The Mississippi State University Extension Service provides research-based information and educational programs that focus on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi. An overall goal for the Mississippi State University Extension Service is to be a leader for positive change for individuals, families, and communities.
Extension continues to look for better ways to deliver information. Through computer and distance-learning technology, educational information is instantly available to agents and clients. If you find a topic of interest, please visit the Extension website.
Extension specialists in Animal and Dairy Sciences provide information to cattle producers on a variety of topics including hay and feed sources, disease and disaster preparedness, and sales programs. Extension specialists also provide specialized training to producers including the Mississippi Master Cattle Producer Training, Quality Assurance Programs and other Certifications.
Mississippi has a small, but active dairy industry, scattered across the state. While the number of dairy farms is decreasing, which follows a national trend, the state is trying to capitalize on the abundant forages available in the state. Extension specialists in Animal and Dairy Sciences are committed to the state's dairy producers, providing field days and other programming events throughout the year.
The Mississippi horse industry plays a significant role in the state's economy and is a growing segment of Mississippi agriculture. The horse population in Mississippi has been recently estimated at 113,063 with an investment of $877.45 million in horse inventory and operations. Extension specialists in Animal and Dairy Sciences help horse owners with disease and disaster preparedness, hay and commodity feed source directories, and other areas of need.
Small ruminant livestock include goats and sheep. Goats produce milk for drinking or for cheese production, gourmet meat (commonly called cabrito in the Southwest and chevron in the North), leather, and fiber for clothing (cashmere or mohair). An economically inviting aspect of goat production is the raising of animals for meat. Extension Specialists in Animal and Dairy Sciences assist small ruminant owners with a variety of educational products.
The swine industry has changed in the state. Small operations, producing feeder pigs as a source of supplemental income, have changed to farrow through finish operations and company owned contract production where swine is a major source of income. Extension specialists in Animal and Dairy Sciences assist growers with production management, waste management, herd health, and nutrition, among other items.
The 4-H Youth program is one of the oldest and largest informal educational efforts in public education in the United States. The junior livestock program is a unique opportunity to use live animals to develop the youth. Youth learn about agriculture and livestock production and develop an appreciation for the livestock industry, but the main objectives are to teach life skills and help youth become productive citizens of our society. The experience of youth owning and working with animals, being responsible for their care, health, and growth, and exhibiting them in a competitive environment is a tremendous character building process.