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Plant Materials Center Will Remain Open

By David Howell

COFFEEVILLE – After years of speculation that the Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center in western Yalobusha County would close, restructuring by the U.S.  Department of Agriculture (USDA) means the facility will remain open.
    Speaking at last week’s supervisor meeting in Coffeeville, Yalobusha Economic Development And Tourism Director Bob Tyler said the center would be one of 29 across the country. Tyler added that the restructuring will change the duties of the center and it’s coverage area, which will span portions of Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana. The change also creates a couple of new jobs at the plant materials center.
    “Rumors have been around for a couple of years that it would be closed. Now we know that it will not be closed,” Tyler added.
    The center is located on County Road 65, between Coffeeville and Tillatoba, and spans 250 acres. According to the USDA website, the function of the plant material centers include working closely with NRCS field offices and land managers on a broad range of conservation concerns and issues. Major issues in the center’s service area include pasture land improvement, cropland erosion control, critical area erosion control, urban conservation, wildlife habitat enhancement, and water quality improvement.
    “We will know a lot more and tell it to you soon,” Tyler told supervisors.
    Other economic news shared by Tyler included:
    • The north regional law enforcement office for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) is open in a new building adjacent to the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery just off I-55 at Enid Lake.
    Tyler said the office is centrally located for the 30-plus counties that compose the agency’s northern district for MDWFP’s law enforcement. Tyler said conservation officers will work out of the facility.
    • Tyler also thanked county officials for helping “shine up” the property around Windsor Foods in anticipation of high-level company executives making a trip to the Oakland plant. The county owns the property and Windsor owns the actual buildings at the site.
    • Tyler also reported that BorgWarner in Water Valley and Windsor each have approximately 350 employees working. Both of the county’s largest employers also have expansion plans on the horizon, which will increase the number of jobs at the plants.

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