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News From 1999

December 27, 1999 - Filed Under: Houseplants

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

With Christmas finally past, you may find yourself with some new plants you received as gifts or bought as decorations. While indoor plants certainly can add beauty and enjoyment to your home, how do you make them last?

Whether grown for foliage or flower, they can only add beauty and charm to your home if they are healthy. Many gardeners begin their struggle with houseplants by choosing the wrong location with regard to light.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- After enduring some of the lowest prices for their crops in recent years, Mississippi farmers are looking more to the experts for management advice for the 2000 crop as they tighten their budgets another notch.

County agricultural agents with Mississippi State University's Extension Service are advising farmers on management decisions ranging from land and variety selections to labor and pricing decisions.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton took a beating both in prices and yield this year, but with significantly more acreage than last year, the final numbers look a lot like 1998.

Mississippi cotton acres again broke the million mark, rising from 760,000 in 1998 to 1.18 million in 1999. Yield, however, averaged just 708 pounds an acre, a drop from 737 pounds per acre in 1998. The biggest hit came from prices, which were down 10 to 15 cents from last year.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forest industry dipped in 1999 after riding a wave of record highs in 11 of the last 12 years, but maintained its seventh year with a value in excess of a billion dollars.

Mississippi timber production has a 1999 estimated value of $1.33 billion, down almost 3 percent from 1998's all-time high of $1.36 billion. Despite the downturn, its value remains above 1997 levels. Forestry continues to hold the state's No. 2 spot in value, just behind poultry.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Poultry

By Laura Martin

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's poultry industry held on to the state's top agricultural spot besting last year's record value despite lower prices and decreased exports.

Poultry, the state's largest crop, should reach an estimated 1999 value of $1.55 billion, topping last year's record of $1.53 billion. It is the first and only agricultural industry in the state to top $1.5 billion in farm value.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Agriculture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's total value of farm and forest production in 1999 is expected to hold near the $5 billion mark despite depressed market prices and another challenging growing season for many of the state's crops.

Mississippi's total commodities, which include poultry, forestry, crops, catfish and livestock, have been estimated to have a market value of more than $4.6 billion for 1999, a decrease of about 2 percent from 1998. Increased government payments will bring the total gross receipts to just over $5 billion.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The winter is not normally the time to talk about palms, but I want to make a point because Mother Nature has endowed our state with a palm that can take temperatures well below zero. The palm is known botanically as sabal minor and is called shrub palmetto.

North of Jackson on the Natchez Trace around mile marker 126 you may notice low wilderness areas where these palms are native. They can be found in several Mississippi counties.

December 20, 1999 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

By Laura Martin

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Starting a winter fire in a cold fireplace may present potential hazards for homeowners. As temperatures drop, the warmth of a fire may attract kids and may threaten birds who have made nests inside the chimney.

Dr. Frances Graham, a housing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, offered a few safety tips when starting a fire at home.

December 13, 1999 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Remote Sensing Technology, Technology

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Research at Mississippi State University is developing new ways to apply space-age technologies to the state's agriculture in hopes of increasing efficiency and yields.

This research is being conducted by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station through the Advanced Spatial Technologies for Agriculture and the Remote Sensing Technologies Center at MSU.

December 13, 1999 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Christmas is a special time for making memories. Not all the memories come from gifts, although the slippers that look like stuffed hens from the farm certainly make a lasting impression.

Christmas trees have a way of making a lasting memory just like the special ornaments that adorn them. Other than using a camera, one way to capture and make that Christmas memory last is with a living Christmas tree.

December 13, 1999 - Filed Under: Houseplants

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Plants can make memorable gifts for the hard-to-buy-for person on anyone's list this holiday season.

Unlike many other gifts, plants are easy to shop for, come in colors and sizes to please almost anyone, and can last for years with proper care.

Norman Winter, horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said plants make good planned or last-minute gifts.

December 6, 1999 - Filed Under: Agriculture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The increasing value of land makes it financially harder than ever for farmers trying to survive bad crop years or farmers trying to get into the business.

Real estate prices in the South have historically been tied to returns from row crop agriculture, but with the South's economic diversification and urbanization, agriculture is just one of many factors influencing land values. With fewer acres available for farming, prices are rising even on less fertile farmland.

December 6, 1999 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Catfish is not a new agricultural commodity to Mississippi, but research is underway on a new variety that may replace channel catfish as king of the farm ponds.

As a relatively new and growing industry in East Mississippi, catfish has emerged as a viable economic entity in the hilly Blackland Prairie region of the state. For the last 10 years, East Mississippi production has been primarily in Kemper, Noxubee, Lowndes, Clay, Monroe and Chickasaw counties, but there were no local suppliers of fingerlings.

December 6, 1999 - Filed Under: Trees

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Despite unusually dry weather, the fall leaf color has been outstanding this year and one tree that has been showy from the North to the South is the ginkgo.

Many of you are probably more familiar with the herbal extracts believed to help your ah ... um ... mental concentration and even memory. Back in the '70s and '80s, it was fashionable to have jewelry made from gold-plated gingko leaves.

November 29, 1999 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If the Santa Clauses dancing to the boogie woogie or some Christmas rock song has left you feeling a little artificial, then the prescription you may need is to spend a little time outdoors collecting materials to let you make a home-style holiday wreath.

November 29, 1999 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's environment is the big winner as youth organizations across the state such as 4-H garner grant money from the Chevron Companies.

November 29, 1999 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many shoppers try to avoid the holiday shopping rush by mail-ordering gifts, but while convenient at times, it can lead to more hassles.

Americans have always consumed goods through mail-order catalogs and with the popularity of the Internet, ordering merchandise has taken on a new dimension. A growing percentage of holiday shoppers are abandoning at least some shopping the old-fashioned way of standing in line, competing for items and handling objects before purchase.

November 29, 1999 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The convenience plastic offers holiday shoppers can be a liability if the card is lost or the account number stolen.

Automated Teller Machine cards, debit cards and credit cards are extremely popular with shoppers, especially at the holiday season. Consumers need only produce their card, signature and sometimes a Personal Identification Number to access money in their account or on their credit line.

But if that card is lost or stolen, a thief needs only the same information to make the card work for them.

November 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gardeners discouraged by drought this year can improve their chances next season by working in their gardens this fall.

Mississippi State University gardening specialists recommended mulching, fall bed preparation, soil testing, cover crops and continued watering to prepare gardens now for next spring.

Dr. David Nagel, vegetable specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said ground covers and advance bed preparation can make a difference in next spring's garden success.

November 22, 1999 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Rebekah Ray

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- For years the Mississippi Delta has been known for its production of both cotton and farm-raised catfish, but now the fish also swim in East Mississippi ponds as producers are realizing its economic potential.

No longer considered just Southern fare, catfish is the fifth most popular fish in America. In 1998, it was one of the top-five agricultural commodities in Mississippi and had a value-added production of more than $306 billion, up 15 percent from 1997.

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