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History of Extension

The University was established in 1878 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi. It became part of the nation's land-grant system created by the Morrill Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1862. Its mission was to educate students in "agriculture, horticulture, and the mechanic arts...without excluding other scientific and classical studies."

LeeAlthough the University has greatly expanded its educational opportunities in a number of arts and sciences disciplines, its commitment to agriculture has not diminished. For more than a century, this commitment has benefitted Mississippi's major industry and all of its people in immeasurable ways. The University's Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine exists because of the state and the nation's commitment to making America's food and fiber system the most effective one in the world. That commitment dates to the mid-19th century and is as up-to-date as the space age. As a matter of fact, agriculture forms the indispensable base on which all our modern technological and economic advances rest.

The nation's more successful farmers have always been those that sought the most reliable information about agricultural practices. Among their ranks are founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. These gentlemen farmers maintained detailed production records and networks of contacts for information exchange.

As the United States developed, influential men like Washington and Jefferson expressed greater interest in a more scientific approach to agriculture. At the same time, interest in the general welfare of the common people increased. The federal government responded with a series of actions beginning with the establishing of the United States Department of Agriculture as a Presidential cabinet-level department in 1862.

Broader training and deeper scholarship in production and marketing of agricultural products was needed to enhance the nation's major industry. This need fueled one of the nation's greatest contributions to modern education--the agricultural and mechanical college. This approach to education combined the scholarly with the practical with the avowed purpose of improving opportunity for the masses.

The Morrill Act of 1882 established these colleges nationwide. Called the land-grant system, this class of colleges was originally endowed by grants of public lands in the developing western United States. Mississippi joined the movement with the first assignment of land-grant funding to Alcorn University and the University of Mississippi in 1871. The State A&M College near Starkville was established as Mississippi's land-grant institution in 1878.

HatchIn 1887, the Hatch Act established the agricultural experiment station system, modeled on European stations, but with a distinctly American interest in applied research. The Mississippi legislature responded with its experiment station act in 1888. Although the federal act bears the name of Missouri's William Henry Hatch, significant credit must be given to our state's Senator James Z. George. He introduced the first experiment station bill in 1885 only to see it stall in the House of Representatives.

The Second Morrill Act, passed in 1890 after 18 years of debate, provided for direct annual appropriations to each state to support its land-grant college.

The existence of land-grant colleges and experiment stations resulted in a growing logjam of knowledge that needed to be made available to the farmer and farm family in the field. A variety of activities including farmers institutes, agricultural societies, and corn and tomato clubs tried to meet these needs. In response, the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established cooperative extension work.

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News

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Filed Under: 4-H, Leadership, Extension Program Priorities January 14, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State University Extension Service has been awarded a grant that will help educate, recruit and retain tribal students from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) to succeed in college and in a career. 

MSU and the Choctaw Division of Education signed a memorandum of understanding designed to strengthen partnerships between the university and the Choctaw tribe. The memorandum is associated with the grant, “New Beginning for Tribal Students,” awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Filed Under: About Extension, County Extension Offices, Extension Administration November 18, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service is modifying its administrative structure to commit more resources for county level staffing.

Upon Steve Martin’s return to his primary role as MSU Extension associate director Nov. 16, his title changed to Associate Director for County Operations.

Filed Under: Extension Administration, Crops November 5, 2021

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Jeff Gore, a long-time Mississippi State University entomologist and researcher, has been named interim head of the MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.

Gore, an entomologist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the MSU Extension Service, will begin this position Nov. 16, 2021, serving up to one year in a management and supervisory capacity at the center. He has been stationed at the Delta center since 2007.

Girl wading knee-deep in water measuring its depth with a yardstick
Filed Under: Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, Environment May 26, 2021

Like sea levels, expenses related to flooding in communities and businesses along the Gulf Coast are rising.

One student spent last summer investigating ways to mitigate these costs while enhancing approaches to shoreline protection during her time in the Mississippi State University Extension Undergraduate Apprenticeship program. The program is targeted toward high-achieving undergraduates from across the country to give them firsthand experiences in research and extension to understand how research can be applied.

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Filed Under: County Extension Offices April 8, 2021

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State University Extension Service in Pearl River County has a new temporary location after the building housing its office sustained irreparable damage from an overnight fire.

Located at 204 South Julia Street in Poplarville behind the county courthouse, the facility is scheduled to be operational by April 16. The main office number, 601-403-2280, is still active for clients in need of assistance. MSU Extension operations in Pearl River County will take place at this location indefinitely.

Success Stories

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About Extension
Volume 7 Number 3

Dear friends,

As you read the powerful client testimonies featured in Extension Matters, you can see the positive impact of Extension’s programs in agriculture, youth development, conservation, healthy living, and community building. Your generosity can help Extension accomplish even more!

A man with hands in his pockets stands smiling in front of a large concrete building.
Extension Program Development Teams, Economic Development
Volume 2 Number 3

Staggers encourages individuals, businesses to support Extension

Contributing to the Mississippi State University Extension Service just got a little easier. William “Will” Staggers joined the MSU Foundation in December 2015 as an assistant director of development. He works to attract additional support for Extension’s research-based educational programs, facilities, professional development, and other needs.

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About Extension
Volume 2 Number 2

Mississippi Shines as Spotlight State at Sunbelt Ag Expo

The MSU Extension Service, along with Alcorn State University, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Mississippi Farm Bureau, hosted the Spotlight State building at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, North America’s premier farm show, in October 2015.

Three signs with “Handwashing Station Here,” “Keep a 6-foot distance from others,” and "Hand Sanitizer Here” next to a large watermelon sculpture.
4-H, Disaster Response-Youth, Extension Administration, Community, City and County Government, Disaster Response, Family, Children and Parenting, MSU Extension Head Start, Health, Coronavirus
Volume 6 Number 2

Mississippi Small Businesses Receive Extension Support

When federal and state lending programs specifically geared toward small businesses were announced as part of the government’s response to natural disasters and COVID-19, Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel went into action to distribute information to Mississippi Main Street’s businesses, organizations, and farmers markets.

A woman wearing a white visor, maroon shirt, jeans, and boots marks a clipboard as five cows and three calves rest under a tree.
About Extension, Beef, Marketing and Business Planning, Rural Development, Food, Food Safety, Health, Nutrition, Rural Health
Volume 4 Number 3

See what's new in Extension: Gather for First Extension Beef-Production Workshop, the Food Factor Goes Digital, Extension Professionals Share Expertise, and Extension Offers New HappyHealthy Program. 

Watch

Voices From The Flood 5 | A Community Rising
Voices from the Flood

Part 5: A Community Rising

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 8:00am
Voices From The Flood 4 | The Hidden Costs
Voices from the Flood

Part 4: The Hidden Costs

Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 8:00am
Voices From The Flood 3 | The Economic Loss
Voices from the Flood

Part 3: The Economic Loss

Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 8:00am
Voices From The Flood 2 | A Perfect Storm
Voices from the Flood

Part 2: The Perfect Storm

Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 8:00am

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