Dairy: “While some may say that dairying is on the way out in Mississippi, we believe, to the contrary, that dairying is on the way back,” said Bradley Taylor.

“The Southeast is one of the fastest-growing areas of the U.S., and we believe the 90 to 100 dairies in our state will continue to play an important role, and that the numbers will increase. Milk can’t be transported great distances economically, and our dairies help fill a vital consumer need.

“We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep this industry strong and viable. The Mississippi State University dairy herd — one of the greatest that’s ever been, both Holstein and Jersey — is in a great position to be the research leader in the Southeast and to attract more dairies.

“We would like to see this herd increased to a size adequate to supply all the milk needed for MSU’s famous and profitable cheese-making operation,” Taylor says. “And if is a deficit of milk from the MSU herd, due to seasonality or other issues, we want to be sure the supplemental milk is Mississippi milk.

“We want to continue programs on dairy sustainability, and we want to be sure that if a new group expresses an interest in starting a dairying operation in our state that we put our best foot forward and do everything we can to help them locate here.”

Taylor said the “very important position” of Extension dairy specialist needs to be replaced quickly when the current specialist leaves.”

Equine:  Rebecca Stevens: “We need to find ways to generate legislative support for horse slaughter and transporting horses to slaughter,” said Rebecca Stevens, along with programs to educate the public on the positive economic impact of horse slaughter.

“We would like assistance in supporting education programs on humane treatment, correct feeding practices, and making people aware that they shouldn’t have horses if they can’t feed them and properly care for them.

“We also want to help support educational seminars and clinics in conjunction with the new Mississippi equine specialist who is to be hired,” Stevens said. “We’re looking forward to having this new specialist in place to help with these issues.

Goats/sheep: “There is a great need for more research-based information on de-wormers that are effective in Mississippi, and more research on the different kinds of vaccines for Mississippi herds,” said John Kilpatrick.

“We need more accessible technological information so we can quickly get the information we need in emergency situations. There is also a real need for a regularly available small ruminant specialist, someone to whom we can go for the information we need. And we need more, easy to obtain information to help us in making better marketing decisions.”

Swine: “We thank the MSU Animal and Dairy Science for initiating a swine research program,” said Bob Power. “We’d like to see continued development of a method of rapid mass communication from the state level to local producers related to health concerns in all livestock species.

“We would like assistance in compliance with environmental regulations. EPA and the Department of Environmental Quality are driving an awful lot of the regulations that have an impact on our operations, and we need to know more about how to deal with them.”