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News From 2015

Katherine Weatherby is surrounded by her 2-year-old grandchildren (from left) Zirean Davis, G’Niereya Alston and Bryson Ward at her home in Sallis, Mississippi, on Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo by MSU Human Sciences/Amy Barefield)
September 10, 2015 - Filed Under: Family Dynamics

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Grandparents provide a loving, low-cost and flexible alternative to center-based child care for many families across Mississippi. The benefits to the parents, children and grandparents in these situations are significant for many reasons.

Nearly 11 million children under the age of 5 in the United States go to some type of child care for an average of 36 hours each week. Some children are in multiple child care settings because of their parents’ nontraditional working hours.

September 10, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- Home gardeners and industry professionals can hear research updates and see the top performing plant varieties of 2015 during the Ornamental Horticulture Field Day.

The event will be held Oct. 1 at the Mississippi State University South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville.

This crape myrtle branch is encrusted in the white felt of crape myrtle bark scale, an invasive insect that damages the once low-maintenance trees. (Photo by MSU Extension/Blake Layton)
September 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Plant Diseases, Trees

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University experts found an invasive insect that attacks crape myrtles on the coast this spring and now have spotted the pest in two cities on opposite ends of the state.

The insects are crape myrtle bark scale, or CMBS, and they were found March 15 in Ocean Springs in Jackson County. In August, the insects were detected at five locations in Olive Branch and Southaven in DeSoto County.

Staff members at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Experiment Station are working to put together displays such as this flower-filled fountain for the Fall Flower & Garden Fest scheduled for Oct. 16 and 17 at the station. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
September 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. – The Southeast’s most popular home gardening event will open to home gardeners and horticultural professionals Oct. 16 and 17 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs.

Each year, the Fall Flower & Garden Fest draws an average of 5,000 visitors interested in learning about all aspects of vegetable, flower and herb gardening.

Ornamental kale and cabbage provide easy fall and winter color. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
September 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Many homeowners consider it a point of pride to have a nicely manicured landscape. Southern Gardening is one of many sources of information to help gardeners with maintenance tips and plant selection.

But sometimes, especially at the end of a long, hot summer, the home gardener loses landscape momentum. As I admitted in last week’s column, I’ve found myself in this position. To tell you the truth, it bothers me even though I downplayed the situation.

September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Technology

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A free webinar series will offer business owners tips for using technology to improve online branding and social media tools.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi’s Creative Economy and the Mississippi Development Authority Entrepreneur Center are partnering to deliver four sessions related to business development.

During lean times, food plots provide nutrients to help with antler development. (Photo submitted by MDWFP/Scott Edwards)
September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The thrill of the chase and the urge to be a steward of wild things and wild places are vital to many hunters. I am one of the 19.3 million hunters in the United States who appreciate and enjoy fair-chase hunting, and it has enriched my life for more than 60 years.

Dr. Dena Lodato, a board-certified veterinary surgeon with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Emergency and Referral Clinic in Flowood, greets Lad, a local patient that recovered from serious injuries he suffered when a train hit him. (Submitted photo)
September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Animal Health

By Brandi Van Ormer
MSU College of Veterinary Medicine

FLOWOOD, Miss. -- Most amazing stories begin on a normal day, and the story of a collie named Lad was no different.

But what started as a routine day of play ended with a long-term relationship with experts at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s affiliate emergency and specialty center in Flowood.

Mississippi State University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences senior research associate Wayne Philley, left, and MSU seniors Abram Diaz of D’Iberville and Aaron Tucker of Carthage measure how far a golf ball rolls over different varieties of bermudagrass at the R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center Sept. 4, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Nathan Gregory)
September 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Sod supply in Mississippi is slowly rebounding in 2015 after a major shortage of the commodity last year.

Jay McCurdy, turfgrass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said turfgrass remains in short supply this year due to a decline in acreage and recent harsh winters.

September 3, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

VERONA, Miss. -- Gardeners are invited to attend the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center Fall Flower and Vegetable Tour on Sept. 26.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host this annual tour in Verona from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

MSU horticulture experts will lead educational seminars, provide tours of the flower and vegetable gardens, and answer gardening questions. Fun activities for children will be available.

Catfish, such as these fillets sold in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Sales Store on the Mississippi State University campus, are considered part of a healthy diet. (Photo by Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
September 2, 2015 - Filed Under: Catfish

September is National Catfish Month…

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Catfish is high in protein and low in saturated fat, making it healthy and delicious.

Mark Peterman, an aquaculture associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service based in east Mississippi, said all of Mississippi’s catfish must pass a minimum of three sensory taste tests before processing plants will accept delivery.

U.S. Congressman Trent Kelly, left, who serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, met with Greg Bohach, vice president of the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, and other division experts on Aug. 28, 2015, to discuss critical agricultural and economic issues. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
September 1, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture
Gardeners getting ready to plant fall color, such as that provided by these pansies, should take advantage of recent good weather to get their beds ready. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
August 31, 2015 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Mother Nature is teasing us.

This past weekend was glorious in my south Mississippi garden, especially in the humidity department. I don’t know the last time the humidity was 40 percent at the end of August and the heat index was below the temperature of the surface of the sun.

Like many other home gardeners, this break from the oppressive summer heat got me back out into the landscape to do some chores that needed to be done.

Winston County Extension agent Mike Skipper, left, discusses recovery issues from the April 2014 tornado with Rusty Suttle of Louisville at an Agricultural Disaster Resource Center set up May 15, 2014. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi State University leaders realized the importance of instituting a standardized response system to assist with all types of catastrophes that might strike the state.

Six months after Katrina, the MSU Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development began training university employees, as well as local emergency management officials, 911-call-center operators, and elected and appointed officials.

Early Years Network field technical assistant Norma Hayes (left) worked with Eloise Barnett (center) to get Lil’s Angels Family Center in Hattiesburg up and running after Hurricane Katrina. Barnett’s sister, Patricia Hughes also works at the center. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With so much loss after Hurricane Katrina, it would have been easy to overlook some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens: infants, toddlers and preschool children. Families needed to get back to work whenever possible, but without someone to watch their children, what could they do?

Hurricane Katrina displaced both family pets and large animals. (MSU Ag Communications file photo/Jim Lytle)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Disaster Response

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the hours immediately following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, a team of Mississippi State University veterinarians specially trained to work with animals in disaster situations arrived at the state’s designated animal disaster relief shelter in Jackson.

While the Mississippi Animal Response Team’s immediate focus was to assist the Mississippi Board of Animal Health with assessing and managing the growing number of displaced animals, they also had other duties.

August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Disaster Preparedness

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Less than a week after Mississippi State University hosted multihazard emergency training for colleges and universities, the state’s land-grant school experienced a real-life crisis with someone posing a potential threat.

At 10:15 Thursday morning, MSU issued a “Maroon Alert” to warn students, staff and faculty to shelter in place because of a campus threat. By 10:30 a.m., the suspect was in custody.

Workers harvest rice on Aug. 24, 2015, at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Bobby Golden)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Rice

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Rice harvest has begun in Mississippi, but only time will tell how many acres were actually planted and how good yields will be.

“There’s not a lot of yield reports yet, but I think we’re going to have a good crop,” said Bobby Golden, rice agronomist with the MSU Extension Service and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. “It probably won’t be as good as last year, but we set records the last two years running.”

Alligators, such as this one at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, are native to Mississippi and have rebounded from the endangered species list. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
August 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- To keep the population of the official state reptile in check, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will allow alligator hunting for the 10th year.

Protection and recovery efforts through effective management and education have allowed alligator populations to rebound, which prompted the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to approve the first alligator hunting season in 2005.

Tree farmer Cecil Chambliss thought Hurricane Katrina put him out of business, but 10 years later, he has changed his management practices and improved production on his Forrest County farm by replanting with longleaf and slash pine, which are more resistant to high winds than loblolly pine. (Submitted photo)
August 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Timber Harvest

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As bleak as the outlook seemed for Mississippi’s forestry industry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the state’s second largest agricultural commodity is slowly recovering.