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News From 2015

The Angelonia Serenita series has compact plants with vibrant colors, such as this Serenita Pink that was named an All-America Selection Winner in 2014. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
May 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Many seasoned gardeners, myself included, consider Angelonia one of the best plants for the hot summer garden.

Angelonia, a member of the snapdragon family, is actually called summer snapdragon. It thrives in the full sun during the heat and humidity of summer. Since this describes our usual summer weather, tolerance to these conditions is a requirement for our Mississippi gardens and landscapes.

The garden world is dominated by plants with round flowers, so the spiky texture of the Angelonia flower stalks is a welcome addition to any summer garden.

May 18, 2015 - Filed Under: Agri-tourism, Community, Rural Development

WEST POINT, Miss. -- A rural tourism workshop on June 1-2 in West Point will focus on technology and offer new ideas for attracting visitors to the state’s hidden treasures.

Rachael Carter, a community development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Extension is partnering with ConnectMS to promote the workshop, “Leveling the Playing Field.”

Tom Tabler, poultry science professor with the Mississippi State
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Poultry, Avian Flu

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi poultry farms remained free of avian influenza as of May 15, and growers are intensifying existing biosecurity measures to keep flocks safe.

Mark Leggett, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, said growers and companies are working together on biosecurity.

“Whenever possible, integrators and growers are limiting visits to farms and company facilities to reduce traffic onto their property,” Leggett said. “We are all highly motivated to prevent outbreaks in Mississippi.”

Physical and mental activity are key components of keeping memory strong in the elderly. (File Photo/MSU Ag Communications)
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Health

May is Older Americans Month …

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many jokes are made about memory loss and aging, but finding ways to combat this inevitable mental decline is no laughing matter.

Experts say time is memory’s worst enemy, and the more time has passed since a memory was made, the less likely a person will be able to recall it. Memory distortion adds another twist, as minds remember things differently over time than when the events occurred.

The biggest reason people have trouble controlling fire ants is that they only treat individual fire ant mounds. Individual mound treatments can be useful situationally, but need to be supplemented with broadcast treatments that will control all fire ants in all areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Forage Pests, Insects, Fire Ants, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People have many misconceptions on how to eliminate fire ant mounds and prevent them from coming back, and these erroneous beliefs hinder efforts to keep the harmful pest from spreading.

A balanced pond is a healthy pond in which both bass and bluegill are reproducing and growing well. (Photo by Wes Neal)
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A quality fishing pond requires a balance in size and abundance of predator species and their prey -- usually largemouth bass and bluegill, respectively.

A pond owner or manager needs to have a basic understanding of the size range and species composition in the pond to maintain quality fishing. An annual checkup of the fish will yield information to help identify and track problems with the fish population.

May 14, 2015 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Projects, Farm Safety, 4-H Safety Programs, ATV Safety

WEST POINT, Miss. -- Young Mississippians eager to complete the safety course required for operating all-terrain vehicles on public lands can sign up for free classes offered during ATV Safety Week, June 6-14.

To make the most of their medical appointments, seniors should create notebooks that include all of their conditions, treatments for those conditions and medications with dosages. (Photo by iStock)
May 11, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Health, Rural Health

May is Older Americans Month …

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The stress of managing personal health can be physically and emotionally draining for senior citizens and their families, but proper preparation for routine doctor visits can help older adults stay active and robust.

A few basic steps are essential for communicating effectively with the physician and staff, said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Native yellow jasmine, or yellow jessamine, adds one of the first touches of color after winter. It blooms profusely and has a sweet fragrance. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
May 11, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

If you’re looking for something for your landscape that you’ve never tried, may I suggest flowering vines. Many gardeners enjoy these plants but don’t really give them enough attention except when they’re blooming in the spring.

Two of my favorite flowering vines are yellow jasmine and Confederate jasmine.

The landscape at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum in Starkville includes native plants and rainwater capture strategies to make the most of water resources. (Photo by MSU Office of Public Affairs/Megan Bean)
May 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Water, Landscape Architecture

By Beth Baker
Research Associate
MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As many regions of the country face drought conditions this summer, it’s important to remember to use water efficiently.

Mississippi sees a large amount of rainfall each year compared to other states. But only a small portion of that moisture makes it back into the stored groundwater, which is the primary supply for household usage, including water for lawns and gardens. Luckily, having a beautiful yard doesn’t have to mean using a lot of water.

Despite insect challenges last year, grain sorghum acreage in Mississippi is expected to hold steady. This young sorghum was photographed in the Mississippi Delta April 30, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Grains

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Grain sorghum acreage seemed likely to decrease dramatically in Mississippi in 2015 when sugarcane aphids damaged the state’s 2014 crop, but excellent prices kept acreage strong.

Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said Mississippi growers are expecting to plant about 90,000 acres of grain sorghum, or milo, this year. This is slightly lower than the number of acres planted in 2014.

Mississippi State University fashion design and merchandising major Kelsie Bynum of Laurel inspects the dress she constructed for Oktibbeha County 4-H member Cassin Gant before a special fashion show in Starkville, Mississippi, on May 2, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
May 8, 2015 - Filed Under: 4-H, Family

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A service-learning class at Mississippi State University taught clothing design students much more than just how to construct a dress.

Caroline Kobia’s Apparel Design 1 students joined Oktibbeha County 4-H members to learn the basics of clothing construction. This was the second semester the MSU Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence linked MSU students with community partners in a sewing project.

Communication with other family members can help caregivers balance the task with family obligations, work and self care. (Photo by iStock)
May 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Health

May is Older Americans Month …

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Caring for an aging loved one can be overwhelming, especially when balancing the task with family obligations, work and self-care.

Walking, tai chi, weight-bearing exercises and water workouts, such as water volleyball, will improve strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
May 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Health

May is Older Americans Month …

STARKVILLE, MISS. -- Preventable falls can lead to catastrophic problems for older adults, so it is important to be proactive.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi University Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said falls send more than 2 million senior adults to emergency rooms every year. A fall, even for a healthy individual, can trigger a series of problems and the loss of independence.

Mississippi State University animal and dairy science major Jacob McCarty of Summit, left, shows Starkville Academy student Abby Edwards how to sit properly in a saddle during Afternoon on the Farm May 1, 2015. The activities took place at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center at MSU, commonly called the South Farm, in Starkville. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
May 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- More than 60 area kindergartners and homeschoolers enjoyed an Afternoon on the Farm last week.

Thirteen senior students in the Mississippi State University Department of Animal and Dairy Science managed the first edition of the event May 1. Held at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center, commonly called the South Farm, this program was part of a service-learning project students organized as part of the Capstone in Animal and Dairy Science course.

Many dogs spend time outside and often share their play areas with fire ants. When disturbed, the ants sting and deliver venom that can cause severe allergic reactions for some pets and children. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
May 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Fire ants can be more than unwelcome guests in the home lawn; their stings can be dangerous for children and pets who share play areas with the pests.

Fire ant stings are characterized by sharp localized pain, swelling and intense itchiness that is just a short-lived nuisance for most. A raised red bump appears soon after the sting and soon turns into a sterile pustule that resembles a pimple. However, the ants’ venom can cause severe allergic reactions in some people and pets.

Take proper precautions, such as wearing a wide-brimmed hat and applying sunscreen, to protect skin from sun damage and help prevent skin cancer. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
May 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Health

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month …

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- She thought the blemish that refused to heal was simply a persistent pimple.

Shelaine Pennington, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Prentiss County, said the dermatologist looked at the spot on her chin and was relatively certain of the diagnosis, but performed a biopsy to be sure.

The doctor confirmed her diagnosis: basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.

May 5, 2015 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Projects, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Summer camp is going high tech for Mississippi teachers, senior 4-H’ers, and 4-H agents and volunteers.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service will host the second annual Robotics Academy July 27-30 at the Bost Extension Center on the MSU main campus. Participants will learn how to plan a robotics program, how to host a robotics camp, how to plan a successful fundraising campaign, and how to use 4-H robotics and coding in the school setting.

Attendees can choose from four educational tracks:

Milder forms of depression in older Americans responds to creative activities such as knitting or gardening as well as by getting more involved in the community through volunteering. (Photo by iStock)
May 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Health

May is Older Americans Month …

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Older Americans may become depressed as they face the many challenges aging brings, but spotting the signs and being proactive can limit the illness’s influence.

This responsibility starts with the ability of family members or caretakers to recognize early signs of depression in the seniors they know.

Gold Dust mercardonia is a tough annual that can handle the difficult area between sidewalks and roads. With irrigation, it can create a blanket of yellow flowers. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
May 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

If there's one area in almost everyone's landscape that causes a lot of problems, it's that area between the sidewalk and the street.

I surrounded my mailbox with a small planting bed to help me try to garden in this area. I have had some success trying many different planting combinations that change with the seasons. But it is the summer that causes me the most trouble.

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