MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss — A series of meetings around Mississippi in early March will help producers and agribusiness leaders understand conservation programs found in the new farm bill.

Charlie Forrest, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act provided for a substantial increase in funding for existing and new conservation programs.

Topics for the meetings include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program, the Conservation Security Program, the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and other similar programs. There will be a review of the regulations and guidelines for the Animal Feeding Operations and the Confined Animal Feeding Operations.

The meetings are a joint effort between the MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Farm Bureau and the Mississippi Natural Resource Conservation Service. Four meetings will be held the first week of March at various locations around the state. Each meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided and the program will conclude around 2:30 p.m.

The Forrest County Extension Office in Hattiesburg, Miss., will host a meeting on March 4.

The second meeting will be at the Neshoba County Library in Philadelphia, Miss., on March 5.

The Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss., will host the meeting on March 6.

The Tunica County (Tunica, Miss.) Development Complex will be the location for the March 7 meeting.

An abbreviated, video conference program will take place from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on March 13 at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, Miss.

Downlink sites are planned for room 409 in the Bost Building at MSU, the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville and the MSU Extension Service District Office on Industrial Drive in Hattiesburg. Other sites may be added.

For more information, contact Charlie Forrest or John Anderson at (662) 325-2750 or contact a Mississippi county Extension office.