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Letter from the Dean and Director of Land-Grant Programs
Barry L. Bequette, PhD Dean and Director of Land-Grant Programs
Agriculture at Alcorn State University is very broad and comprehensive, yet we are focused in our programs and research projects. We work with and support a largely underserved region of the state of Mississippi including small-and-limited-resource farmers, and we do so very effectively, and efficiently. It is our intent to leverage every appropriated dollar, to maximize our economic and personal impact on Mississippians.
Alcorn State is a driving force in Mississippi higher education, and a leader in developing the bright minds that exist throughout Mississippi, the nation, and the world. We are on the verge of tremendous growth in academics, service, and research capabilities. It is evident that the State of Mississippi has made a tremendous investment in Alcorn State, and as a result the State has reaped both tangible and intangible rewards….rewards that far exceed the funds that have been invested.
The Alcorn State University Ag Unit is conducting research totaling nearly $30 million dollars. Our increase in research activity continually exceeds the amount of funding provided by the state of Mississippi for our programs. Based on the state funds allocated to the Agricultural Experiment Station, every seven pennies invested in the Experiment Station by the state of Mississippi, returns one dollar to the state economy. Beyond this direct impact, the Alcorn Ag Unit creates further economic development through research projects that support our small-and-limited-resource farmers, and creates economic stimulus through business development and enhancement. We are an integral collaborator with the USDA through our efforts as a land-grant university, and we continue to significantly impact national farm policy. This fiscal year we began a $300,000 USDA planning grant to develop an independent Small Farm Policy Institute, to advise and provide input to the USDA concerning small farm and ranch policy.
Our Small Farm Development Center has made over $3.2 million in small, but extremely important loans, averaging $10 thousand each to small scale farmers…returning an estimated economic impact of $13 million dollars.
Funds provided to agricultural research and Extension at Alcorn State, stimulate economic and personal development in areas that are largely not serviced.
Alcorn State University’s School of Agriculture impacts every county in the state, but greatly impacts the Delta and Southwest Mississippi…and we do that well. We work with a segment of farmers, ranchers and agricultural industries that drive an important part of Mississippi’s economy.