Extension office has busy year, looks ahead

From staff reports

 

The Winston County Extension office staff held its annual County Board of Supervisor’s luncheon January 6 to discuss the agencies 2013 successes and 2014 plans.

“We are here and available to serve everyone in the county,” said Mike Skipper, Winston County Extension Director as he opened the discussion about how the Extension office adds to every facet of Winston County.

Skipper noted his staff’s involvement in the schools helping educate students on good health to natural resources. He noted that those education programs also extend over to adult programs in the community as well.

“We have been reaching out and teaching the importance of physical activity, eating health and living better,” said Skipper.

He noted one example of this was the raised beds community garden project which promoted physical activity through gardening; eating natural health foods from the garden; and living better by playing a role in a community that worked together on the gardens.

“We are here to improve the quality of life,” said Skipper.

He applauded the staff for working hard and addressing some many needs in the county and the office had a large increase in calls and visits.

Skipper noted that with a busy staff and all working efficiently as possible that volunteers are always helpful to keep programs working well. He then recognized those who had volunteered in past years with the agency’s programs.

He discussed the impact the extension office has on economic development in all industries but especially those impacted by agricultural and natural resources.

He noted that the timber and poultry industry were strong in Winston County and were Mississippi’s top two agricultural commodities. He added both maintained their strength in 2013 which added to the positive economics in the county.

Poultry, the state’s No. 1 agricultural commodity, is estimated at $2.7 billion, which is 10 percent more than in 2012 and 13 percent more than the five-year average. Forestry, the state’s No. 2 crop, is valued at $1.17 billion, an increase of almost 15 percent from 2012 and 17 percent above the five-year average.

Skipper noted that the timber industry should continue to see growth as the biofuels market continued to gain strength. He added that the Extension office staff helped land owners to produce, market, and understand the needs of the timber industry. This training for the landowners not only helped the landowners but also the buyers of the timber.

Editor’s note: Some material gained from MSU Ag Communications.