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News From 2017

Erick Larson, corn and wheat specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, takes a photo on March 22, 2017, of freeze damage on the tips of some wheat growing in variety trials at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville, Mississippi. Larson and other MSU agricultural specialists document crop issues to guide growers and consultants throughout the growing season. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Wheat

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Despite almost everything working against this year's winter wheat, benefits remain on the fields growers managed to plant after last fall’s drought.

Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the 2016-17 season makes four consecutive years of reduced wheat acres.

"The state's farmers planted about 60,000 acres of wheat late last fall, which was about 5,000 fewer acres than the previous year," Williams said.

Spring is the best time of the year to hang purple martin houses, such as these found at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge on March 23, 2017. Place houses 15-20 feet in the air on a pole in an open space, preferably near water. These birds will be happy to help reduce the mosquito population from the area. (Submitted photo by Vicki Maples)
March 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The purple martin is one of the most appreciated and desired birds in the state. It is a summer resident found wherever multi-celled or multi-roomed housing is available.

While they lack the notoriety of the colorful and acrobatic hummingbird, purple martins are by far the most beneficial of the backyard birds. One purple martin can consume thousands of mosquitoes in a single day. Since they are heavily dependent on humans for their shelter, purple martins seem to enjoy being around people, as well.

Sandra Jackson, an agent of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Winston County, helps 6-year-old Akilah Goss assemble a Lego maze March 16, 2017. Jackson was the first agent to teach the 4-H Lego Engineering Club curriculum, which is a STEM program geared toward 4-H’ers aged 5 to 7. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H, Technology

LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Thirteen Winston County children were the test pilots of a new 4-H program while their schools were on spring break.

After seeing a demonstration of the 4-H Lego Engineering Club curriculum in February, Sandra Jackson, an agent of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Winston County, immediately wanted to use it during a camp she was leading in March. The program, designed for Cloverbuds, or 4-H'ers aged 5-7, uses Lego bricks as teaching tools for fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM.

March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit, Nuts

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Producers interested in season extension for specialty crops and commercial strawberry production can learn about these topics during an upcoming field day.

The Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day will be April 4 at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, located at 2024 Experiment Station Road in Crystal Springs. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

March 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Landowners and hunting clubs eager to earn extra income while improving land management for wildlife are invited to attend a Natural Resource Enterprises Business Workshop.

The May 16 event will take place at Pecan Hill Farms in Raymond. Daryl Jones, a Mississippi State University Extension Service instructor, is director of the MSU Natural Resource Enterprises program.

A worker bee sips from honey exposed by damage to the wax comb. Worker bees forage on flowers through the spring, summer and fall to gather and store the honey and pollen the colony needs to survive the winter months. (File photo by MSU Extension/Keri Collins Lewis)
March 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From the outside, a honey bee hive looks pretty simple: bees fly in and out. They fly around flowers, and once inside the hive, they make honey.

They must be hard workers -- after all, the phrase "busy as a bee" had to come from somewhere.

Like many natural phenomena, a hive of honey bees is incredibly complex. Some scientists even classify a beehive, also called a colony, as a superorganism, an insect society made up of individuals that create a functioning whole.

Indian hawthorns are typically small shrubs, but the Rosalinda selection can grow up to about 15 feet if left unpruned. It produces bright-pink flowers in late spring and early summer. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Azaleas have been magnificent this spring. I love seeing the mounds of pink, red and white flowers dotting our Mississippi landscapes. But to tell you the truth, I've been waiting for another of my favorite spring-flowering shrubs that doesn't get as much attention: the Indian hawthorn.

Molly and Brad Judson of Clay County are one of four couples who recently earned the National Outstanding Young Farmers award. They were nominated by Charlie Stokes, right, their Mississippi State University Extension Service agent, for the recognition from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
March 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Community

National Agriculture Week: March 19-25, 2017

WEST POINT, Miss. -- Mississippi's agricultural future is safe in the hands of some of the nation's best farmers. Brad and Molly Judson of Clay County have the award to prove it.

Charlie Stokes, area agronomy agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, nominated the winning couple for the National Outstanding Young Farmers award. The National Association of County Agricultural Agents sponsors the recognition program.

Natasha Haynes, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Rankin County, hosts the weekly video news feature series, “The Food Factor.” (Photo Illustration by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
March 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Food, Health, Nutrition

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- National Ag Day celebrates Food for Life on March 21, but a video series by the Mississippi State University Extension Service promotes nutrition, food safety and healthy lifestyles every week of the year.

"The Food Factor" is a series of 90-second videos hosted by Natasha Haynes, a Rankin County Extension agent. These spots air weekly on a variety of television outlets, in addition to being available online.

Now that it is legal to feed corn all year and hunt over grain on private lands during deer season, hunters may see fewer deer moving around after sunrise. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)
March 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

By Bill Hamrick and Chad M. Dacus
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Some hunters complain about a lack of deer every year, but the concerns this season seem to be more widespread. Since early January, radio programs, newspapers and online forums have featured much discussion about hunters statewide seeing and harvesting fewer deer during the 2016-17 season.

March 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cattle producers in the North Mississippi area are invited to the Mississippi State University campus April 4 for an evening cool-season forage tour.

The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at MSU’s Henry H. Leveck Research Farm, sometimes called South Farm. It is sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Choosing the right breed of chickens for a backyard flock is an important decision. From left, Tripp, Luna and Charlie Sanders examine chicks for sale March 8, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Poultry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families willing to host a flock of feathered friends reap the benefits of fresh eggs delivered daily just outside the door.

What started several years ago as an underground "urban chicken" movement has become much more common and widely accepted. Today, raising backyard chickens has gained popularity nationwide, boosted by interest in locally grown foods that avoid the energy use and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.

Lichen are an unlikely combination of fungi and algae living in a symbiotic relationship on the bark of plants. This type of lichen resembles highly branched balls of fuzz. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Spring is always a busy time in my garden and landscape, as I'm sure it is in yours. It's when we start walking around and planning what we're going to plant this year, but it's also a time when landscape damage is most noticeable.

March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management, Estate and Financial Planning

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Homeowners have until March 31 to file for a homestead exemption, which may help lower their annual tax bills.

Jason Camp, an instructor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development, said qualified homeowners may fall into one of three exemption categories, based on age, disability or veteran status. They may be eligible for a substantial tax exemption if they met these requirements on Jan. 1.

Mississippi State University Extension Service equine specialist Clay Cavinder will assist in the Horse Management: 101 classes from April 11 to May 16 at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Equine

VERONA, Miss. -- Horse owners and riding enthusiasts can learn the basics of riding and equine care at evening classes each Tuesday from April 11 to May 16.

Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting the six-week course at the Lee County Agri-Center, located at 5395 Highway 145 in Verona. Nutrena is cosponsoring Horse Management 101: Ranch Horse Series.

Extension equine specialist Clay Cavinder said the lessons will be suitable for all ages.

Turkey season in Mississippi takes place from March 15 to May 1. The fourth, fifth and sixth weeks, collectively, have been reported as having the most gobbles heard in seven of the last 10 hunting seasons. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
March 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring comes turkey season and the countless hours spent listening for the chill-inducing gobble of a big tom.

March 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Family Financial Management

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Half of Mississippians have lower credit scores than the average American, with Jackson area residents having the second lowest average score in the U.S., according to a national credit monitoring agency.

A recent workshop and new organization, both directed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, aim to help individuals improve their financial health through responsible credit use.

Mildew and mold growth can take place in damp areas of the home, including showers, sinks, bathrooms and kitchens. Clean damp areas, such as kitchens, bathtubs or under-sink cabinets, frequently to reduce mold-feeding spores and microbes. (Photo by Canstock)
March 9, 2017 - Filed Under: Healthy Homes Initiative

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi's humid climate creates a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially in cluttered, unventilated homes.

Many people recognize these fungi by their musty smells on clothing and dark spots on walls and ceilings, but growth usually begins in areas that are unseen or difficult to access.

March 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Dairy

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University scientist is using genomic testing to help improve the profitability of commercial dairies in Mississippi.

Amanda Stone, who became the MSU Extension Service dairy specialist and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment station in August, is exploring ways to make dairy herds more efficient. She is studying the advantages of genomic testing in the MSU dairy herd.

These nasturtiums growing in containers in full sun began blooming Feb. 28. By the end of March, they will be a wall of flowers. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
March 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

You may know by now that I like to grow heirloom vegetables in my Ocean Springs garden. The stories that go along with these old plants are almost as good as their flavors.

My fascination with heirlooms even extends into the realm of flowers. I find heirlooms are a welcome change from the dizzying array of new plants with their kaleidoscope of colors that often go beyond my imagination.

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