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News Filed Under Agriculture

Terri Doyle grows sunflowers at Coastal Ridge Farm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and sells them to wholesale distributors and at farmers markets. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Farming, Agri-business, Women for Agriculture

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- What was once a Grade A dairy farm for more than 20 years now serves as the flower farm owned by Terri Doyle and her husband, Dave.

Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Coastal Ridge Farm offers fresh bouquets that can be found at Rouse's Markets in the New Orleans area and on the coast from May to November.

"The dairy industry had been getting tougher every year for small dairies," Terri Doyle explained. "When Hurricane Katrina hit and destroyed a lot of our property, Dave and I decided it was time to close the dairy."

August 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Beef

LUCEDALE, Miss. -- Farmers can learn about free-range livestock rearing and pecan orchard practices during the Aug. 18 Alliance of Sustainable Farms field day.

Sweet Grass Pastures in Lucedale will host the event. Topics include raising pastured poultry, beef and pork using rotational grazing. Attendees will tour the farm’s pecan orchard, and farm owners will demonstrate how to set up a mobile chicken coop and mobile hog fencing.

Mississippi catfish sales in 2016 from the state’s 150 farms totaled more than $213 million, nearly $100 million more than the nearest competing state. Catfish are shown being seined at Lee Farms in Noxubee County on March 21, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- This year marks Mississippi’s 200th anniversary as a state, but one of its most successful industries -- catfish farming -- is only about 60 years old.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service has played a significant role in the state’s status as the top producer of catfish in the U.S. Most of the technological advances related to the industry have taken place at MSU facilities under the direction of university and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers.

Hen flock inventories grew after the poultry industry recovered from the 2015 avian influenza outbreak, increasing the number of eggs on the market and driving down the price. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Poultry

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi's poultry industry remains healthy with a strong demand for broilers and a positive outlook for the remainder of 2017.

August 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A group interested in learning more about the ancient and popular art of winemaking will attend an upcoming workshop on the topic Sept. 15 at Mississippi State University.

The Growing, Making and Improving Wines Workshop will be at the A.B. McKay Food Research and Enology Laboratory on the MSU campus. The MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are offering the daylong workshop.

August 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit

MCNEILL, Miss. -- Mississippi State University invites muscadine grape growers and those interested in growing these vines to an Aug. 26 field day in Pearl River County.

Topics for the annual Muscadine Field Day include pests, new varieties and vine management. MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service personnel will speak.

Attendees of the 27th annual Rice Tasting Luncheon can sample more than 300 rice dishes during the event Sept. 15, 2017, at the Delta State University Walter Sillers Coliseum in Cleveland. The luncheon is held in conjunction with National Rice Month and highlights Mississippi’s 17 rice-producing counties. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/file photo)
August 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice

CLEVELAND, Miss. -- Delta area residents and chefs will show off the versatility of rice -- one of Mississippi's four major row crops -- during the 27th annual Rice Tasting Luncheon.

The event, which celebrates National Rice Month, draws more than 1,000 people from the state, the region and other countries. As the top rice-producing county in Mississippi, Bolivar County has the honor of hosting the luncheon every year.

It begins at 11 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m. on Sept. 15 at the Delta State University Walter Sillers Coliseum in Cleveland.

August 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Goats and Sheep

COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Goat and sheep producers in Mississippi are invited to attend a Small Ruminant Management and FAMACHA Training workshop later this month.

FAMACHA is an acronym for the Faffa Malan Chart, a system goat and sheep producers use to treat stock against barber pole worm. The workshop, hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Lowndes County Extension office on 485 Tom Rose Road in Columbus.

Mississippi State University Extension associate Richard Atwill of the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, right, explains the peanut crop management process to participants in the Cochran Fellowship Program on June 21, 2017. (Photo submitted by Prem Parajuli)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A climate-smart agriculture program at Mississippi State University helped train international agricultural leaders to achieve the global priority of maintaining safe, reliable food supplies.

Knowledge of potential customers and partnerships with local businesses and attractions can help Mississippi bed-and-breakfast businesses become even more desirable destinations. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Amy Myers)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-business, Agri-tourism

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Those managing historic homes must make a profit while creating a welcoming place for paying guests, a challenge addressed at a recent Mississippi State University short course.

Sandy Havard, MSU Extension Service agent in Warren County, said the summer workshop was a unique training opportunity set up to help improve communities and local businesses.

Producers planted much of Mississippi’s soybean crop early, allowing it to avoid many late-season threats from diseases and insects. These soybeans were growing July 25, 2017, on the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Soybeans

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most of the state's soybean crop has a very good yield potential despite some challenges coming late in the season.

Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers planted more than 60 percent of the crop in April.

"We had more soybeans planted in April than we've had in years," Irby said. "We had several windows that month where it was warmer than usual and dry enough to plant, and growers took advantage of those planting opportunities."

Mississippi growers harvested just 40,000 acres of wheat in 2017 -- well below the average of about 200,000 acres -- but they saw good yields despite a challenging growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi growers produced good wheat yields despite planting historically low acreage and experiencing challenging conditions this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state growers harvested an estimated 40,000 acres of wheat in 2017, averaging an estimated 63 bushels an acre. Average wheat planting is about 200,000 acres annually, but it was as high as 500,000 acres in 2008. The state's record high wheat yield per acre is 64 bushels, set in 2011.

The extended family of Ruby D. Rankin, 1960-2017, gathered Monday to celebrate the dedication of the local farmers market in honor of her 33 years as a community leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
July 19, 2017 - Filed Under: County Extension Offices, Farmers Markets

DEKALB, Miss. -- For 33 years, Ruby D. Rankin was the face of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Kemper County, and her sudden death in early May surprised and saddened the local community.

More than 100 people gathered at a building dedication ceremony Monday in the Extension office in Kemper County to honor Rankin's life, service and impact on local individuals, various organizations and the entire community. The Kemper County Board of Supervisors honored Rankin's many accomplishments by naming the local farmers market in her honor.

Gary Windham, a research plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, inoculates corn that is part of an aflatoxin study at Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi, on July 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Corn

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Early or not, Mississippi’s corn crop is well on the way to its best yield in years, barring any major disasters.

Erick Larson has spent more than two decades as the Mississippi State University Extension Service corn specialist. Larson said 2017 weather generally has been better than he can remember for any past growing season. Timely rains in some areas and cool nights during the crucial early grain-filling periods were important keys.

July 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Rice

By Kenner Patton
MSU Extension Service

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Rice producers can learn about the latest research on production and disease management during the Mississippi State University Extension Service Rice Producer Field Day Aug. 2.

The program will begin at 3 p.m. at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Entrepreneurial Center at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. The three-hour event includes field tours of research plots with MSU rice researchers.

Natasha Haynes, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Rankin County, advocates choosing one local ingredient to spotlight in a menu, such as this squash growing at the Southern Heritage Garden at the Vicksburg National Military Park on June 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
July 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets, Agri-tourism, Food, Nutrition

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Foods grown on Southern farms should end up on Southern tables, especially when those tables are in the state’s many historic bed-and-breakfasts.

That was the message Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel sent home with participants in a recent workshop.

“Nobody wants to go to a Southern B&B and not experience the food, so think about serving local foods,” said Brent Fountain, Extension nutrition specialist.

Increasing aeration rates per acre is one emerging method Mississippi catfish producers are using to improve efficiency in smaller ponds. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Catfish

DODDSVILLE, Miss. -- Production is the least of Ben Pentecost's worries for his catfish farm this summer. If anything, he has too many fish.

"I think our supply is larger now than in recent years, and demand is about the same," said Pentecost, co-owner of the Pentecost Brothers catfish farm in Sunflower County. "We have a backlog of bigger-sized catfish, which processors are pushing back on, but the fish keep getting even bigger the longer they stay in the ponds."

Christine Coker, a horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University, began sowing the seeds for her career in elementary school as a 4-H member. Now, she helps put food on Mississippians’ tables with her research and Extension projects.
July 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Women for Agriculture, Food, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

BEAUMONT, Miss. -- For 16 years, Christine Coker has been doing what she loves: putting food on people's tables.

"In college, I really liked the study of plants, but I knew I wasn't going to be the world's greatest botanist," she said. "What I really wanted to do was feed people."

Colleen Wilkins, owner of Sunnyside in Natchez, gathers ideas while visiting the Southern Heritage Garden at the Vicksburg National Military Park on June 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Gardener, Gary Bachman, would like to see Mississippi's historic bed and breakfast owners step up their game in the garden.

"What is your budget for your landscape and labor costs? Do you serve anything you grow and use your own flowers?" Bachman asked owners at a recent Mississippi State University Extension Service workshop. "I want to show you how, with minimal effort and minimal out-of-pocket expense, you can get a good return on investment from the landscape of your historic properties."

Consumers can find Mississippi-grown watermelons for their summer celebrations at stores and markets across the state, including these at the Byram Farmers Market in Byram, Mississippi, on June 27, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Watermelons

RAYMOND, Miss. -- A balance of timely rain and sunny skies is essential for large, sweet watermelons, but too much rain can wreak havoc on the melons and hit producers in the wallet.

Although most of Mississippi's watermelon crop is in good to fair condition, some producers are losing melons because of excess rain.

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