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State Prepares New Agriculture Agenda
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University established an agenda Wednesday to grow the Mississippi economy through agriculture, forestry and rural community development.
Dr. Malcolm Portera, MSU president, laid out a road map to the more than 450 leaders gathered in Jackson for the second Agriculture and Forestry Summit. The group heard the recommendations of task forces formed a year ago to study several aspects of Mississippi's economy.
"Under the leadership of Dr. Rodney Foil, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, Mississippi State brought a group of people together a year ago to develop an agenda for the state of Mississippi that takes it into the 21st century," Portera said. "They developed an agenda for the economy of the state of Mississippi and described the role that the land-grant institution (MSU) must play in assisting the state to expand its economy."
The recommendations deal with the home, workplace and marketplace. They cover such initiatives as strengthening families and preparing youth for the workforce. Task force members want to ensure that MSU focuses on initiatives that provide the greatest economic and social returns, and marketing the state and its ag and forestry products more effectively.
Portera outlined four steps to follow.
"We must get about implementing the recommendations of the task groups in this report," Portera said.
To keep the project moving forward, Portera said MSU will form a steering group to see that the recommendations are followed.
"Accountability is important to the state, but it is also critically important to Mississippi State University," Portera said.
The third step is to create a public/private partnership. Such a partnership will link government, education and business leaders in the state to lead changes to improve the economy.
Next year, a third Agriculture and Forestry Summit will convene to report the progress.
"We're going to lay the agenda out to you and account for what we've done," Portera said. The university will also support the other stakeholders in their efforts to meet the agenda.