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News From 2003

AARS winning roses are all judged on 15 key gardening characteristics including disease resistance, hardiness, color, form, flowering effect, fragrance, vigor and novelty. Winners must perform exceptionally well over a two-year period in numerous test gardens throughout the United States.
December 25, 2003 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman WinterMSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The cold holiday season seems like a good time to give everyone a glimpse of the new All-America Rose Selection winners that will be at garden centers in just a few weeks.

This year's trio is just what you would expect award-winning roses to be: beautiful, fragrant, disease-resistant and easy to maintain. Day Breaker, Honey Perfume and Memorial Day have outperformed the field to be awarded the coveted AARS honor.

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Farming

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High commodity prices and high government payments usually don't happen simultaneously, but some Mississippi crops experienced both in 2003.

John Anderson, an agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said there is a good reason for this seemingly impossible event.

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good prices this year combined with a strong national appetite for chicken mean Mississippi's No. 1 agricultural commodity grew nearly 15 percent in value since 2002.

Poultry retained its top spot in Mississippi agriculture with an estimated 2003 value of $1.6 billion, according to agricultural economists with Mississippi State University. Eggs saw the biggest increase, up 25 percent from the previous year to $205 million.

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's 2003 timber industry did not begin its climb out of the depression of recent years, but officials believe the descent has stabilized and recovery should be in the near future.

Agricultural economists and forestry specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service are predicting the value of Mississippi's 2003 timber harvest at $1.03 billion, compared to 2002's value of almost $1.04 billion. That prediction represents a 0.3 percent decrease.

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers have reason to celebrate 2003 as prices made a long-anticipated rebound and growers harvested the highest average yield in Mississippi history.

Cotton has an estimated 2003 value of production of $780 million, a 78 percent increase from the previous year. It continues to hold its own as the state's largest row crop and the third-most valuable agricultural product behind poultry and forestry.

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timely planting of early-maturing varieties coupled with ideal weather gave Mississippi soybean producers record yields in 2003.

"Growers have learned to think outside the box when it comes to choosing soybean varieties," said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "They are realizing what good variety selection can do for them, and they're also continuing to capitalize on early planting."

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mother Nature and the agricultural markets must have known they needed to make up for 2002 with Mississippi's farmers, and agricultural economists now predict a record of $5.6 billion for the state's 2003 farm-gate value.

Mistletoe is parasitic on the stems of woody plants, from which they derive water, minerals, nutrients and small amounts of organic compounds carried in the sap. In other words, they suck the life right out of that beloved oak.
December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Although I don't come from a long line of kissers, many families enjoy the holiday tradition of hanging the mistletoe. Most of us probably remember running to or fleeing from the mistletoe as teenagers, depending on who happened to be under it.

December 18, 2003 - Filed Under: Shooting Sports

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Responsible gun ownership begins with education, and a donation from one Mississippi agency to another will help enable the state's youngest residents to learn safety and skill when handling firearms.

The Mississippi 4-H Shooting Sports Program just received a donation of 120 firearms from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The firearms, mostly .22 caliber rimfire rifles, previously were used in hunter education classes.

December 17, 2003 - Filed Under: About Extension

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The state's leading cotton specialist will assume new responsibilities with Mississippi State University's Extension Service as assistant director and state leader for agriculture and natural resources.

Joe McGilberry, executive director of University Extension and Outreach, recently announced Will McCarty's promotion, effective Dec. 15. McCarty has been serving as Extension leader, professor and cotton specialist in MSU's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

December 17, 2003 - Filed Under: About Extension

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University's Extension Service Director Joe McGilberry's duties have been expanded to a new role as the executive director for University Extension and Outreach.

In making the announcement, MSU President Charles Lee stated colleges and universities are responding to the call from stakeholders to make their expertise more accessible to the public as a resource for economic development and improvements in quality-of-life issues.

December 11, 2003 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Keith Coble and Terry Hanson are listening a lot as part of their effort to reduce the economic risks associated with production of catfish and other aquaculture species.

Natchez crape myrtle, known for its white blossoms during the summer, has beautiful bark that adds a special look to winter landscapes. The deep cinnamon-brown bark develops around the fifth year.
December 11, 2003 - Filed Under: Trees

By Norman WinterMSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Winter is not normally the time to tout the virtues of the crape myrtle unless you have newer varieties. Several of the new hybrids have bark that is really something special in the winter landscape.

This hybridization primarily is between Lagerstroemia indica, the old-fashioned crape myrtle of our ancestors, and Lagerstroemia fauriei. Both are native to China, Southeast Asia and Japan.

December 11, 2003 - Filed Under: Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Flu vaccines may be in short supply, but other preventive measures can protect people from this season's colds and flu.

While Mississippi's flu numbers remain moderate, the bordering states of Tennessee and Arkansas are among the nation's 13 states reporting widespread cases of influenza by December, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Health officials agree that the worst of the flu season is yet to come.

December 11, 2003 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Drivers now have a convenient, affordable way to help support youth development and education in Mississippi.

Purchasing a 4-H license plate adds $30 to the regular tag renewal fee, $24 of which goes directly to the Mississippi 4-H Foundation. The remaining $6 goes to the state of Mississippi to cover production costs.

"This is a great way for people to support the state's youth in developing life skills and becoming responsible adults," said Betty Rawlings with Mississippi State University's Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Department.

December 11, 2003 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new law set to go into effect Jan. 1 should make it easier for consumers to protect themselves from identity theft, a crime that claimed 814 Mississippi victims in 2002.

On Dec. 4, President Bush signed into law the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. According to the White House information on the legislation, it provides tools "that expand access to credit and other financial services for all Americans, enhance(s) the accuracy of consumers' financial information and help(s) fight identity theft."

December 11, 2003 - Filed Under: Fisheries

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ponds that look low this winter don't necessarily need repairs but might simply be the result of an inexpensive and effective form of management.

Mississippi has more than 250,000 farm ponds of 40 acres or less. Together, they are a larger natural resource than all the state's public waters combined.

Marty Brunson, fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said pond owners have historically not managed these waters to their best advantage.

December 4, 2003 - Filed Under: Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Horse-owners hoping to get a great deal on stud services through a unique Mississippi State University auction have an extra two months to make their bids.

The MSU College of Veterinary Medicine's Stallion Service Auction bid deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. Feb. 2, 2004. The original deadline was Dec. 15.

With almost indescribable leaf color and huge panicles of bright red berries, nandinas are among the very best shrubs for fall and winter color in terms of both leaves and fruit.
December 4, 2003 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman WinterMSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

With almost indescribable leaf color and huge panicles of bright red berries, nandinas are among our very best shrubs for fall and winter color in terms of both leaves and fruit. Sad is the home landscape without a heavy sampling of these wonderful shrubs.

Sometimes called heavenly bamboo, nandina does indeed have a somewhat exotic appearance. It is actually in the barberry family and has relatives like the mahonia.

December 4, 2003 - Filed Under: Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Separation from loved ones is a fact of life for military families, but the holiday season can be especially tough for children and parents.

The uncertainty of dangerous conflict only adds to the stress of separation.

Louise Davis, a Mississippi State University Extension Service child and family development specialist, said civilian families can take several steps to ease the difficulty of the season for families directly affected by military deployment.

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