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Dr. Rocky Lemus, Extension forage specialist

Extension/Research Professor Named Co-Investigator on $1 Million Grant

Compiled by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program recently announced a $1 million research and education grant. The group named Dr. Rocky Lemus, a Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist, a co-investigator.

The team, also including researchers from Virginia and Arkansas, is working to identify practical and regionally appropriate methods of regenerative grazing that can be implemented across the Southeast to improve soil health. Set to be completed in 2024, the grant will mobilize a multistate network of landowners conducting on-farm trials. By focusing on small to mid-sized family-owned farms and ranches, the project will prioritize underserved and socially disadvantaged producers.

Other grant partners include Understanding Ag LLC, Holistic Management International, JG Research and Evaluation, the Virginia Association for Biological Farming, and Virginia Tech University.

A smiling man wearing a blue suit jacket and plaid shirt.
Dr. David Buys, Extension state health specialist and associate professor

Extension State Health Specialist Receives Multistate Research Excellence Award

Compiled by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson

Dr. David Buys, the Mississippi State University Extension Service state health specialist and associate professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion, has been honored by a USDA multistate group, NE:1939, for his research in helping aging adults live better, longer lives. The group works to improve the health of aging adults, in both rural and urban environments, through diet and physical activity.

Along with his research, Buys mentors undergraduate and graduate students on aging-related topics and has instructed more than 45 dietetic interns as part of their training, which includes learning about and delivering aging and community-based nutrition services. Age-related work has been a focus for Buys since 2008, and, over the past 2 years, he has released 13 publications, presented to communities 19 times, and mentored more than a dozen undergraduate and graduate students on NE:1939-related projects.

A smiling man stands in front of a sign advertising the Southern Rural Development Center
Russ Garner, Extension and research associate with the Southern Rural Development Center

Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Graduates an Extension/Research Associate

Compiled by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson

Russ Garner, an Extension and research associate with the Southern Rural Development Center housed at Mississippi State University, graduated from the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy.

Garner is one of three Mississippi graduates of the academy in 2020. These regional leaders are equipped to improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt. The program empowers fellows with the tools, experiences, and networks to address local and regional challenges, improve decision-making and policy development, and strengthen leadership capacity and mutual understanding of regional, state, and local cultures and issues.

After graduation, Garner became a member of the Delta Leadership Network, which includes more than 500 community leaders who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing, and innovative thinking.

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The AIM for CHangE program held a food security conference.

AIM for CHangE Hosts Public Administrators at Food Security Conference

By Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson

In early May, the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s AIM for CHangE program held “Public Administrators and Food Security: A Path to Healthy, Vibrant Mississippi Communities” for public officials and community coalition leaders.

AIM for ChangeE, which stands for Advancing, Inspiring, and Motivating for Community Health through Extension, hosted Extension agents, grant specialists, and program managers, who shared the best practices for public administrators’ work with food security initiatives. Other topics included opportunities to increase food access and responses to the many barriers officials face.

Most participants represented counties in the Mississippi Delta, and several officials began developing plans to improve food access in their communities. Extension and the Mississippi Public Health Institute cosponsored the conference.

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Extension Matters cover volume 7 number 3.

Related Publications

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