Alcorn officials meet with Mississippi Legislature to solicit additional funding for agricultural upgrades

Some members of the Alcorn State University president’s cabinet and the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences met with the Mississippi Legislature to solicit funding for agriculture projects on campus during a Senate Committee Appropriations meeting Monday, Jan. 23, in Jackson, Mississippi.

Attaining better facilities, faculty members with specialized research skills, equitable salaries, and resources to reach a broader audience were several needs discussed during the hearing.

Dr. Dexter Wakefield, interim dean for the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, spoke about how increased funding would assist the University in its progress.

“This level of funding would impact our ability to recruit, hire, retain, and reward top-tier talent,” said Wakefield. “It would also impact our ability to enhance research efforts and community outreach. Additional funding would allow us to renovate our facilities while strengthening our research in one of Mississippi’s leading career pathways for our students.”

Wakefield also mentioned assistance with growing Alcorn’s recently completed poultry research and demonstration facility. Wakefield said that assistance from the state would allow the University to enhance and expand its facilities.

Expanding its beef research was also one of Wakefield’s priorities, as the School intends to use the possible funding to expand beef research, training, extension, and outreach programs. Wakefield said that the School also hopes to expand its environmental and science, horticulture, and shitake mushroom research production programs.

Alcorn President Dr. Felecia M. Nave expressed the critical need for more funding to ensure the University could deliver a modern education to its students.

“The nature of agriculture is changing,” said Nave. “To ensure that we’re staying ahead of the curve, additional resources are necessary to renovate our facilities, modernize, and acquire equipment that will be used in agriculture in the future. We’re onboarding new programs and research areas, and we’re making that we contribute at the state and national level.”

Other Alcorn personnel in attendance at the meeting were Dr. Marcus Ward, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the ASU Foundation; Dr. Franklin Chukwuma, Associate Director for Extension, School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences; and Dr. Chunquan Zhang, Associate Director for Research, School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.