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News From 2010

Emmie Rowlen, 8, of Webster County, affectionately pats her dairy calf during a break at Mississippi State University's 4-H dairy cow camp. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi dairy farmers have been good mentors to youth who participate in the 4-H Dairy Cattle Project, but the continuing decline in dairy farms across the state has reduced the number of people who serve as sources of information.

Composting is nature’s way of turning organic waste into rich material for gardens. Composting can be as simple as using hardware cloth to enclose a small, layered pile of organic waste.
July 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Lawn and Garden

Compost is nature's gift to our gardens, helping retain moisture and aerate the soil, and it is easy to make and totally free. Compost is one of the greatest bargains for both experienced and novice gardeners.

Compost is the dark, crumbly, partially decomposed form of organic waste material on its way to becoming humus. Compost is an excellent soil conditioner. It is easy to handle and stores for long periods.

July 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Community, Disaster Response, Family

BILOXI – Recreational boating in the Gulf and along coastal waterways is becoming more of a challenge, especially during high-traffic weekends, as the oil spill expands to impact more than just fishing opportunities.

Dave Burrage, Extension professor at Mississippi State University’s Coastal Research and Extension Center, said there are no restrictions to prevent pleasure craft on the Gulf, but boaters need to use common sense.

Ainsley Grey Trimm, of Starkville, enjoys pureed yellow squash and carrots that her mother prepared for her. Ainsley Grey's parents and many others find baby food easy and inexpensive to make. (Courtesy photo provided by Sara Stone)
July 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, Food

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homemade baby food gives parents the advantage of controlling what goes into their babies’ sensitive stomachs and provides health benefits for the entire family.

July 1, 2010 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Vegetable Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gardeners can literally reap the fruits of their labor by planting fruits or vegetables in a small space in their landscapes.

Many gardeners tend to their landscapes as a hobby, which requires hours of manual labor and a big financial investment. But this does not have to be the case. Many existing home landscapes are well suited for growing fruits and vegetables.

Bob Brzuszek, associate professor of landscape architecture at Mississippi State University, said people do not need to build a farm to get fresh food from their yards.

June 25, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE  – Many Mississippi dairy farmers are wary about 2010 after the past 18 months proved to be one of the most financially challenging periods ever for the industry.

“2009 is a year most Mississippi dairy farmers would like to forget because of the huge financial hit they suffered as the price they were paid for milk plummeted about 40 percent,” said dairy specialist Lamar Adams of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Farmers lost about $1,000 per cow last year.”

June 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi State University, long recognized for making delicious cheese, will conduct a workshop dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and others with their own interest or appreciation for cheeses.

Focusing on small processing industries, the July 28-29 first-of-its-kind workshop will be hosted by MSU’s Extension Service and the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion.

Billy Ray Brown stands on the lower level of the milking parlor he built for his Jersey cows. (Photo by Scott Corey)
June 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

YOCONA – Current economics have forced many Mississippi farmers out of the dairy business, but a strong work ethic, savvy marketing ideas and help from Mississippi State University allowed Billy Ray Brown to start a unique dairy operation in Lafayette County.

Butch Smith prepares to package cheese produced from Jersey cow milk on his family farm. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
June 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

POPLARVILLE – Butch Smith grew up on a dairy farm, chose a different career path and then found helping his daughters with their 4-H Dairy Project made him yearn to go back to working with cows.

This 21st Century Blue Star phlox is easy to grow and results in full, mounded plants. Strong flower production lasts from spring until frost, and the plant can tolerate summer heat well.
June 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Many gardeners wouldn’t dare plant a bed without having at least one variety of phlox present.

Gardeners enjoy several spring-flowering phlox such as woodland phlox and creeping phlox. But I am referring to garden phlox, Phlox paniculata, which is a special plant to have in the garden.

The flower display of garden phlox is spectacular, and the showy panicles can have up to 50 individual flowers each. Colors range from soft pastels to surprisingly brilliant hues in pink, purple, lavender, red and white. Bi-colors have an eye in the center.

New beekeeper Mark Lewis of Lowndes County enjoys learning about bees and their care. (Courtesy photo by Keri Collins Lewis)
June 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippians are finding that beekeeping can be a challenging hobby, a profitable business or a good way to learn more about one of nature’s most interesting insects.

There are close to 1,000 people in Mississippi who keep bees for profit or for hobby, and the number is steadily growing.

Backyard flocks should be provided adequate protection from cold or rainy weather and a fenced-in run outside of the coop.
June 24, 2010 - Filed Under: Poultry, Family

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many people are finding that raising backyard chickens can be an easy way to provide their family fresh eggs, and also to enjoy a rewarding pastime.

“Raising poultry for egg production has become increasingly popular during the last few years,” said Danny Thornton, a poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “With the current economic situation, a lot of people are hoping to save money on food by raising their own birds for egg production.”

June 18, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Fruit

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – Despite high yields and good-quality berries, a delayed harvest and low prices are impacting blueberry growers.

Blueberry growers started harvesting in late May and early June, about two weeks behind schedule.

New varieties of purslane give this old plant new uses in the landscape. This hanging basket of Rio Scarlet and Rio White takes advantage of purslane's spreading and trailing characteristics and its ability to thrive in high summer temperatures. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
June 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

I read once that many flowering plants we use in our landscapes are really only one or two steps out of the ditch. This is especially true of some of the new varieties being introduced to the market.

Purslane is one of the newer plants that I have been interested in that is really an old plant. It is a succulent that thrives in high summer temperatures. Purslane has long been regarded by many as a garden weed, and I have removed many of these from the garden and landscape.

A brilliant streak of lightning flashes over Suttle Hall, north of Mississippi State University, during a summer storm in this archived photo. (Photo by MSU Geosciences/Michael Brown)
June 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The odds of being hit by lightning may seem remote, but the threat is real, and outdoor -- and some indoor -- activities should be altered when thunderstorms are nearby.

Mike Brown, associate professor in geosciences at Mississippi State University, is a seasoned storm chaser. When he is educating new storm chasers, he emphasizes the threats that come from lightning.

June 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Environment, Wildlife, Children and Parenting, Insects

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Equipped with latex gloves and masks, participants at Mississippi State University’s Intergenerational Summer Camp for basic entomology and plant ecology became forensic scientists for an hour.

Savannah Munn , 10, of Starkville selects a leaf specimen during the insect and plant ecology camp at Mississippi State University.
June 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Environment, Insects

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Participants at Mississippi State University’s Intergenerational Summer Camp on insect and plant ecology may attend because of the bugs, but they soon discover that looking for plants is equally interesting.

Among the camp’s goals are the exploration of the interactions between plants and insects. These relationships, whether positive or negative, can reveal how nature stays in balance said camp director John Guyton of the MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

June 17, 2010 - Filed Under: Pets, Snakes

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many pet dogs encounter venomous snakes during the hot summer months, but tragic consequences can be avoided when owners know what to do when their dogs get bitten.

“More dogs and snakes are out in warmer summer months, creating a situation where they will encounter each other,” said Dr. Kari Lunsford, assistant professor with Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Dogs, curious by nature, agitate snakes and can end up getting bitten.”

June 11, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s small wheat crop was nearly harvested by the second week of June, and farmers brought in lower-than-average yields.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said individual wheat fields varied greatly in bushels produced.

“The state’s yield should average about 50 bushels an acre, which is a little lower than average, but some producers may harvest yields as high as 80 bushels or more an acre,” Larson said.

June 10, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture

STONEVILLE -- Football great D.D. Lewis will be the keynote speaker at the July 15 Agronomic Crops Field Day at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center.

A former Dallas Cowboy linebacker, Lewis was an All-American and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1967 at Mississippi State and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.