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Joe Street retiring after 35 years in MSU Extension Service leadership roles

STARKVILLE, Miss. — After decades of service to Mississippi State University, a long-time scientist and administrator is retiring.

Joe Street had a key role in developing Mississippi's rice industry.

Joe Street had a key role in developing Mississippi’s rice industry.

Joe Street, associate director for agriculture and natural resources with the MSU Extension Service, will retire April 30.

Street began his career at MSU in 1980 as a plant physiologist for the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Stoneville and spent 17 years in that position. An early proponent of growing rice in the Delta, Street played a key role in developing Mississippi’s rice industry. For six years, he held a joint appointment as an Experiment Station scientist and MSU Extension specialist for rice before moving into administrative roles.

Street was the interim head, then head, of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona from 2003 to 2005. He served as head of the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville from 2005 to 2008.

Street began work as an associate director in 2008, and served as the interim Extension director for six months in 2009. He focused on promoting and supporting the state’s agricultural producers and natural resources.

In addition to his career at MSU, Street served in the U.S. Army, the Alabama Army National Guard and the Mississippi National Guard. He retired in 1998 as a lieutenant colonel.

Extension Director Gary Jackson said Street has dedicated his life to Mississippi State.

“Joe has been a champion for all aspects of agriculture and the Mississippians responsible for producing our food, fiber and fuel,” Jackson said.

Gibb Steele of Steele Farms in Washington County, the 2008 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Farmer of the Year for Mississippi, has known Street for more than 20 years. Steele said he relied on Street’s knowledge of rice production practices.

“He lived here and was readily accessible, willing to do whatever we needed him to do,” Steele said. “One time I had a serious issue, and he came out and helped me figure out what to do. He was always helpful.”

Street’s legacy in the Delta extends beyond his rice expertise.

“There is nobody in modern times who has provided more leadership and keen insight into production agriculture in the Delta than Joe Street,” said Travis Satterfield, a producer in Bolivar County and chairman of the Delta Council Farm Policy Committee. “His is a household name, in terms of those things related to research and Extension when it comes to the Stoneville station.”

During his career, Street received numerous awards for service, research and education, including the national 2007 Rice Industry Award for his development of herbicide labels and academic contributions to the rice industry. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored a chapter in the 2002 book “Rice: Origin, History, Technology and Production.”

Street is married to the former Susan Boyd. They have two grown daughters and six grandchildren.

Street’s retirement reception will be  from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 at the Bost Extension Center.

 

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