Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 1
Small town builds big online presence
The Woodville Board of Aldermen was ready. It was 2014, and the officials concluded that the city needed a website to offer residents and tourists up-to-date information about city services, community events, and tourist attractions. City Clerk Cathy McCurley was appointed to create and maintain the new website for the southwest Mississippi town. The only problem? She knew nothing about building websites.
Eupora producer earns national award
Billy Tabb got a reality check in 2003 when he told his father he wanted to farm.
“My dad is a lifelong farmer, so I was hoping he would help me get started. He told me to go to the FSA office and get a loan,” Tabb recalls. “When I got there, the lender gave me a stack of papers as thick as the Bible and wished me good luck.”
Extension food pantry serves rural community
On Tuesdays and Thursdays before lunch, Robert Jamison is usually exercising with people who have been his neighbors in Lambert for 30 years. The Quitman County Veterans Service Officer also volunteers for a food pantry there that serves about 800 local families every other month. The county does not have a grocery store, but the pantry, since it opened in 2014, has helped people in need.
Sisters use 4-H skills to produce film festival
“To successfully pull off something like that takes a lot of time and effort,” says Jan Walton, 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Grenada County, where both girls were members at the time. “They were so busy with school, 4-H, and their other extracurricular activities that their mom, Nanette, didn’t want to put that extra pressure on them. But she later warmed up to the idea, and here we are.”
Flora brothers bring small-town values to big industry
Jason and Jeremy Flora have been logging so long, they may have sawdust in their veins.
4-H volunteer invests in community kids
When Rose Coffey-Graham first began teaching children, she was just 7 years old and pressed into service by local families who needed someone to watch their kids while they picked cotton. Her teaching materials?
“I had a big tree to sit under and some cardboard, and I acted as if I was the adult,” she remembers.
For the fourth year in a row, Mississippi cotton farmers brought in more than 1,000 pounds per acre. Altogether, the Magnolia State had 420,000 acres—41 percent more than in 2015—and ranks third in the nation in cotton acreage, behind only Texas and Georgia.
Macon producer sees success with Extension collaboration
Ask Paul Good how he has succeeded in agriculture for more than 70 years, and he gives two pieces of advice: pay attention to even the smallest details when scouting crops, and take advantage of all available educational opportunities.
Extension program helps childcare employees
When the mailer arrived at Barbara Henson’s Nursery and Pre-K to invite the staff to participate in the Healthy Homes Initiative, director Beverly Henson admits she felt a twinge of surprise—and skepticism.
Cleaning Up Our Coast
About 2,400 community volunteers came together October 22 for the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup to tidy their beaches and coastal waterways.
Q&A with former 4-H'er Jerry Tony Clark II
Clark is an experienced entertainer, artistic director, producer, actor, and dancer who now lives in North Hollywood, California. He has been featured in several films, including Pitch Perfect 2 and The Maze Runner, among others.
Message from the Director
Like the other hardworking families across the Magnolia State, the Mississippi State University Extension Service family has enjoyed the holiday season. We give thanks for our state’s many leaders in agriculture, natural resources, 4-H, family and consumer sciences, and government and community development.
We appreciate the continuing opportunities we have to work with these stakeholders as 2017 unfolds. This issue of Extension Matters features several Mississippians recognized in 2016 for their leadership: Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Paul Good, Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year Billy Boyd, and Loggers of the Year Jeremy and Jason Flora. By incorporating new technologies in the field with Extension support, these men serve as examples of managers willing to evolve and adapt, as they inspire other Mississippians to embrace innovations, too.
We also feature a range of volunteers in this issue. Thousands of state residents came together along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast in October for the annual Coastal Cleanup event, which Extension directed for the first time. Also, longtime 4-H volunteer Rose Coffey-Graham shares how her years of service have inspired young people who participate in the youth development program. Finally, Extension employees and community volunteers are partnering to address the food security challenges in Quitman County.
Other stories in this issue include entrepreneurs who work with Extension to improve practices and attract customers. Two young women from Grenada County share how their leadership instruction from 4-H inspired them to begin a successful film festival, now in its third year. The city clerk in Woodville shares how Extension’s assistance in developing the small town’s website enables her team to serve residents and tourists online. A group of childcare workers in Lauderdale County recount how participating in Extension’s Healthy Homes Initiative for Child Care has improved their approaches to taking care of children.
These stories show hardworking Mississippians improving the quality of life for themselves and their neighbors by working with Extension. I hope you enjoy discovering more about these partnerships and how they are making everyday lives better all around this great state.
Director, MSU Extension Service