the meaningful work in this area of the state.

"Our research in central Mississippi includes beef cattle, forages, ornamentals, vegetable crops and row crops," Willard said. "As an agricultural economist, Curt understands the importance of research to increase production while decreasing inputs and conserving the environment. I am confident in his ability to lead the region in applied research that directly impacts Mississippians."

Lacy explained that he looks forward to engaging with the center's faculty and staff, as well as regional stakeholders and producers, and learning more about the needs and opportunities for research and commercial production in central Mississippi.

"Our research and extension centers may be far from the main campus, but they have the advantage of putting MSU scientists close to producers, stakeholders and landowners across Mississippi," he said. "This system keeps us in touch with what's going on in these geographic regions across our diverse state and helps us ensure that our research is relevant to all Mississippians."

He also deeply values his experience at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville and sees those years as having built a strong foundation for his next enterprise.

"I've been part of a winning team at the Delta Research and Extension Center and have greatly enjoyed living and working there. I've learned a lot in my eight years in Stoneville as well as my year on the main campus," he said. "And I'm very excited for the new opportunities to learn and expand MSU's impact in central Mississippi."

For more information about the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center, visit

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