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Competition introduces students to the industry
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Most student projects are done for a grade, but a Mississippi State University competition lets students see who can present research findings the best.
Graduate students studying applied row-crop agriculture will compete Feb. 6 in the second Future of Agriculture Graduate Student Competition. The competition gives them experience presenting their research findings to an audience.
The competition will begin at 7:55 a.m. in the Bost Extension Center at MSU and end when the presentations are complete. The master’s competition will feature two groups of students, and one doctoral event will be held. An awards reception will follow the competition.
Angus Catchot, an Extension agronomic crops entomologist, helped start the competition and is helping coordinate it again this year.
“There are an abundance of jobs available to students who have experience in production agriculture, but you can’t get that experience just in the classroom,” Catchot said. “We created this competition to help our students take their research to potential employers and industry professionals, which in turn can lead to job opportunities.”
Jason Bond, a Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station weed scientist, said the competition pits graduate students in the various academic departments against each other. Students studying weed science, entomology, agronomy and plant pathology will compete with each other, rather than only with fellow students in the same discipline. Professors will not hand out grades; a panel of producers, consultants and ag industry personnel will serve as judges.
“We are focusing on agronomic crop production systems,” Bond said. “We want the students to envision themselves making an Extension presentation to growers rather than a scientific presentation. We want them to present their research in the context of applied science.”
While last year’s competition was more limited, the Future of Agriculture Graduate Student Competition is open to all students who conduct research in crop production agriculture.
The Extension Service, Experiment Station and Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board are sponsoring the event.
Agriculture industry professionals and the public are invited to observe the research presentations and competition. For more information, visit the Mississippi Crop Situation blog at http://mississippi-crops.com or call Bond at 662-686-3282.