U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. "Tom" Vilsack will be at Mississippi State Wednesday [Sept. 25] for a tour of campus and briefings on major research projects funded by the Department of Agriculture.
The university conducted nearly $97 million in agriculture-related research during the 2011 fiscal year and has been ranked ninth by the National Science Foundation for research and development expenditures in agricultural sciences among public and private institutions. Consistently in the Top 10 of this category for more than a decade, the 135-year-old land-grant institution also ranks among the Top 50 for humanities. Overall, Mississippi State is ranked 91st among all public and private institutions based on $226.1 million in total FY 2011 research and development expenditures. Nationally, MSU is ranked 53rd in non-medical school R&D expenditures.
Vilsack's visit will include a tour of research projects at the university's R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, also known as North Farm, including a bioenergy pilot plant. He will also visit the Leveck Animal Research Center, or South Farm, where he will be briefed on research in the areas of water conservation, catfish and beef cattle health. He will conduct a roundtable discussion with students prior to having dinner with university and state agriculture leaders.
"We are excited about the opportunity for Secretary Vilsack to see first-hand the ground-breaking research we are conducting at Mississippi State," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.
Prior to being named MSU president in late 2008, Keenum served for two years as Under Secretary of USDA, where he provided leadership and oversight for the Farm Service and Risk Management agencies, and Foreign Agricultural Service.
Vilsack, a former two-term Iowa governor, was nominated by President Obama to be the nation's 30th agriculture secretary in late 2008. He was confirmed by the United States Senate the following January.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.