The Mississippi rice industry is stronger and better equipped to meet the challenges ahead due to Joe Street's career as the state's Extension rice specialist, rice growers told Street at the Delta's recent annual Rice Council meeting in Cleveland, Miss.

Members of the Mississippi Rice Council, the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, Delta Council and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation joined at the meeting to acknowledge the significant contributions Street has made to the advancement of the state's rice industry during the past 20 years.

In addition to serving as Extension rice specialist, Street has worked as a researcher and professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss.

Street was named station director for the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, Miss., in December. Tim Walker of Cleveland, Miss., now serves as Extension rice specialist for the state.

In other news, Angus Catchot Jr. is Mississippi's new Extension cotton and soybean entomologist. He replaces long-time cotton entomologist Blake Layton who has changed positions, and now is Extension's urban entomologist at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.

Catchot comes to Mississippi State University's campus from Tifton, Ga., where he conducted research and demonstration plots for Monsanto. A native of Biloxi, Miss., he has doctorate, master's and bachelor's degrees in entomology from Mississippi State University. Catchot is also a certified crop advisor, and is a member of the Southern Weed Science Society, the Mississippi Agricultural Industry Council, and the Entomological Society of America.

At the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss., John Coccaro replaces the retiring Charles Estes as Northwest District Director for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Coccaro assumed his new duties March 1.

Since 1990, Coccaro has served as area Extension agent for agronomic crops and 4-H, based in Sharkey County, Miss. He is also currently MACAA state president.

Coccaro received both his bachelor's degree in agriculture and his master's degree in Extension education from Mississippi State University. He began his career with the Extension Service in 1983 as an assistant county agent for Yazoo County, Miss., and later worked as the 4-H youth agent in that county.