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Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist Rocky Lemus inspects wheat interseeded with balansa clover at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on April 20, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Last year's drought will likely affect this year's hay acreage in Mississippi.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he anticipates about 690,000 hay acres. The state had about 750,000 acres devoted to hay production in 2016.

April 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

NEWTON, Miss. -- Forage growers looking to improve production and management of their fields are invited to a workshop in May.

The Coastal Plain Forage Production Field Day will be held May 4 at the Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station at 51 Coastal Plain Road in Newton. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry and Experiment Station are hosting the free event.

April 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agri-business

GREENWOOD, Miss. -- Farmers can learn a variety of useful information about tomatoes and cucumbers during a May 19 Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day.

Hosted at Levee Run Farm in Greenwood, the event will cover composting and trellising these crops, as well as ways to control insects and disease. Attendees also will learn about the family farm’s vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, high tunnels and pastured poultry.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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."

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

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.

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

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.

Erick Larson, corn and wheat specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, takes a photo on March 22, 2017, of freeze damage on the tips of some wheat growing in variety trials at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. Larson and other MSU agricultural specialists document crop issues to guide growers and consultants throughout the growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Despite almost everything working against this year's winter wheat, benefits remain on the fields growers managed to plant after last fall's drought.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the 2016-17 season makes four consecutive years of reduced wheat acres.

"The state's farmers planted about 60,000 acres of wheat late last fall, which was about 5,000 fewer acres than the previous year," Williams said.

March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit, Nuts

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Producers interested in season extension for specialty crops and commercial strawberry production can learn about these topics during an upcoming field day.

The Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day will be April 4 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, located at 2024 Experiment Station Road in Crystal Springs. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

A queen bee scurries toward the bottom left corner of a frame of capped cells containing bee larvae. Worker bees have many different jobs within a colony, including caring for baby bees. (File photo by MSU Extension/Keri Collins Lewis)
March 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From the outside, a honey bee hive looks pretty simple: bees fly in and out. They fly around flowers, and once inside the hive, they make honey.

They must be hard workers -- after all, the phrase "busy as a bee" had to come from somewhere.

Like many natural phenomena, a hive of honey bees is incredibly complex. Some scientists even classify a beehive, also called a colony, as a superorganism, an insect society made up of individuals that create a functioning whole.

Molly and Brad Judson of Clay County are one of four couples who recently earned the National Outstanding Young Farmers award. They were nominated by Charlie Stokes, right, their Mississippi State University Extension Service agent, for the recognition from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

National Agriculture Week: March 19-25, 2017

WEST POINT, Miss. -- Mississippi's agricultural future is safe in the hands of some of the nation's best farmers. Brad and Molly Judson of Clay County have the award to prove it.

Charlie Stokes, area agronomy agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, nominated the winning couple for the National Outstanding Young Farmers award. The National Association of County Agricultural Agents sponsors the recognition program.

March 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cattle producers in the North Mississippi area are invited to the Mississippi State University campus April 4 for an evening cool-season forage tour.

The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at MSU’s Henry H. Leveck Research Farm, sometimes called South Farm. It is sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Choosing the right breed of chickens for a backyard flock is an important decision. From left, Tripp, Luna and Charlie Sanders examine chicks for sale March 8, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Poultry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families willing to host a flock of feathered friends reap the benefits of fresh eggs delivered daily just outside the door.

What started several years ago as an underground "urban chicken" movement has become much more common and widely accepted. Today, raising backyard chickens has gained popularity nationwide, boosted by interest in locally grown foods that avoid the energy use and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.

Mississippi State University Extension Service equine specialist Clay Cavinder will assist in the Horse Management: 101 classes from April 11 to May 16 at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine

VERONA, Miss. -- Horse owners and riding enthusiasts can learn the basics of riding and equine care at evening classes each Tuesday from April 11 to May 16.

Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting the six-week course at the Lee County Agri-Center, located at 5395 Highway 145 in Verona. Nutrena is cosponsoring Horse Management 101: Ranch Horse Series.

Extension equine specialist Clay Cavinder said the lessons will be suitable for all ages.

March 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University scientist is using genomic testing to help improve the profitability of commercial dairies in Mississippi.

Amanda Stone, who became the MSU Extension Service dairy specialist and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment station in August, is exploring ways to make dairy herds more efficient. She is studying the advantages of genomic testing in the MSU dairy herd.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming

CARRIERE, Miss. -- Farmers interested in organic production methods can tour a Mississippi farm dedicated to teaching students and using pioneering production and marketing strategies during an upcoming field day.

The Small Farm Training Center in Hancock County will host the March 17 Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day. Attendees will learn about the 6-acre mini farm's production and marketing strategies, methods, materials and mindset.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Beef, Beekeeping, Forestry, Seafood Economics

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers and Extension Service agents heard suggestions from Coastal area agricultural producers and industry leaders about the research and education they need from the university in 2017.

The MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center Producer Advisory Council meeting was held on Feb. 28 in Biloxi. The annual meeting helps the university allocate time and resources to the most important issues facing Mississippi's agricultural producers and related industries.

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