Extension Agent/County Coordinator
MSU Extension Service
Years in Position: 10
Years of Service to MSU: 15
Working for the MSU Extension Service as a county agent is the only job Rebecca Bates has ever wanted.
“I’m from an MSU family. My father was a professor. I’ve always felt that this job was made for me,” Rebecca said.
As a horticulturist, Rebecca fields calls from homeowners, vegetable producers and other Extension agents who need horticulture-related advice. As the county coordinator, Rebecca is instrumental in running the farmers market and working with local dairy producers, the local Cattlemen’s Association and the Lincoln County Forestry Association. She also hosts a weekly radio show and writes columns for two local newspapers.
For the last five years, to kick off National Dairy Month in June, Rebecca and local dairy producers have brought a dairy cow to the front steps of the Lincoln County Courthouse.
“Our elected officials come out, we put the proclamation declaring it’s National Dairy Month on the back of the cow, and they all sign it,” she explained. “I had a senator call me to make sure he wasn’t going to miss it. It’s a really good photo op!”
In 2013, Rebecca received the inaugural Travis Tadlock Outstanding Extension Agent Award. Tadlock, who retired as the Lincoln County agent in 1978, was well known to Rebecca.
“I’m very lucky in that I’ve had good relationships with every agent who has served in the county since Travis, but he was the one I always worked to be like. I think he’s the most beloved agent the county has ever had,” she said.
In her free time, Rebecca loves to garden.
“I don’t get stuck on one plant; I just love to plant things and watch them grow,” she said.
Other than her garden, her favorite place to be is in Gautier on the Pascagoula River.
Extension Associate I
MSU Extension Service
Years in Position: 8
Years of Service to MSU: 8
Working with people has always been Katie Bouchillon’s favorite part of her job with the MSU Extension Service, although her interactions and audiences have changed over the course of her career.
As an Extension Associate with the Office of Nutrition Education, Katie spent several years touring the state with the Body Walk educational exhibit designed to teach elementary school-age children about the human body.
“I saw all of our beautiful state, met tons of volunteers, and interacted with tens of thousands of children,” Katie said. “In each place I worked with a new group of volunteers, and I had five minutes to introduce myself, get them excited about the intense physical labor required to set up the exhibit, convey I knew what I was doing, and assure them we could accomplish our task. I quickly learned that praising everyone throughout the process made a big difference.”
During the past year, Katie has transitioned to working as an accounting assistant and social media coordinator.
“I love social media!” she said. “I love being able to share information about our nutrition educators and highlight the work they do.”
Katie is passionate about sharing Extension’s mission with everyone she meets.
“I want to let Mississippians know Extension is more than farming, cattle and forestry,” she explained. “We are here to help you figure out how to keep your families healthy, that you can have something tasty and delicious to eat and know you’re providing a nutritious meal for your kids and for yourself.
In addition to spending time on social media platforms when she’s off the clock, Katie loves to read, especially sci-fi novels and nonfiction. She also enjoys spending time with her one-year-old mixed-breed dog, Tom Barker.
At each annual DAFVM Summer Celebration, the Staff Spotlight recipients from the previous year will be acknowledged. The DAFVM website will have an archive of all winners listed by month/date.
An employee cannot be chosen more than once during a two (2) year period.