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American Farm Bureau tours MSU research centers
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation co-hosted leaders of the largest nonprofit farmers' organization in the U.S. this week.
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and others with the Mississippi Farm Bureau met with agricultural producers and toured MSU research and Extension facilities across the state during their visit.
"I greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit with Mr. Duvall, and I am pleased we had an opportunity to show him the variety of innovative agricultural research and outreach taking place at Mississippi State University," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “Farm Bureau is a champion for our producers and is one of their primary voices at the national level.”
Greg Bohach, MSU vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, emphasized the importance of partnerships between the university and groups that represent producers in agriculture.
“Farm Bureau is one of the nation’s leading advocates in agriculture because the members are producers themselves or supporters of producers, and they understand the challenges and changes the industry continues to face,” Bohach said. “AFBF policy efforts have been instrumental in strengthening agricultural communities for nearly a century, and we were pleased to have the agency’s top administrators here to see firsthand Mississippi State University’s contributions to the industry.”
Duvall, AFBF director of project management Lynne Finnerty and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation president Mike McCormick toured the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, also known as the North Farm. They toured the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere-Research Facility there and discussed crop stress physiology research being conducted. They visited the College of Veterinary Medicine on the MSU campus and learned about recent antibiotic-resistance and infectious-disease research in animals. The guests also toured Prestage Farms in West Point and the Bogue Chitto Gin in Brooksville.
On the second day of their Mississippi visit, the guests went to Stoneville to meet with scientists at the Delta Research and Extension Center. The facility employs personnel from the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the MSU Extension Service.
The tour included a discussion of aquaculture research, including updates on split-pond catfish production systems, catfish vaccines and hybrid varieties. The group also viewed crop trials being used for weed-resistance and herbicide drift-mitigation research. Water quality and irrigation were also topics MSU researchers discussed with AFBF visitors, along with research on insect resistance and new invasive pests on Mississippi crops.
The group discussed wild-hog research and the new Wildlife Services National Training Academy, or NTA, housed at the Center for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts. Established in 2016, NTA is the country’s first academy specifically geared for the field of human-wildlife conflicts.
Duvall, a third-generation farmer from Georgia who has served as AFBF president since 2016, said working with land-grant universities is the best way for AFBF to achieve its mission of improving quality of life for U.S. producers.
“Land-grant universities like Mississippi State do all the research and development to promote our agriculture and keep our growers on the cutting edge so we can compete with the world,” Duvall said. “Investing in those universities and research farms is part of keeping our infrastructure alive because they’re just as important as roads and bridges. We try to keep getting that narrative across in Washington, D.C., and we try to do anything we can do to help our growers through our land-grant universities and Extension programs.”
Duvall, McCormick, Bohach and Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith were speakers for a panel discussion Thursday at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Summer Commodity Conference, which was also held in Starkville this week.
Contact: Dr. Gregory Bohach, 662-325-3006