Dr. Jairo Diaz awarded grant to aid farmers

Dr. Jairo Diaz, director of the Mississippi River Research Center, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture, and program leader for the Environmental Science Emphasis Program, School of Agriculture, Extension, Research and Applied Sciences, now serves as project director of a recently awarded grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).

Awarded in the amount of $499,794 the grant will be used to support Alcorn State University’s Research and Extension programs by promoting rural community development, economic growth, and sustainability.

According to Diaz, the funds awarded by this grant will be used for a project aimed at helping growers adopt sustainable irrigation technology on their farms “to improve their income while minimizing negative impacts to the environment. There are nearly 42,000 farms in Mississippi, of which 92% are classified as small, who could benefit from this research.”

Another component of the program includes an educational initiative for small and limited-resource growers, by which they can improve the productivity and economic viability of both their farms and the communities they serve.

Applicable from January 2015 through January 2018, the project is supported by the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a competitive program of the USDA-NIFA.

“This project is stakeholder driven and is being developed with significant input from small fruit and vegetable growers and groups, as well as with close collaboration from Mississippi State University, the state’s other land-grant institution,” said Diaz.

For more information on this and other sustainable agricultural projects at Alcorn State University, contact Dr. Jairo Diaz at (601) 877-3368 or at [email protected].

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