Dairy farmers were once the economic engines of Northeast Mississippi. Today, they are a rare breed, and their numbers have been steadily declining since the 1990s.
Daily Journal business editor Dennis Seid (8:10) joins Derek and Brad on today’s episode to look at that decline and its impact.
The number of dairy farmers in Mississippi has dropped by nearly 90 percent since 1990, from 653 to 75. In 1947, during dairy’s heyday in Mississippi, there were nearly 600,000 dairy cows in the state. Today, there are about 9,500.
A number of factors have contributed to the decline – the extremely long hours that are required, the fact that the heat makes dairy farming less efficient in Mississippi than in other states and impact of Hurricane Katrina, among others. Many wonder what the future will look like for milk production in Mississippi.
Also on today’s episode, education reporter Emma Kent (21:04) joins us to talk about the new STREAMS initiative being launched by the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.
The initiative puts a twist on teaching science, technology, engineering and math by also incorporating reading, the arts and sustainability. It also includes a partnership with Mississippi State University.
M. Scott Morris (25:56) discusses Havis Hurley, a 75-year-old Corinth resident who organizes a trip for special-needs children to Walt Disney World every two years.
Hurley has been working as a special-needs bus driver since retiring from running the Corinth Sportsplex. He often noticed that the students on his bus did not have the same opportunities for field trips as many of their peers, and that’s how the idea for Havis’ Kids was born.
Lauren Wood (31:43) talks about her photo essay on the Daily Journal’s Readers’ Choice awards and about the event itself. Lauren also previews the Daily Journal’s Influential Women luncheon that will be held on Tuesday, July 11.