Though agriculture is Mississippi’s No.1 industry, generating roughly $9.72 billion annually, farming has become a declining trade in the state in recent years. Now, one leader is looking to explore unique ideas to garner more participation in one of the Magnolia State’s most historic professions.
Tamu Green, the CEO of SR1 Scientific Research, is introducing opportunities for individuals in the state to become sufficient farmers capable of putting food on the table at home without being at the mercy of others for sustenance.
SR1, a Ridgeland-based scientific research entity, recently established an Agriculture and Food Science Department in 2020. The department offers free research-based practices to assist farmers, scientists, and consumers with farm-to-table applications, and also uses its Community Oriented Opportunities for Learning (C.O.O.L.) to provide resources that target food equity and security for communities who have historically-faced discrimination.
Despite not having an early background in agriculture, Green developed a passion for farming and the science behind it as a means of helping people. Green and his team at SR1 are working to give Mississippians the knowledge and skills necessary to find success growing crops and to be able to supply local grocery stores and farmers’ markets with their products.
“We don’t have a lot of specialty crops here (Mississippi), meaning those are the greens, the tomatoes, and things like that. We really want people to get back into farming, especially specialty crops, so we can supply stores and keep the nutrients and things like that,” Green said. “You don’t have to have a $100,000 tractor. Even if you just have a seeder or a basic type of plow, you can even farm at a scale where you can still provide. We try to show that you can be a different level of farmer and still be successful.”
With trends suggesting that Mississippi’s youth is less interested in agriculture than in previous years, Green saw a need for a strategy change to make farming more intriguing to young people.
Now that Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) education has become a focal point in most school systems, Green noticed that agriculture relies on each of the four STEM components. SR1 is now utilizing an agricultural-based STEM rubric to better educate youth on the subject while simultaneously developing a sense of enthusiasm from them.
“What better way to teach STEM than to teach Ag? Agriculture has all the STEM components now. It has the the science. It has the technology. It has the engineering. It has the math. So, it’s a perfect teaching tool that we use also for students from K-12 to teach those points,” Green added. “There’s always something to research. Science and Ag have a long way to go. There are still a lot of unknowns involved.”
For more information on the SR1 Agriculture and Food Department, click here.
The full interview with Tamu Green can be watched below.
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