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March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An ongoing case of rice insurance policies changing after they were purchased has demonstrated why farmers should be more careful than ever in protecting themselves from crop loss.

American Agrisurance Co. recently reduced a special offer on Crop Revenue Coverage after the deadline had passed to buy insurance for spring planted crops. Farmers who had bought this insurance package, known as CRC-Plus, now had much less coverage than they were promised, and with the purchasing deadline expired, have no way to increase the coverage.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Catfish, Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Growing crawfish with rice has become a common way to produce this popular shellfish, but the practice has been more successful in Louisiana than it has in Mississippi.

In 1997, Louisiana landed almost 23 million pounds of crawfish worth nearly $13 million. The state produced another 47 million pounds through aquaculture at a value of nearly $28 million. Much of this crawfish is consumed in the state, and very little leaves the South.

March 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Soils, Soil Testing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners sprucing up their lawns for spring should be careful using fertilizers as two of the most common types may harm area water quality if managed poorly.

Dr. Larry Oldham, soil fertility specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said movement of nitrogen and phosphorus from soils to water supplies raises water quality concerns.

March 19, 1999 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crawfish are showing up in restaurants and stores in large numbers and at falling prices as crawfish season is in full swing.

Crawfish season extends from November through May, but peaks in April. Prices currently in South Mississippi range from about $1.19 to $1.49 a pound live, and $2.09 to $2.19 a pound boiled. Prices are expected to drop at least 20 cents a pound next week as more crawfish flood the markets.

March 18, 1999 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Growing fresh produce for the picking doesn't always mean having an intensive garden, a square-foot garden or an acre or more. It can be as simple and fun as growing a basket of petunias, and baskets are where I would like to start.

March 11, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The environment where I grew up made azaleas out of the question, so the site of all our azaleas erupting into spectacular blooms astounds me.

I'm further amazed that the native azaleas haven't caught on around here. Perhaps it's because growers haven't perfected the mass production of these azaleas or that demand is so great for the other azaleas. Maybe it is simply not worth the time, expense and effort to grow these on a grand scale.

March 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Health

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Computer-related eyestrain, which may lead to more serious damage, can easily be prevented by making minor adjustments in work space.

Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said significant time spent viewing computer screens can result in temporary but unpleasant aches and vision problems. Fortunately, there is no evidence that eyestrain caused by computers results in permanent vision damage.

March 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

By Lani Jefcoat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Home may feel like the safest place, but it is often a dangerous environment for children with poison hazards around every corner.

Children age 18 months to 3 years old face the highest risk of being poisoned. Children constantly explore their environment and tend to put things in their mouths. In some cases, adults carelessly or unknowingly leave poisonous items within their reach.

March 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Environment, Invasive Plants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi battles well known non-native species such as kudzu and fire ants, but experts say the state is vulnerable to other introduced species.

Known as nonindigenous species, these plants and animals become part of ecosystems outside their native range. According to figures released by Cornell University, non-native species cost the United States more than $122 billion a year, but not all introduced species are harmful.

March 8, 1999 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Turkey season opens soon in Mississippi, and hunters are encouraged to be safe when enjoying this popular and challenging sport.

Turkey season runs from March 20 to May 1 in Mississippi. Richard Cain, hunter education program director with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in Jackson, said there are about 40,000 turkey hunters in the state annually. These account for about 18 percent of the total hunting licenses sold.

March 4, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

A trip to a favorite garden center can be similar to walking into an ice cream shop. The push of spring blooms, coupled with warmer weather may have you chomping at the bit to get out planting. But before you buy some of everything, stop and do a little thinking or planning.

February 25, 1999 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Ornamental grasses can really make a difference in our landscapes. The varieties abound for just the right look and location.

Dwarf sweet flag, mostly known as Japanese sweet flag, is one of the prettiest grasses we can use in the landscape. Although new in our local markets, this grass is drawing increased attention.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Knowing what the weather will be like is about the only variable keeping Mississippi State University researchers from being able to predict some cotton and soybean yields.

Dr. Harry Hodges, crop physiology and production specialist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said computer programs have been developed to simulate crop growth. The goal is to know how plants will respond to environmental variables.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Equine

By Lani Jefcoat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Horse lovers from around the state can support a new program to benefit people with special needs by donating their time, gentle horses and equipment.

The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine has developed a therapeutic riding program called WINGS, Winning Independence, Gaining Strength. WINGS is a specialized horse-assisted activity that provides physical, emotional and psychological benefits to individuals with special needs.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Health

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Whether hitting the slopes, enjoying the beach or working in the garden, overexposure to ultraviolet rays poses a threat to healthy skin of children and adults.

Linda Patterson, health education specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said that since most skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, most may be prevented.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

By Jamie Vickers

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Changes in Mississippi's law place more responsibility for health care decisions on the individuals, but make it easier to express future health care wishes when the person cannot.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Youth Livestock, 4-H Livestock Program

JACKSON -- Generous buyers rewarded exhibitors of 33 champion market animals with another record-setting sale following the recent Dixie National Junior Livestock Show in February.

Gale Chrestman, 4-H livestock specialist with Mississippi State University' Extension Service, said the 1999 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions netted $186,701. The previous record was set last year at $185,408.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's world class catfish industry makes it possible for Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine to offer the nation's only internship in production medicine for fish.

Dr. S.W. "Skip" Jack, leader of aquatic medicine at MSU's veterinary college, said MSU created the post-doctoral program in response to an educational need in veterinary science. Aquatic opportunities in veterinary colleges are limited, and there is no board speciality in aquatic medicine.

February 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A milder-than-usual winter may be nice for people, but it can mean trouble for fruit trees by causing them to bloom out of season.

Recent cold weather has not hurt this year's fruit production, even though warm weather has prompted some plants to bud. Generally, buds are not damaged until temperatures dip below 28 degrees for four or more hours.

February 18, 1999 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Every week I try to tell you what's arriving in the world of plants, but this week's column is dedicated to what's old and still wonderful. Mississippi and much of the South provide some outstanding old homesteads with long-standing plants announcing spring's arrival.