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White-tailed deer in a park.
June 21, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- An urban wildlife specialist and a group of trained volunteers with the Mississippi State University Extension Service have been tracking wildlife in the Jackson metro area for three years to better understand how gentrification impacts urban wildlife populations.

Their work is part of an unprecedented nationwide study led by Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute and recently published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” or PNAS.

June 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Pesticide Applicator Certification, Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Private pesticide applicators will have new training requirements beginning July 1. The Mississippi Pesticide Safety Education Program has updated its online and face-to-face certification programs to meet this demand.

The new mandated training and competency requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are for applicators who use restricted use pesticides on farmland and need to renew or obtain certification.

Green leaves are scattered with black spots.
June 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Fruit and Nut Diseases

Blueberry leaf rust has been identified on blueberries in Perry County, and everyone in the state with blueberries is cautioned to be on the lookout for this disease.
Alan Henn, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said leaf rust is not a common disease of blueberries in Mississippi, but it has been identified occasionally in several Mississippi counties during the last 10 years.

A veterinarian loads a syringe with medication for an animal.
June 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative

Dr. Kim Klunk expected a certain level of stress when she began practicing veterinary medicine two years ago near her hometown of Magnolia, Mississippi. “It’s one of those things that you hear other people talk about when you’re in vet school, but you don’t realize the complexity of all of it until you experience it yourself,” said Klunk, who works with her mother Dr. Rachel Bateman at her mixed-animal clinic in McComb. It’s a common realization for many veterinarians who deal daily with financial concerns, work-life balance, compassion fatigue and client relationships among other stressful challenges of the profession.

Delicate flower heads bloom in white and purple.
June 17, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

My friends, Ben and Kelly Boerner, have a charming home and gardens nestled in the picturesque countryside of Carriere, Mississippi. When I visited them, I found myself immersed in the beauty of their meticulously curated landscape, which features eye-catching wildflowers.

A woman stands outside in front of a playset.
June 14, 2024 - Filed Under: Nurturing Homes Initiative, Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral

Carmen Grubbs Collins, a well-respected businesswoman in Simpson County who recently obtained her childcare license, is one of many Mississippians who are improving the quality of childcare they offer working parents. Receiving licensure was a significant milestone for Collins, and one she achieved with the support of the Nurturing Homes Initiative, or NHI, program. The NHI program is offered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service and funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

A cluster of small plants have green leaves on reddish stems.
June 11, 2024 - Filed Under: Cotton

Cotton planting has all but drawn to a close in Mississippi for the year, with the state seeing an increase to an expected 500,000 acres in 2024. The U.S. Department of Agriculture made that acreage estimate and said the crop was 94% planted by June 9, 2024. Of that acreage, 80% was either in good or excellent condition, with 19% in fair and just 1% in poor condition.

Two men are photographed outdoors.
June 11, 2024 - Filed Under: Catfish, Farm Stress

While every job has stress points, few people go to work knowing they could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in any given day. That is a reality for many in the agricultural sector, and mental health struggles are a frequent result.

Large, purple flowers cover a vine.
June 10, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Clematis vines are some of my favorite climbers, renowned for their prolific and strikingly colorful blooms that can transform vertical spaces into breathtaking floral displays. I saw some beautiful varieties flourishing in my friend Kay Cline’s gardens when I visited her in Picayune, Mississippi.

Items for a disaster kit are displayed on a coffee table.
June 7, 2024 - Filed Under: Community, Disaster Preparedness, Family

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As hurricane season begins, older adults should be sure their disaster plan is up to date and reflects their current situation.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said everyone needs to review their disaster plan periodically, but older adults will want to make sure their plan reflects any new specific needs or special circumstances they may have.

Dozens of people are scattered across a grassy field marked into squares.
June 6, 2024 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

rofessionals involved in the turfgrass industry can register now for a September field day that will showcase Mississippi State University turfgrass research and Extension expertise. The 2024 Turfgrass Research Field Day will be Sept. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility in Starkville.

Boxes of soil are arranged in rows.
June 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Soils

Young people with an interest in soil science are encouraged to sign up now for a June 21 event that explores many aspects of this topic. Mississippi State University will host its first-ever Youth Soil Science Field Day at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. The half-day event is designed for students ages 8-12.

Five women seated around a table view an assortment of food items and food guideline workbooks as a man stands nearby and looks on.
June 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Community, Food and Health, AIM for CHangE, Nutrition

JACKSON, Miss. -- Food pantry clients may soon find healthier options more often thanks to new food service guidelines.

Thirty-five participants representing 10 food pantries across the state recently received hands-on experience after being trained in the Supporting Wellness at Pantries, or SWAP, guidelines. The collaborative training by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Food Network took place in Jackson.

A screenshot of Sam McLemore
June 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Mental Health First Aid, Farm Stress

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Sam McLemore had exceptional strawberry harvests in 2020 and 2021, but he still couldn’t grow enough produce to meet increased local demand, so he took out a bank loan for a new tractor and began expanding his farm.

Teenagers at a shooting sports competition aim shotguns at targets.
June 4, 2024 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Safety Programs, 4-H Shooting Sports

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The 4-H Shooting Sports program in Mississippi recently hosted district competitions and will hold its state championship in July, but Reid Nevins is quick to point out the project’s true mission.

“This is a youth development project and not a competitive shooting project,” said Nevins, 4-H environmental science and education specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We have plenty of kids in this program that never sign up for a contest and just come to the shooting practices.”

Dozens of colorful blooms rise above grassy foliage.
June 3, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Daylilies are one of my favorite plants. I have more than 200 daylilies growing in my gardens, and I continue to plant more each year. The only thing I don’t like about daylilies is that each individual flower lasts only for a day --hence the name “daylily.”

A grassy garden area is topped by delicate purple blooms.
May 27, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Mabel Murphree’s Tupelo garden has an impressive variety of plants, but what really caught my attention when I visited were her purple blooms.

Small soybean plants grow in a crowded row.
May 23, 2024 - Filed Under: Soybeans

Mississippi’s 2 million-plus acre soybean crop is mostly planted and looks to be in good shape early on, with the only lingering acres yet to be planted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that the crop was 86% planted as of May 19, 2024, and 13% in excellent condition and 62% in good condition. The crop is typically close to three-fourths planted by this time of the year.

Several cows and calves stand in a pasture.
May 21, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Livestock, Beef

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Beef cattle prices are the best they have been in nearly a decade for Mississippi’s producers, but they face some tough management challenges to ensure their operations are profitable.

Buckets of peppers stand on a table at a market.
May 21, 2024 - Filed Under: Farmers Markets, Community

One of summertime’s treats in the South is the prevalence of farmers markets, community social events that allow shoppers to leave with a variety of fresh, local fruits, vegetables and other goods.