RAYMOND – Hinds Community College was awarded a $249,955 grant by the Mississippi State Office of Natural Resource Conservation Service, which is an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The college’s Agriculture Department will utilize the grant funds to create an agriculture academy to promote public awareness and implementation of the Farm Bill, provide trainings for the public regarding new methods and technology in agriculture, and expose Mississippi’s youth to the numerous career paths in the agriculture industry.

“Hinds Community College has a long history of providing outreach and training for the agricultural industry in our service district and the state,” said Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for Workforce Development & Coordination of Career/Technical Education.  “Hinds offers innovative programs in beef and poultry production, precision agriculture, veterinary technology, meat merchandising and agribusiness management. Hinds is eager to partner with the USDA on this grant to expand training opportunities for our community and develop the next generation of leaders for the agricultural industry.”

Hinds Community College is also collaborating with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) for the grant activities. On Oct.12, the Hinds Agriculture Department participated in MDAC’s Agriculture Workforce Development 4H and FFA Day hosted at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds.

Hinds brought a John Deere combine simulator for the club members to drive and presented to more than 200 youth in attendance about career programs in agriculture and additional trainings offered through the college.

“The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is proud to partner with Hinds Community College in its efforts to enhance the state’s agriculture workforce, which accounts for 29 percent of the state’s workforce. The agriculture academy will provide a strategic focus on agriculture industry-based workforce training needs in our state,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson. “The academy will have a significant impact in strengthening the educational opportunities available to our citizens, meeting the needs of agricultural business and industry and boosting awareness and growth of jobs and careers in the agricultural industry. The vision for the program is for the model to be duplicated in community colleges across the state, with an emphasis on local agriculture industry needs.”

Hinds Community College faculty will visit several high schools in the service district and conduct in-demand workshops over the two-year grant. The trainings will help educate beginning farmers, conservation organizations, cooperative agencies and private landowners including veteran, female, minority and limited resource landowners. The planned field day topics are artificial insemination, herd health and grazing, emerging technologies in agriculture, women in agriculture and urban agriculture.

“Hinds Community College’s Raymond Campus has joint agricultural programs operated with partners Mississippi State University and Alcorn State University,” said Dr. Clyde Muse, Hinds Community College president. “Our strong public and private sector partnerships place us in a unique position to deliver successful outcomes for this grant and ensure our communities remain globally competitive.”

For more information, contact the Hinds Community College Agriculture & Natural Resources Department at 601.857.3334; Wayne Boshart at Wayne.Boshart@hindscc.edu or Lee Douglas at John.Douglas2@hindscc.edu.

As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolls about 12,000 students each fall semester. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.

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