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Split-cell catfish ponds circulate oxygen-rich water from the larger lagoon through channels to the smaller side where catfish grow. On March 21, 2017, Mississippi State University Extension aquaculture specialist Mark Peterman, left, and Jeff Lee of Lee’s Catfish in Macon examined the fencing that contains fish in this Noxubee County catfish pond. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Catfish
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

MACON, Miss. -- Mississippi has a long history of catfish production, but recent advances in management and production are changing the way some ponds look and operate.

Catfish ponds have traditionally been rectangular, shallow and large, usually about 10 acres of water. Today, some existing ponds are split in half to make two equal-sized, intensively managed ponds. Another new approach is to use levees to split ponds into cells with fish raised in 20 percent of the area and the other 80 percent used as a lagoon that helps oxygenate water.

The ornamental sweet potato is a go-to choice for large areas that need some kind of colorful ground cover. It is a great plant for massing and comes in a wide variety of colors and textures. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
April 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

One of my favorite things to do in the spring and early summer is visit my local garden centers. At this time of year, the sheer number of flowering annuals can easily result in sensory overload.

I wander through the aisles and benches almost in a hypnotic trance, and I always leave with a vehicle full of colorful beauty. By the time I get home, the color high has started to wear off, and I have to decide where to plant the new arrivals.

The best way to reduce the decline in northern bobwhite quail populations is to intentionally provide habitat conditions critical to their survival. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There was a time when the plucky "bob-white" call greeted the sunrise around farmlands and pine forests across the southeastern U.S. Today, the fields and forests are becoming silent, and the call of the northern bobwhite is seldom heard.

April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forest Economics, Forest Management, Timber Harvest
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

RAYMOND, Miss. -- New landowners can learn about managing timberland for profit during a five-part short course in May.

Forestland as an Investment will be offered May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at the Mississippi State University Extension Service office in Forrest County. It starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. each night. The Extension office is located at 952 Sullivan Drive in Hattiesburg.

April 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growing conditions first helped but then hurt Mississippi strawberries this year as the 2017 harvest season comes to an early conclusion.

Eric Stafne, fruit crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a mild fall and winter helped the crop mature a little earlier than normal.

April 11, 2017 - Filed Under: About Extension, Food and Health, Health
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or MS-AND, has named David Buys as a recipient of one of its most distinguished awards.

A Mississippi State University Extension Service health specialist, Buys was presented with the MS-AND Magnolia Award earlier this month.

The Magnolia Award recognizes individuals outside of the dietetics profession who make significant contributions to the field. It is one of four awards MS-AND makes each year.

Superbells Supertunias such as these Tropical Sunrise selections have tremendous growth potential and funnel-shaped flowers that add pizazz to the landscape. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
April 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

One thing I dig about the summer season is the selection of annual color available for the garden and landscape.

I think most of my readers know I really like Supertunias. Besides their tremendous growth potential, I think what I like best are the flower shapes. There's something about a funnel-shaped flower that adds a little extra pizazz to the landscape.

Anna Katherine Hosket, a member of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program in Choctaw County, runs barrels in the 2017 4-H Winter Classic horse show series. Show organizers and participants celebrated the event’s 10th anniversary on March 31. (Photo courtesy of Gina Wills)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program
By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

VERONA, Miss. -- "Practice makes perfect" is the adage organizers of the 4-H Winter Classic believe sums up the 10-year-old horse show that helps 4-H horse program participants prepare for the formal summer show season.

The Winter Classic is open to all Mississippi 4-H'ers. It provides young people an opportunity to participate in two shows per month from January to March before the formal Mississippi 4-H Horse Shows begin in June. The Winter Classic and the Mississippi 4-H Horse Shows are part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H youth development program.

Simply taking children outside will open their eyes and hearts to the outdoors. While canoeing with adults on Bluff Lake in Noxubee County, Mississippi, this child searched for alligators and birds with her binoculars. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of us spent our childhoods outdoors in a constant state of motion, but many of today's youngsters are not experiencing the outdoor activities we remember with pleasure.

When I reminisce about my childhood, the memories that make me smile the most are of times spent outdoors with family or close friends. I still enjoy many of those same activities today.

Producers took advantage of a break in the typical spring rains to get much of Mississippi’s corn crop planted in late March. Erick Larson, Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist, examined corn in Starkville, Mississippi, on April 5, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Fall preparation paid off for many Mississippi corn producers who were able to take advantage of a gap in spring rains to plant much of their crop early.

Erick Larson, corn specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said warm weather and a break in typical spring rains has allowed farmers to make considerable corn planting progress this spring.

April 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

WOODVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers market and cottage industry sales are a significant part of the Mississippi food scene, and Mississippi State University Extension Service training is helping entrepreneurs take advantage of these business opportunities.

The MSU Extension Service and Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion offers training on acidified canned foods and general food safety at locations across the state. An upcoming workshop will be held April 25 in Woodville, Mississippi, at the J.R. Hamilton Extension Building.

Although Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, her professional career has circled around agriculture. She is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of “The Food Factor,” the weekly video feature produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jonathan Parrish)
April 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, but her professional career with the Mississippi State University Extension Service circles around agriculture just the same.

Haynes is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of "The Food Factor," the weekly video feature produced by the MSU Extension Service. She grew up in Jackson and earned a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences from Alcorn State University.

The glass ceiling Ann Fulcher Ruscoe shattered in 1996 was outside in the Mississippi Delta’s wide expanse of agricultural fields. In fall 2000, she worked with cotton grower Kenneth Hood of Gunnison. (File photo from the MSU Alumnus Magazine)
April 4, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, About Extension, Women for Agriculture
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- Almost 200 years after Mississippi became a state, residents may find it difficult to imagine a time when women could not be Extension agricultural agents. That time was right up until the late 1990s when Ann Fulcher Ruscoe became the "county agent" for Coahoma County.

"Most entry level jobs for the Extension Service involved 4-H responsibilities. That's how I started in 1980 in Bolivar County," Ruscoe said. "Eventually, 4-H agents would usually become home economists if they were women or county agents if they were men."

The Golden Silk Orb Weaver is found all along the Gulf Coast, as well as Central and South America. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
April 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

I don't claim to be an entomologist, but I do find the insects and spiders we see in our gardens to be engaging.

I ran into one interesting bug early one summer morning the first year I moved to Mississippi. I was strolling along my fence under the overhanging trees and walked right into the web. It was one of those moments when all of my latent karate moves were put on display.

Mississippi producers are expected to plant 550,000 cotton acres this year to meet high export demand. If realized, this will be a 26 percent increase over last year’s production. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, Rice, Soybeans, Forages
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Strong export demand for cotton and soybean is causing Mississippi producers to shift away from corn and rice as they finalize their planting plans for 2017.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings report released March 31 estimates the state's growers will plant a total of about 4.194 million acres, a 170,000-acre increase over 2016 acreage.

Earthworms improve soil by creating pores to allow greater water infiltration for growing plants. They also help decompose dead plant material into nutrients that plants can use to grow. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippians care about wildlife and related activities, including hunting, fishing, birdwatching or just enjoying the outdoors.

March 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Avian Flu
By Ms. Linda M. Breazeale
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All Mississippians who raise any species of poultry are being urged to follow strict biosecurity practices and review new requirements regarding sales and exhibitions.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that while avian influenza is not a threat to human health or food safety, an outbreak would endanger backyard flocks and the state’s nearly $3 billion commercial poultry industry.

La-Z-Boy Inc. has donated about 130 boxes of discarded upholstery fabric to the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Sylvia Clark, left, an Extension family and consumer sciences associate, and student worker Kamau Bostic unpack the truckload of material March 24, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)
March 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers
By Mr. Robert Nathan Gregory
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi Homemaker Volunteer Clubs have a new supply of sewing material thanks to a large donation.

La-Z-Boy Inc. gave the Mississippi State University Extension Service about 130 boxes of discarded upholstery fabric -- enough to fill a 24-foot trailer.

Alternating wet and dry rice production systems allow rice fields to dry to several inches below the surface before adding more water. Research shows such fields maintain yields while cutting water use dramatically. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Lee Atwill)
March 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice, Irrigation
By Ms. Bonnie A. Coblentz
MSU Extension Service

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Alternating wet and dry production is a radical new way to grow rice, and some Mississippi producers are finding the idea not only seems feasible in theory, but also works well in practice.

Jason Krutz is an irrigation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He said the technique, known as AWD, grows rice without standing water, which reduces water use by about a third while also maintaining yields.

Supertunia Royal Velvet combines perfectly with Supertunia Honey for a beautiful hanging basket. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
By Dr. Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

Now is the time to start planting annual color for summer. If I could plant only one group of annuals, it would have to be the Supertunias, as I can’t do without these flowering beauties.

For the past several years, I have watched and written about these fantastic garden performers. Whether used as spreading plants in the landscape or as container and hanging basket plants, Supertunias have performed well in Mississippi.

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