Hinds CC Agriculture Department to host Sept. 21 reunion, get-together

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Hinds CC Agriculture Department to host Sept. 21 reunion, get-together
Posted by
07 September

Hinds CC Agriculture Department to host Sept. 21 reunion, get-together

Hinds Community College opened its doors for the first time in September 1917 with a handful of students and a couple of programs, including agriculture, that were key to Mississippi then and continues to be true today. Hinds will celebrate 100 years of Community Inspired Service in the Agriculture program with a reception and dinner that will reunite alumni from a variety of programs associated with the Agriculture Department and spotlight some of the community and business partners.

The Agriculture Department celebration is 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the T.H. Kendall III Agriculture Complex. All events will be at McKenzie Arena off Seven Springs Road in Raymond. For more information, contact Wayne Boshart, 601.857.3583, Melissa Washburn at 601.857.3334 or Also see the Hinds Community College Facebook page.

Dr. Roger Jones, who has worked in the Hinds Agriculture Department since 1970 and is now chair, keeps tabs on many of his former students but is hoping to reconnect with some of the alumni he hasn’t heard from in a while. Among the goals of the reunion is to begin a new alumni chapter.

“This is a chance for them to come back, be able to reflect on a lot of things and maybe help us get some ideas on the future of the Ag program,” he said. “I personally would like to invite former students from Agribusiness Management, Veterinary Technology, Meat Merchandising, the former Agriculture Diesel Program, the former Food Processing Technology Program and the academic transfer students who majored in programs in Agriculture, Pre-Vet and Forestry. Our student organizations such as Agriculture Club and the Livestock Judging Teams drew students from all these areas.”

He also envisions better connections with those who work in companies that cater to agriculture, such as feed, seed, equipment and chemicals, as a way to help his students get jobs.

High school students toured Hinds Community College's Agriculture facilities at the T.H. Kendall III Agriculture Complex off Seven Springs Road in Raymond.

High school students toured Hinds Community College’s Agriculture facilities at the T.H. Kendall III Agriculture Complex off Seven Springs Road in Raymond.

The role of agriculture at the college can be traced to the start of the college itself in 1917, as an agricultural high school. The school operated a farm for both instruction as well as a source of food for the cafeteria. Students had tuition paid in exchange for working on the farm. Initially, eggs, milk, meat and vegetables were produced and processed by the department.

Expansion starting in the 1960s, coupled with changes in agribusiness technology, have transformed what the department produces, but not its importance to the college and, by extension, sustained agriculture as the state’s biggest economic driver. The 1970s brought the start of animal technology programs, and agribusiness was added to the curriculum.

In 1983, the first phase of a $2.6 million complex on Seven Springs Road was completed. It houses the college’s Billie Banes Livestock Evaluation Center, more commonly known as simply the Bull Test Station, Mississippi’s first such public bull test facility; McKenzie Arena, which houses multiple special events put on by the ag program; holding facilities and a sales arena for livestock; and classroom space for the Veterinary Technology and Landscape Technology programs.

A student demonstrates a combine simulator at Hinds Community College's Agriculture department at the T.H. Kendall III Complex off Seven Springs Road in Raymond.

A student demonstrates a combine simulator at Hinds Community College’s Agriculture department at the T.H. Kendall III Complex off Seven Springs Road in Raymond.

Further innovation in the 21st century’s opening decades has introduced the growing field of Precision Agriculture to Hinds. Students in the college’s Unmanned Aerial Systems program train to assist the farmers of today and tomorrow use technology to decide what to plant and where, variable rates of application of fertilizers and liming materials, as well as, to determine irrigation strategies, and pest control.

Another recently added program is the poultry option under agribusiness, which in May had its first three graduates. Adding new programs and updating existing curriculum is a constant need, one that Hinds alumni can help accomplish with their input, Jones said. “We are constantly trying to revise programs,” he said.

[tweetable alt=””]Hinds CC Agriculture program plans Sept. 21 reunion, program.[/tweetable]

Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit or call 1.800.HindsCC.

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Hinds CC Agriculture Department adds three classes for Fall 2015
Posted by
25 June

Hinds CC Agriculture Department adds three classes for Fall 2015

Three classes have been added to Hinds Community College’s Agriculture Department curriculum for Fall 2015.

The classes, offered only on the Raymond Campus, are Animal Science Technology – Beef Option, Animal Science Technology – Poultry Option and Precision Agriculture.

Each expands opportunities for hands-on learning and should sync seamlessly for prospective students from heavy agricultural areas, said Wayne Boshart, Agribusiness Technology instructor.

“The Agriculture Department places a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning,” Boshart said. “Having access to the Hinds Community College Bull Test Station and college farm, managed by Kenny Banes, allows our students to have hands-on experiences with judging live animal confirmation, as well as, herd health and forage and pasture management. Dr. Roger Jones, the Agriculture Department chairman, teaches a Soil Science course that allows students to collect, analyze, and interpret soil sample analysis, which is crucial to the effective production of forages and agronomic crops.”

Poultry and beef industry officials and observers welcome the additions to the curriculum on several levels.

“The addition of these classes at Hinds Community College will provide opportunities for students to gain the applicable knowledge and skills necessary for a career in agriculture,” state Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith said.

A study released in May by Purdue University ranks Agriculture degrees among three top expected demands in the job market. The industry is Mississippi’s largest, employing 29 percent of the state’s workforce.

“I applaud the leadership and foresight of Hinds in leading the way in academic preparedness to matching job market demands,” Hyde-Smith said. “These students are the future of agriculture, and they can use the skills gained in these programs to help feed and clothe the growing population.”

Andy Berry, executive vice president of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, believes careers in agriculture, especially beef production, are on the upswing.

“The average age of a cattle farmer is in the early 60s. We have a growing world population, but we have a shrinking population in agriculture. Those two factors, along with historically high beef prices, make it very attractive for me to encourage young adults to become involved in beef production,” Berry said. “Currently, there’s not a better time to be involved in agriculture, specifically beef production.”

Poultry is Mississippi’s largest income-producing agricultural commodity, with a direct impact in more than half of the state’s 82 counties and a production value of more than $2.5 billion, according to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

“These new Agriculture programs take a unique approach to instruction by using industry driven curriculums that included industry partners at the table leading their development,” said Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president of Workforce Development and Coordination of Career/Technical Education and associate dean of Career and Technical Education for the Raymond Campus. “The classes are hands-on, with field trips to local farms and related agriculture businesses.”

Mississippi-based egg producer Cal-Maine, the nation’s largest producer and marketer of shell eggs, helped form the curriculum and is offering paid internships to students who complete the program, Stocks said.

“Poultry companies in Mississippi continue to search for talented students who are interested in a long-term career of providing nutritious poultry product to consumers,” Cal-Maine chief operating officer Sherman Miller said. “I believe that the poultry industry will benefit greatly by the caliber of students that will graduate from the poultry option class. Cal-Maine Foods is excited to be a part of this program, and we believe that Hinds will help introduce local talent into a career path that will last a lifetime.”

Precision Agriculture gathers an array of technological advances to create topographic maps to help farmers and farm families to decide what to plant and where, irrigation strategies, pest control and more. Technicians in the field will install, operate, troubleshoot and repair precision agriculture systems such as GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS (Geographical Information Systems). Students completing a certificate or degree program in Precision Ag will be more competent in their own farm operations or obtain positions such as Precision Ag Technicians (implement dealers), Crop Specialists, Nutrient Management Specialists, Precision Ag Department Managers, Precision Agronomists, and Precision Farming Coordinators.

“Technicians will also use the advanced processing software to collect, visualize, and analyze data that has been collected by the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) known to most of us as drones,” Stocks said.

In April, Hinds and Mississippi State University signed a unique agreement to enhance the program at each institution. At Hinds, two separate degree options are available this fall. One, the Associate of Applied Science degree in the emerging field, allows students to go directly into the workforce. A second option, an Associate of Arts degree, will allow students to transfer to MSU with 60 hours of community college coursework toward a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business with a concentration in Precision Agriculture.

For more information on the new classes or on the Agriculture Department, contact Melissa Washburn at 601-857-3334 or at

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