Research Project

Increasing Mississippi Youth Interest in and Entry to Sustainable Agriculture Practices and Careers

Investigators: Tinuola Osho, Himmy Lo, Drew Gholson, Leslie Burger, Beth Baker, Mary Love Tagert, Manola Erby, Carolyn Banks, Jacqueline McComb, Sonia Eley, Karla Turner-Bailey, and Steele Robbins

Funding Agency: USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service under award NR204423XXXXC116

Date: 2021

Project Summary


Mississippi agriculture is facing increases in the rate of technological advancement, the intensity of economic competition, and the complexity of environmental challenges. To propel the continued success of this important industry, Mississippi must develop a skilled and motivated workforce to fill agricultural jobs and must cultivate a conservation-minded citizenry to support improvements in sustainability. Therefore, educational efforts that stimulate Mississippi youth interest in and entry to agriculture are essential to securing a thriving future for Mississippi agriculture and the rural communities that depend on it. To amplify such efforts, a collaboration was formed between Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University, Hinds Community College, and Mississippi Delta Community College. The project focuses on three goals. First, high school students will better understand the scientific principles and societal importance of soil and water conservation. Second, high school students will become more aware of the breadth and prospects of college and employment options in agriculture and natural resources. Third, disadvantaged high school students will gain greater opportunities for hands-on learning related to agriculture and natural resources.

2021 Progress

A two-module classroom outreach curriculum was created and implemented. Each module is about an hour in duration and uses fun activities to spark curiosity about agriculture. The first module exposes students to diverse aspects of agricultural science, including groundwater hydrology (Figure 1) and soil erosion (Figure 2). The second module introduces students to agricultural careers other than farming. Both modules were taught to dozens of students at Leland High School .

Future Work

Classroom outreach is expected to be expanded to high schools across the Delta and eventually statewide. The gradual addition of other outreach methods is also planned, including social media, field trips, summer camps, and mentoring. Participant feedback is being collected to refine the project and assess its effectiveness. Educators, agricultural employers, and other interested entities are invited to contact Ms Osho ( for ways to partner with this project!

Project Photos
Increasing Mississippi Youth Interest in and Entry to
Sustainable Agriculture Practices and Careers
  • Topic:
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Contact NCAAR

General Information
Kaye Sullivan

Showcase Demo
Drew Gholson, Coordinator
Himmy Lo