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News From 2015

Keeping hot and cold foods at the proper temperatures during a wedding reception is essential for maintaining food safety and quality. (Photo by iStock)
January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Food-borne illnesses are not popular wedding favors, and brides can keep their guests smiling by practicing a few simple food safety tips.

Natasha Haynes, host of “The Food Factor” and an agent in Rankin County for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said many families organize do-it-yourself wedding receptions to reduce food costs.

“After investing in the ingredients for a wedding reception, you don’t want to let them go to waste because of poor storage or serving options,” Haynes said.

January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Stress can rob a bride of joy at her own wedding, but good preparation can help her prioritize and focus on what’s important on her big day.

Planning a wedding is a big production, said Carla Stanford, Mississippi State University Extension Service regional health specialist based in Verona. What should be a happy day has the potential to cause mental and emotional anguish if not handled correctly.

Blacksmith Chuck Averett demonstrates his skill on an authentic 1860s forge during last year's Forge Day at the MSU Crosby Arboretum in Picayune. The 2015 Forge Day is set for Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Pat Drackett)
January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Community

PICAYUNE -- Area craftsmen will demonstrate blacksmithing and other metalworking techniques for the general public Jan. 31 at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune.

Forge Day organizers expect about 10 exhibitors for the event. Attendees can learn tips for metalworking and try their hand at the forge. Adults and children who sign a waiver form may participate at select booths. Safety equipment will be provided.

Knife sharpening will be available.

January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

GRENADA -- Landowners, hunters and timber professionals across the state, including those in the Grenada County area, are educating themselves about a major nuisance to land and wildlife.

January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Youth Projects, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High school juniors considering medical careers in Mississippi may apply by March 18 for an intense and revealing summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU, which will take place from May 31 through July 6, aims to identify the state’s future primary-care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2024.

January 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering two short courses at two locations to answer questions related to commercial grape and muscadine production.

The first short course will take place on Feb. 19 in Hattiesburg at the Forrest County Extension Office and Feb. 26 in Verona at the MSU North Mississippi Research and Extension Center. The second short course will be offered Aug. 13 in Hattiesburg and Aug. 20 in Verona at the same locations. Each event begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

Mississippi State University Extension Service dietitians suggest eating more fruits and vegetables in recognition of Natural Fat-Free Living Month in January. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
January 14, 2015 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Health, Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Losing weight and getting in shape are among the most common New Year’s resolutions, so it is no surprise that many health-oriented organizations recognize January as National Fat-Free Living Month.

Literally living fat-free, however, is impossible, said Brent Fountain, associate professor of human nutrition with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. A certain amount of fat is needed, as it is a primary source of energy and cushions organs and tissues in the body to protect them, he said.

Kudzu bugs are invasive insects from Asia that arrived in Atlanta in 2009. They have been found in nearly every Mississippi county and across the Southeast to Arkansas and Louisiana. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
January 14, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An unusual new agricultural pest has made its way throughout most of the state, and while its impact on soybeans has been low, it is causing trouble in homes.

The kudzu bug is an invasive species from Asia that arrived in Atlanta, most likely at the airport. First found in Georgia in 2009, the pest rapidly spread across the entire Southeast and has made it as far as Arkansas and Louisiana.

Lichens are harmless, opportunistic organisms that grow on hard outdoor surfaces, such as wooden fences, rocks and tree bark. A healthy plant has a canopy that discourages lichen growth. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
January 12, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Winter is a good time to examine landscape plants. With many of the deciduous plants dropping their leaves, it is easy to see defects and other problems, especially strange things growing on the landscape plants.

Extension offices all across Mississippi are going to be receiving calls from concerned homeowners about a moldy-looking, gray-green stuff on their plants. The cause for the concern 99 percent of the time is an organism called lichen.

Ben Carr of Ackerman, left, helps his brother Pete, cousin Max Hudson of Louisville and sister Carrie move their grandfather's Christmas tree to the edge of his yard for wildlife cover on Jan. 7, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
January 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Christmas Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- According to the National Christmas Tree Association, American consumers purchase nearly 30 million real trees annually from one of more than 15,000 Christmas tree farms. Real-tree enthusiasts cite three main reasons for their yearly choice: tradition, fresh pine scent and appearance.

Selecting a real tree is also an environmentally friendly choice. Real Christmas trees are 100 percent biodegradable and can be recycled in a variety of ways.

The National Christmas Tree Association offers these little-known facts about real trees:

Jonah Holland's photograph, "Spiny Soul," won Overall Best in Show and a Grand National Award at the 2014 National Junior Horticulture Association photography contest in Lexington, Kentucky. Holland is a member of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H in Tishomingo County. (Photo courtesy of Jonah Holland)
January 9, 2015 - Filed Under: 4-H

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Seven Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H members received national attention for their photographs of plant-related subjects at the 2014 National Junior Horticulture Association photography contest this fall.

Jonah Holland of Tishomingo County received Overall Best of Show and Grand National Awards for his image titled “Spiny Soul.” He also was awarded a Grand National Award for his “Lone Leaf” image.

Evan Kirkpatrick of Jasper County received a Grand National Award for his image, “Sunflowers.”

January 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Crops, Fruit

POPLARVILLE -- Mississippi blueberry growers will have an opportunity next month to hear from seven top statewide researchers on various topics related to crop production.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and the Gulf South Blueberry Growers Association, will host the educational workshop from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Forrest County Extension Office, located at 952 Sullivan Drive in Hattiesburg.

January 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Early Years Network: Special Needs program is hosting free Developmental Screening Day events in three locations around the state in January.

Children 6 months to 5 years of age will be checked for age-specific physical and educational milestones by a team of early childhood specialists with the network’s Special Needs program. If a parent, physician, child-care provider or pre-K teacher has concerns about a child’s development, this event will help.

Screenings will take place from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at each site.

January 6, 2015 - Filed Under: Farming, Lawn and Garden

GOODMAN -- Organizers have planned a variety of relevant workshops in 2015 for farmers and home gardeners as part of a year-long series of monthly field days at the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture Production Farm near Goodman.

Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will provide information and hands-on demonstrations at the first field day Jan. 16.

Loropetalum is a versatile landscape plant that comes in a variety of sizes, such as these dwarf burgundy-leaved varieties. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
January 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Because we haven’t yet had much of what you would call winter weather in Mississippi, we’re seeing some earlier-than-normal garden activity.

I thought the one cold snap we had in December put the landscape to bed for the season, but since then, the bananas, elephant ears and canna have started pushing new growth in my coastal landscape. I know this is probably short lived, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

January 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wildlife groups are partnering to promote hunting and firearm safety among Mississippi youths through squirrel hunts at seven sites across the state next month.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service will join the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to host the hunts on Feb. 7.

January 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Environment

By Adam Rohnke
Urban Wildlife Specialist
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Funding and manpower are the most common limiting factors in conducting research. These factors are especially limiting for wildlife and fisheries research projects, which cover vast geographic areas, involve secretive animals and generate large quantities of information.