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News From 2012

Microirrigation delivers water directly and efficiently to plant root zones. An added benefit is that thirsty dogs may enjoy their own little water fountains. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
December 31, 2012 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

I have made it my tradition for the last couple of years to suggest some New Year’s resolutions for the home gardener to consider.

This year, I’m changing that up a bit by sharing some of my own garden resolutions for 2013. Maybe you will see yourself in some of what I resolve to do next year.

When I speak to garden clubs and other groups, people often comment that my own landscape must be beautiful. I always answer, “Sometimes yes, but sometimes the landscape can look a little weedy and like it needs some pruning.”

Silver carps jump above the water's surface on the Mississippi River. The presence of silver carp, a type of Asian carp, in rivers and streams reduces the number of quality-sized native fish because they compete against each other for food. (Photo courtesy of Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee)
December 24, 2012 - Filed Under: Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Stories about Asian carp abound, but what exactly is an Asian carp and why should we be concerned?

Asian carp is a vague title assigned to a category of fishes native to Southeast Asia that have been introduced into the U.S. for their beneficial uses in aquaculture. This group of iconic fishes includes the common carp, grass carp, black carp, largescale silver carp, and silver and bighead carp. The species of most concern are the silver carp and the bighead carp, which I will refer to as “bigheaded carps.”

Satsuma oranges grow well in Mississippi and produce very juicy fruits with deep-orange rinds. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
December 24, 2012 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

There’s nothing like reaching into the toe of a Christmas stocking under your tree and finding a fresh and tasty satsuma orange that came right from your own garden.

I’d like to say I’ve done that, but so far, all the fresh satsumas I’ve enjoyed have come from my friend Terry’s house. Let me just say that I don’t have to worry about scurvy for a while.

Keith Coble
December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Biofuels, Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A team of Mississippi State University agricultural economists recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study policies impacting biofuel supply chains.

This blue Morpho butterfly has a wingspan of about 4 inches and was one of about 1,300 butterfly specimens donated to Mississippi State University by Ruth Williams, widow of lifelong collector Jim Williams. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A gift of butterflies has expanded the collection at the Mississippi Entomological Museum, the result of a life passionately dedicated to collecting the beautiful and fragile specimens.

Ruth Williams of Hattiesburg, widow of James J. Williams, donated Jim’s collection of tropical South American butterflies to Mississippi State University in November. There are about 1,300 labeled and identified specimens displayed in 46 cases.

December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Technology

Many children are on the move this Christmas season as they go over the river and through the woods to distant relatives’ houses. Travel can be very distressing for little ones who worry Santa might not be able to find them on Christmas morning. Fortunately, Santa has gone mobile with numerous Smartphone apps to help children and their parents stay in contact with the jolly old elf while on the move.

December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Family, Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many Americans resolve to improve their physical health each new year, and experts at Mississippi State University suggest it is also a great time to focus on healthier relationships.

MSU Extension Service family life specialist Cassandra Kirkland said the new calendar year brings opportunities for fresh starts in many areas of life, including marriage.

Terence Norwood
December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Technology, Family, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math

CARSON -- A grant in Jefferson Davis County is opening new doors to teenagers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Eighteen sophomores, juniors and seniors who attend the Dennis Fortenberry Career Center are the first group of students who will benefit from the $150,000 Mississippi Department of Education grant. The award provided funds to purchase equipment that will help students design and build robots and design and draft two- and three-dimensional objects with the aid of computer technology.

December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Family, Health

By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – This New Year’s eve, millions of Americans will resolve to improve their health is by eliminating tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, from their lives.

Curiosity led Clarissa Balbalian, the manager of Mississippi State University's plant diagnostic lab, into her career as a plant pathologist. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Biotechnology, Plant Diseases

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Clarissa Balbalian’s job presents a new mystery every day.

“If you are analytical and like solving mysteries, this is the perfect job,” said Balbalian, the manager of Mississippi State University’s plant diagnostic lab. “I like working with people and helping them find solutions to their problems, too.”

Balbalian studied biology at Longwood University in Virginia, and then earned her master’s degree in forest pathology at West Virginia University.

Linda Breazeale
December 20, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, About Extension

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Did you pick your career or did it pick you?

Long, hot days driving a tractor in a hay field and crack-of-dawn cattle roundups helped me decide that farming was not the life for me. Instead, I opted for an education that allowed me to get an 8-to-5 job in an air-conditioned office and earn a regular paycheck.

In college, I majored in communication with an emphasis in public relations, never intending to stay in my hometown of Starkville. I was going to a big city with all the excitement and money that I thought it would offer.

December 19, 2012 - Filed Under: Family, Family Financial Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Another year will soon begin, and with it, people will make resolutions for financial fitness and better spending and saving habits.

Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said being smart about money means being realistic.

December 18, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE – An upcoming two-state dairy conference has a long history of helping those in the business stay on top of important industry issues and improve the profitability of their farms.

The 23rd annual Mississippi-Louisiana Dairy Management Conference will be held Jan. 10 in Tylertown at the Southwest Events Center. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Louisiana State University AgCenter are sponsoring the event.

Each spike-like cluster of winter cassia's golden yellow flowers has up to 12 individual blossoms. Flowers have five petals, and the curved shapes of the stamens and pistils add landscape interest. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
December 17, 2012 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Every year, I look forward to the time when winter cassia begins blooming. The tropical-looking flowers are sure to create winter interest wherever they are planted in the landscape.

Winter cassia is one of those plants with show-stopping qualities, especially considering its prolific blooms in the winter. Their effect is heightened because the brightly colored blooms seem to appear all of a sudden out of nowhere.

December 14, 2012 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, Family Dynamics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As news shows bombard the public with reports of senseless violence, young eyes are also watching as adults struggle to handle the information.

News of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut will receive tremendous coverage throughout the holiday season. Families may need help as the entire country recovers from the tragedy.

Mississippi growers set one record when they harvested an estimated 156 bushels of corn per acre in 2012. Market prices for the crop pushed corn's value to an estimated $891 million and set another state record. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi growers harvested record corn yields in the state, and good prices pushed corn to a record production value, making it the state’s fourth biggest agricultural commodity.

Corn has a 2012 record value estimated at $891 million, which was 52 percent higher than the 2011 value of $587 million. Growers harvested an estimated 156 bushels per acre on average, beating the previous record of 148 bushels per acre set in 2007. Poultry, soybeans and forestry round out the state’s top crops.

Forestry is Mississippi's third-largest agricultural commodity in 2012, with a preliminary year-end harvest value estimated at $1.03 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2011. (MSU Ag Communications file photo/Scott Corey)
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forestry, Timber Harvest

MISSISSIPPI STATE – An 8 percent increase in a billion-dollar industry is significant, but timber still fell from its long-held second place spot on Mississippi’s agricultural commodity list.

James Henderson, assistant forestry professor with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, is estimating the 2012 value of Mississippi forest products to be $1.03 billion, compared with $957 million the previous year. Final numbers using more complete data will replace the estimate in February.

State soybean producers harvested a new record average of 42 bushels per acre. The crop's estimated value of $1.2 billion in 2012 moved soybeans to a No. 2 ranking among Mississippi's agricultural commodities. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A new record average yield of 42 bushels per acre pushed soybeans to a record value of more than $1 billion, boosting the crop to No. 2 among Mississippi’s agricultural commodities.

Soybeans have an estimated 2012 value of $1.16 billion, up 37 percent from $842 million in 2011. Soybeans came in behind poultry but for the first time were ahead of forestry in the ranking of the state’s top three crops.

Mississippi's poultry industry ended the year with a preliminary estimated value of $2.5 billion, holding on to the top spot among agricultural commodities in the state for 2012. Broiler values saw a 7 percent increase from 2011, while estimated egg and chicken values remained level. (MSU Ag Communications/file photo
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Poultry again took the top spot among Mississippi’s agricultural commodities for 2012, with a preliminary estimated value of $2.5 billion.

The total estimated value of poultry increased from 2011 by 6.2 percent. Broilers gained 7 percent in value, while eggs and chickens stayed level with 2011’s values.

John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said poultry values for 2012 are higher than 2011 values and have increased every year for the past five years.

Mississippi 2012 Estimated Value of Ag Production
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Soybeans, Agricultural Economics, Forages, Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Swine, Forestry, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Significant production levels and high market prices combined to give Mississippi’s agricultural commodities over $7 billion in total value.

Mississippi State University agricultural economists gathered preliminary data from crop production reports, world agricultural supply and demand estimates, industry resources and U.S. Department of Agriculture outlook reports. They predict a $7.3 billion annual value of the state’s top crops, excluding government payments. Final figures will be available in the spring of 2013.

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