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The Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center is one of the major research establishments of ARS. The Center consists of seven Research Units, with scientists conducting basic and applied research in several areas. The missions and goals of the Center's research are addressed through a multidisciplinary approach. Disciplines represented by the scientists include biology, genetics, engineering, chemistry, ecology, entomology, physiology, biochemistry, botany, agronomy, aquaculture, soil science, plant pathology, and application technology. Research emphasis is aimed at agricultural problems of the Mid South area of the U.S. The Center conducts research in many areas of investigation, including: Genetics and basic physiology; control of principal crops enemies; production systems and techniques; equipment innovation and development; safety and human health; economic well-being of both the agricultural producer and the consumer; and technology of pesticide application.
The original idea for a federal weed control lab that would complement and cooperate with State programs for Delta farmers was conceived in 1961. In 1964, plans were changed to add two more labs--insect control and cotton physiology. Efforts by Delta Council and members of the Mississippi Congressional Delegation, particularly Congressman Jamie L. Whitten and Senator John C. Stennis, brought the project to its full planning stages by 1965.
That year, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station donated a 17-acre building site and deeded it to the USDA. When design and plans for the federal facility were completed, actual construction began in 1968 and was finished in August 1970 at a cost of $3.7 million. (Present estimated costs for the same facility is about $40 million.) Formal dedication ceremonies for the ARS Center, its adjacent greenhouses and its supply buildings were held on October 18, 1971.
The defined mission of the ARS complex was to increase efficiency in the production and processing of mid-south agricultural products to benefit both the farmer and the consumer. Today, with an operating budget of about $37 million annually (includes Area Office) and a staff of 65 Ph D research scientists and over 200 support personnel, the emphasis is still on the importance of research to improve production and processing in Mississippi and the mid-south.
At first, the federal complex at Stoneville was operated by a Central Committee of three Laboratory Chiefs, one of whom was chosen each year to act as Chairman. In September of 1972, when ARS reorganized nationally, Stoneville became an Area management headquarters for southern Mississippi, Louisiana (except New Orleans), and Arkansas.
In August 1978, change in ARS Area boundaries resulted in the inclusion of all of Mississippi into the Delta States Area and naming of the Center as the Delta States Research Center.
In October 1983, another ARS reorganization resulted in a change where Arkansas was aligned into another Area and Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee were combined with Louisiana and Mississippi as an ARS organizational unit. At this time the Area name was changed to the Mid South Area, but the Stoneville complex remained the Delta States Research Center. Additionally, all major administrative functions for 12 research Locations in the five-state area of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee are being handled at the Stoneville complex.
During 1984, the 98th Congress, 2nd Session, passed a bill that was signed into law by President Reagan on October 17, 1984, naming the Delta States Research Center in Stoneville, Mississippi, as the "Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center."
Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center
141 Experiment Station Road
P.O. Box 225
Stoneville, MS 38776
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