Mississippi promotes agriculture at expo

Lelia Kelly, a horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, talks to a Sunbelt Ag Expo visitor about locally grown produce and Mississippi-made products on Oct. 22. PHOTO: Kevin Hudson | MSU Ag Communications

From live blues music to shrimp and catfish, visitors to the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, got quite a taste of Mississippi at the annual event.

Billed as North America’s premier farm show, the expo showcases the latest developments in agriculture-related technology, including tractors, trucks and farm equipment. Each year, one of the participating Southeastern states serves as a spotlight state and has the opportunity to put its unique accomplishments and commodities on display.

Gary Jackson, director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said key organizations worked together to provide the extensive effort required to create a fun and educational experience for expo participants.

“We appreciate the opportunity given to us by the Sunbelt Ag Expo to tell people about the many aspects of Mississippi’s No. 1 industry, agriculture,” Jackson said. “Our fellow hosts -- Alcorn State University, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Mississippi Farm Bureau -- were instrumental in coordinating displays, cooking and serving delicious food, and providing staff to meet and greet the thousands of visitors who toured the spotlight state building.

“Mississippi is fortunate to have several supportive commodity organizations that also helped take the best features of our state to Georgia,” he said.

With the theme “Sweeter in Mississippi,” expo organizers worked to highlight Mississippi’s sights, sounds and flavors while living up to the nickname, “The Hospitality State.”

In addition to sampling sugarcane, fried catfish, soy nut cookies, MSU’s Edam cheese, wild-caught shrimp, and sweet potato cake bites and biscuits, attendees were able to take home a bag of rice and try their hands at milking Maggie, the demonstration cow.

Christine Coker, an Extension horticulture specialist at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center, said representing Mississippi at the Sunbelt Ag Expo was an incredible experience.

“The sheer breadth of agriculture- and rural-living-related exhibits was tremendous,” Coker said. “It was great to network with colleagues from other states and universities about ongoing challenges and opportunities in extension and outreach, and the opportunity to interact with so many farmers and ranchers was extraordinary.”

Keri Collins Lewis | MSU Ag Communications

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