Ag grad students to compete in farmer-judged competition

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University graduate students studying applied row crop agriculture will present their research findings before industry representatives at a new contest.

The first Future of Agriculture Graduate Student Competition will begin at 7:55 a.m. Feb. 7 at the Bost Extension Center. The master’s competition features two groups speaking from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and one doctoral competition from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. An awards reception will follow the final presentation.

The contest is a way for MSU professors and specialists to give their students more experience presenting their research before an audience. It also gives industry scouts a chance to meet MSU students early in their careers.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of jobs available to students with experience in applied production agriculture,” said Angus Catchot, an agronomic crops entomologist with MSU’s Extension Service. “The agricultural industry is looking for young, talented individuals to employ, and we wanted to show them how much our students have to offer.”

The contest is unique in two ways. Weed science, entomology, agronomy and plant pathology students will compete against each other, rather than against peers within their specialties; and farmers and crop consultants, rather than professors, will serve as judges for the event.

Agriculture industry professionals and members of the public are invited to attend the presentations. Topics will include a wide range of current row crop issues, including plant pests, weed control and precision planting.

MSU’s Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board are sponsoring the event.

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