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Vance H Watson

, Mississippi State University

Former interim president from his positions as vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; executive director of Extension and Outreach; and professor of agronomy.

Dr. Watson provided leadership to the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine and served as Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and as Executive Director of the Mississippi State University Extension and Outreach.

B.S. Southeast Missouri State University; 1964
M.S. University of Missouri; 1966
Ph.D. Mississippi State University, 1969

Points of Interest

  • More than 40 years of professional experience in research, teaching, and administrative activities.
  • Selected Fellow of American Society of Agronomy.
  • Selected Fellow of Crop Science Society of America.
  • Traveled in over 50 countries on various agricultural missions.
  • Author of over 300 publications including 6 chapters in textbooks.
  • Served as Executive Vice President of AOSCA, an international organization for genetic standards and certification of 350 varieties of crops produced by 25,000 growers in 9 countries, 1992-1997.
  • Member of official United States delegation for setting world policy on seed certification, 1993-1997.
  • Served as team leader for review of Peace Corps agricultural programs in Thailand.
  • Selected Professor of the Year twice by two different student organizations.
  • Received MSU Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.
  • Received First Mississippi Corporation Award for outstanding experiment station scientist.
  • Received the MSU Library Outstanding MSU Faculty Award, 2004.
  • Received the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service Award, December 2006.
  • Received the Kenneth Cook Award, Mississippi 4-H Volunteer Leaders Association.
  • Received the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors 2007 Excellence in Leadership Award.
  • Received numerous other awards and honors.
  • Eagle Scout.
  • Hobbies are hunting, carpentry.
  • Married to Jo Ann with three children and seven grandchildren.

True Tales from the Mississippi State University Extension Service

Watson, Vance H
Publisher: Mississippi State University
Collaborators: Glynda C. Fulce

Most everyone has an idea about what Extension agents do. What usually comes to mind is answering questions about things that come up in everyday life in rural America. There was a time when the topics mainly concerned crops, pests, raising a family, or preparing food. Times have changed, and today's Extension personnel are often well versed in the latest technology, maintaining a healthy lifestyle or financial management, but people still look to their county Extension offices for help with the traditional topics. What most of us don't realize are the variety, and sometimes the unusual nature, of the help people seek when they call or drop by their county Extension offices.

This collection spotlights some of the most interesting and unusual encounters Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel have had with individuals who are sure their questions can be answered by someone from "State College." The result often is, as one agent states, "My education started after getting my degree." At least one agent has been called to a home to help residents deal with what they were sure was the aftermath of a visit by an alien spacecraft. Tales of goats in briefs, a missing finger, and "au naturel" homeowners are also among the stories told by Extension agents. There's also a case of the man who, tired of trying to remove algae scum from his pond with a shop vacuum, was delighted when the county agent informed him the job could be done better with a simple chemical treatment.

While the questions or situations at the center of most of the stories in this book are often funny or just plain odd, the individuals seeking help are usually sincere in taking their quesitons or problems to someone they believe has a wealth of knowledge. Likewise, the responses are intended to help or inform, even though one county agent notes he did once inform a lady that his areas of expertise did not include removing a tick from her back. For almost 100 years, dedicated men and women have served on the count and state staffs of the Extension Service in Mississippi. These are their stories told in their words.