Delta Council leader Curtis Berry of Tunica (third from right), who also serves in numerous capacities of leadership in the Mississippi and national rice industry, joined other USA Rice Federation principals this week in meeting with United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (fifth from right) in Washington this week. Secretary Perdue will be the featured speaker for the 82nd Annual Meeting of Delta Council on Friday, June 9, at the Bologna Performing Arts Center in Cleveland on the campus of Delta State University.
By Christina Steube
University of Mississippi journalism students working in newspaper, television and radio won more than 50 awards in three separate regional contests this spring.
The Daily Mississippian, led by Editor-in-Chief Clara Turnage and advised by Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was named best daily newspaper in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 12, competing against college newspapers at the largest universities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.
NewsWatch Ole Miss, under the leadership of station manager Payton Green advised by journalism professor Nancy DuPont, won first place for best newscast.
“What a spectacular year for our student journalists,” Thompson said. “Our students have been honored so often in the past few weeks, it has been hard to keep track. Students work many hours each week to provide information for the campus and community, and they are getting great experience that has helped them land jobs and internships.”
The Daily Mississippian and NewsWatch will compete against winners in the other 11 regions for national titles. National winners will be announced later this month.
The Daily Mississippian won first place for public service in the “Best of the South” awards at the Southeast Journalism Conference for its “Red Zone” special section focused on sexual assault issues, published Oct. 27, 2016. The SEJC includes competitors from more than 40 universities in seven Southeastern states and was hosted on the Ole Miss campus this year.
The DM won numerous first-place awards at the Mississippi-Louisiana Associated Press contest as well, including general excellence, breaking/spot news and for its website. NewsWatch also won a first-place award in this contest for best sportscast.
Several students, including Turnage, took home individual awards. The senior from New Hebron was honored with eight awards in three contests, including first-place honors for feature writing, general news reporting and enterprise-investigative reporting. She won a newspaper “Best of Show” award from the Associated Press and finished second in SEJC’s prestigious College Journalist of the Year competition.
Turnage said she is thankful for her time at the DM.
“This has been an incredible year,” she said. “I’ve dreamed of being editor-in-chief since I came to Ole Miss and it was everything I wanted it to be.
“I think we got the opportunity to work on difficult, important subjects for the community, and that’s what we wanted to do. The awards the DM staff won are an important marker of the hard work we put into our publication. They’re not the reason we work hard, but I love seeing the editors and reporters get recognition for their efforts.”
Turnage has accepted a summer internship with the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. She is among only three interns hired, along with a student from UC-Berkeley and another from Columbia University.
Other students who won first-place awards in the Associated Press, SEJC and Society of Professional Journalists contests are:
Italiana Anderson, a senior from Ridgeland, for radio documentary in the AP competition
Cameron Brooks, sophomore from Houston, Texas, sports photos, AP
Ariel Cobbert, junior from Hattiesburg, breaking news photos, SPJ
Lana Ferguson, junior from Mechanicsville, Virginia, magazine writing, SEJC
Payton Green, December graduate from Pascagoula, TV breaking news, SPJ
Lauren Layton, junior from Huntsville, Alabama, TV breaking news, SPJ
Sara McAlister, sophomore from Potomac, Maryland, radio sports, AP
Zoe McDonald, senior from Brandon, feature writing, SEJC
Billy Rainey, senior from Jackson, radio news and radio Best of Show, AP
Brian Scott Rippee, senior from Jackson, sports enterprise/feature, AP
Jake Thrasher, junior from Birmingham, Alabama, personal column writing, AP
The UM journalism school’s advanced reporting and television documentary classes also were honored with a first-place award from the AP for Best Student Documentary. Led by journalism professors Brad Schultz and Kathleen Wickam, the classes produced a half-hour documentary titled “Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” focused on Mississippi’s role in the 2016 general election, specifically in regards to voter identification, immigration and young voters.
“Having now won this award three years in a row, it’s a reflection of the hard work our documentary and reporting students have put in,” Schultz said. “To start a documentary project in late August and have an award-winning product finished by early December shows the quality of our students.”
The documentary can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-jVde3h8oQ.
“Mississippi Miracle,” a depth report about the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, was named a finalist in the SPJ contest. The report was produced by student journalists in a class led by instructor Bill Rose, assistant professor Mikki Harris and instructor Emily Bowen-Moore.
Second- and third-place winners and finalists representing Ole Miss are:
Hayden Benge, a sophomore from Tulsa, Oklahoma, for page layout and design
Chandler Morgan, senior from Kennesaw, Georgia, TV news
Marisa Morrissette, junior from Oxford, graphic design
Riley Mueller, junior from College Station, Texas, radio sports
Daniella Oropeza, senior from Clinton, TV hard news
Megan Peoples, freshman from Columbus, radio sports
DeAndria Turner, freshman from Gautier, radio feature
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. Perdue made the announcement standing by barges filled with agricultural products along the banks of the Ohio River. As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field. Finally, Perdue announced that the department’s Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity.
Perdue issued a report to announce the changes, which address Congressional direction in the 2014 Farm Bill to create the new undersecretary for trade and also are a down payment on President Trump’s request of his cabinet to deliver plans to improve the accountability and customer service provided by departments.
“Food is a noble thing to trade. This nation has a great story to tell and we’ve got producers here that produce more than we can consume,” said Secretary Perdue. “And that’s good, because I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy. Our people in American agriculture have shown they can grow it, and we’re here to sell it in markets all around the world.”
Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs
Agricultural trade is critical for the U.S. farm sector and the American economy as a whole. U.S. agricultural and food exports account for 20 percent of the value of production, and every dollar of these exports creates another $1.27 in business activity. Additionally, every $1 billion in U.S. agricultural exports supports approximately 8,000 American jobs across the entire American economy. As the global marketplace becomes even more competitive every day, the United States must position itself in the best way possible to retain its standing as a world leader.
“Our plan to establish an undersecretary for trade fits right in line with my goal to be American agriculture’s unapologetic advocate and chief salesman around the world. By working side by side with our U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the USDA undersecretary for trade will ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world,” Perdue said.
USDA’s reorganization seeks to place agencies in more logical order. Under the existing structure, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which deals with overseas markets, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which handles domestic issues, were housed under one mission area, along with the Risk Management Agency (RMA). It makes much more sense to situate FAS under the new undersecretary for trade, where staff can sharpen their focus on foreign markets.
Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation
Additionally, a new undersecretary will be selected for a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area, which is to focus on domestic agricultural issues. Locating FSA, RMA, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service under this domestically-oriented undersecretary will provide a simplified one-stop shop for USDA’s primary customers, the men and women farming, ranching, and foresting across America.
“The men and women of American agriculture are hardy people, many of whom were born into the calling of feeding America and the world,” Perdue said. “Their efforts are appreciated, and this adjustment to the USDA structure will help us help them in even better ways than before.”
Under the reorganization plan, the undersecretary for natural resources and environment will retain supervision of the U.S. Forest Service. A reduction in USDA workforce is not part of the reorganization plan.
New employees of Entergy Corporation’s transmission organization are gaining valuable knowledge and experience in maintaining substations at the new Arthur “Dub” Barfield Training Substation in Clinton, Mississippi.
“This is the only training facility of its kind in Entergy’s four-state utility service territory,” said Jim Schott, vice president of transmission for Entergy. “It’s designed to give employees an opportunity to learn and train in a safe environment because the training facility is not energized. The facility offers a critical first step to preparing new employees to effectively maintain essential infrastructure and reliably deliver electricity to customers.”
Refresher courses for existing employees will also be offered in the new training facility.
The facility is named for Entergy employee Arthur “Dub” Barfield, former Entergy director of transmission grids, who died in November 2015. Barfield spent nearly 35 years of his career at Entergy and was a champion of safe work and training practices.
Employees from across Entergy’s four-state utility service will learn to operate, maintain and test equipment at the “Dub Sub.” The facility:
- Was built with both legacy equipment and new standard equipment to allow students to train on many of the various types of equipment they will encounter in their daily work.
- Is fully operational, with the exception of no voltage.
- Allows students to gain troubleshooting experience.
- Provides a mechanic and relay lab for foundational skill development.
- Offers hands-on training for employees to earn switching certifications.
“This is a cutting-edge training facility that reflects Entergy’s commitment to excellence and adding value for our stakeholders, especially customers and employees,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi’s president and CEO. “This investment by the company supports Entergy’s We Power Life vision by ensuring a skilled workforce to deliver safe, reliable electricity for customers today and well into the future.”
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and more than 13,000 employees.
The Community Foundation of Washington County (hereinafter referred to as “CFWC”) is pleased to announce the Delta Workforce Marketing Initiative, which is a collaborative partnership between the CFWC, the Washington County Economic Alliance (hereinafter referred to as “WCEA”), the Mississippi Delta Community College Charles W. Capps, Jr. Technology Center (hereinafter referred to as the “Capps Technology Center”), and the Delta Regional Authority (hereinafter referred to as “DRA”). The Delta Workforce Marketing Initiative is a collaborative partnership that will work to rebrand and promote the training programs and classes of the Capps Technology Center. This Initiative is being deployed throughout Washington County, a rural community classified as high need, in all unemployment, under-employment, and underserved sectors with the goal of helping our residents become aware of the training available for skill enhancement so they can gain employment in an effort to close the middle skill job gap in Washington County.
The CFWC committed Twenty Thousand Dollars and 00/100 ($20,000.00) towards the Delta Workforce Marketing Initiative, which was coupled with funding from the DRA in the amount of Twenty Thousand Dollars and 00/100 ($20,000.00), to yield a Forty Thousand Dollar and 00/100 ($40,000.00) total investment towards the development and implementation of a marketing plan for the Capps Technology Center. Cary Karlson, Executive Director of the WCEA, stated “We are so pleased to have the partnership between the WCEA, the DRA, and the CFWC as we look to inform those in Washington County and the Mississippi Delta about the training opportunities at the Capps Technology Center. Having a trained workforce will help us greatly as we work to grow the economy in the Mississippi Delta.” Karlson further stated, “We knew that by matching the priorities of both of these organizations this workforce development initiative could really be expanded to maximize its impact on our Washington County community.”
According to Terri Lane, Executive Director of the CFWC, “After extensive research surrounding the landscape of Workforce Development here in our county, it was evident to our board that many valuable training programs, services and resources existed that were targeted to help enhance the workforce training and skills of residents with the goal of helping the unemployed and under-employed successfully compete for gainful employment. However, communications and marketing are vital components towards ensuring that residents are aware of how to access and take advantage of these workforce training resources.” The CFWC and the DRA took this as a challenge and committed funding towards the development and implementation of a communications and marketing plan to work, in partnership, with the Capps Technology Center to help tell their story.
Improved workforce competitiveness is one of DRA’s key strategic goals, according to Chris Masingill, Co-Chairman of the DRA, “Workforce development and training throughout the Delta region is essential to develop communities that can be competitive regionally, nationally and globally,” Masingill said. “This project will have an immediate and strong impact on the residents of Washington County, encourage attendance at workforce training classes at the Capps Technology Center and increase the ability of trainees to enhance their earning potential.
“We greatly appreciate the WCEA for administering a program that will be a vital component of workforce development in the region. This program will enable area workers to access information and develop the skills necessary to close the job gap in Washington County and contribute to the growth of the Mississippi Delta economy,” Masingill added.
The Capps Technology Center, the workforce training arm of Mississippi Delta Community College, is located in Indianola, Mississippi and offers a wide array of training opportunities from manufacturing basics to welding to hospitality. Todd Donald, Vice President of Workforce Economic Development, at the Capps Technology Center, is equally as optimistic about this initiative. “This project is so exciting to our team here at the Capps Technology Center. We’ve selected Aha! Creative to work with us on the development of our plan to reach out to residents across Washington County to educate them on the offerings at our facility and local offerings held at the Greenville Higher Education Center, right here in Greenville. We are grateful to be a part of this larger conversation of how to communicate and educate our Mississippi Delta communities of how the Capps Technology Center can help them make a difference in their lives and enhance their earning potential to best care for their families and give back to their communities.” The plan in development by Aha! Creative is being created with a timeline for implementation throughout this year. “We are looking to pilot our plan here in Washington County, as we have strong support from the WCEA and the CFWC,” states Donald. “With measurable positive outcomes and success stories, our plan is to continue our efforts into additional counties in the future. This initiative shows that the combination of governmental dollars and non-profit dollars can work together to truly make a long-lasting, positive impact on our communities here in the Mississippi Delta.”
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau and the Mississippi State University Extension Service are hosting pond management workshops in Yazoo and Tunica Counties. The Yazoo County workshop will be held at the Yazoo County Extension Service Office located at 212 East Broadway Street in Yazoo City on Thursday, April 6th at 6 p.m. Those interested in attending this workshop are asked to register by calling the Yazoo County Extension Service Office at (662) 746-2453.
The Tunica County workshop will be held at the Tunica County Extension Service Office at 1221 Kenny Hill Avenue, Suite 3, in Tunica on Saturday, April 8, at 9 a.m. Those interested in attending this workshop are asked to register by calling the Tunica County Extension Office at (662) 363-2911 or emailing Mr. Anthony Bland at email@example.com.
An hour-long presentation will include topics on pond design, fish stocking, harvest, vegetation control, liming, and fertilization. A question-and-answer period will follow. “These workshops will allow biologists and private pond owners the opportunity to discuss all aspects of pond management,” said MDWFP Fisheries Bureau Assistant Director Larry Bull. “We talk to many people each year who want help managing their ponds, and this is a great way for us to provide personal how-to information that can help pond owners achieve their goals.”
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com or call us at (601) 432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.