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News From 2024

A woman scrapes vegetable scraps off a cutting board into a countertop compost bin.
February 21, 2024 - Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Natural Resources, Waste Management

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Many of the practices associated with sustainability, such as recycling, can be extended into the garden. Composting is a way to help reduce organic waste that goes to the landfill and helps feed gardens. These organic materials, which include grass clippings, leaves and other yard wastes, account for about 30% of trash that goes to the landfill.

Four people at a table talking to each other.
February 19, 2024 - Filed Under: Extension Program Priorities, Research and Extension Centers, Agriculture

VERONA, Miss. -- The forestry specialist roster at Mississippi State University Extension Service is growing, mostly in response to feedback received from industry professionals at Producer Advisory Council meetings.

Red and yellow blooms blanket plants in a greenhouse.
February 19, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Coach’s Cedar Creek Farm in Lucedale where I was awestruck by the brightly blooming Amstel begonias growing in one of their greenhouses.
These begonias, also known as Rieger begonias, are a unique blend of tuberous and wax begonias.

A large, pink bloom resembles an open rose.
February 12, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I recently had the pleasure of exploring Mr. Jim Smelley’s impressive camellia collection with some of the Pearl River County Master Gardeners. I began thinking about how these beautiful plants with their gorgeous blooms could be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for plant lovers.

February 9, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Marine Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have awarded grant funding to Mississippi State University to establish a Gulf Coast-based climate resilience fellowship.

The MSU Extension Service was awarded nearly $500,000 to launch the program, known as Expanding and Diversifying Youth Climate Resilience Opportunities in Coastal Mississippi.

A teenage boy poses with a goat.
February 9, 2024 - Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Join 4-H

JACKSON, Miss. -- Hinds County 4-H’er Mason Williams had already represented Mississippi in a national competition less than a year ago, so showing animals in a statewide event was no sweat.

“Those experiences make it a little bit easier to be in front of all those people,” Williams said. “It doesn’t take all the pressure away, but it makes it easier to manage, so when you walk out there and see everybody, you don’t get stage fright.”

Pasture with dying grass.
February 6, 2024 - Filed Under: Forages, Management - Forages

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In less than half a year, Mississippi pastures have endured drought conditions and subfreezing temperatures, but landowners can soften the blow winterkill deals to their winter grazing systems.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said moderated grazing, cover crop planting and adequate soil nutrition can keep winterkill in cool-season annual grasses from being widespread. Some forage loss is still to be expected.

A piece of pine tree bark with Ips beetle grooves.
February 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forestry, Forest Management, Forest Pests, Urban and Community Forestry

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As drought takes its toll on Mississippi’s trees, foresters encourage landowners and homeowners to be on the lookout for pine bark beetles as spring arrives.

A small, rounded tree grows in a landscape.
February 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Did you know there is a tree that produces fruit in late winter and early spring? That tree is the loquat, and as I drive around Mississippi on these cold winter days, I have noticed many of them in gardens and landscapes. With their evergreen elegance and delectable fruit, loquat trees add a bit of subtropical charm.

February 5, 2024 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Water, Mississippi Well Owner Network

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will offer free bacteria screenings for private water well owners in Marshall County during an upcoming free program.

February 1, 2024 - Filed Under: Community, City and County Government, Economic Development

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Volunteers, employees and board members of the tourism sector or related organizations can get training and build networks with other tourism professionals in an upcoming certificate program. The Excellence in Tourism Leadership Program is offered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development in partnership with the Mississippi Tourism Association. The program will help tourism professionals learn how to market and increase tourism while gaining insight about leadership, advocacy, public policy and administration. The two-year program offers the opportunity to earn two separate certificates -- an associate certificate and a master certificate.

January 29, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Local Flavor, Specialty Crop Production, Cut Flowers and Houseplants, Floral Design

BILOXI, Miss. -- Floral enthusiasts and business owners can learn from a professional floral designer during an upcoming design demonstration and workshop hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Rachel Bond, a Pass Christian floral designer, will showcase her floral design style using diverse plant materials and traditional stylings.

January 29, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Apiculture: Honey Bee Health, Poultry, Forestry, Marine Resources

BILOXI, Miss. -- Many cattle producers in Mississippi like Bobby Jones do not have access to a dedicated large-animal veterinarian.

This was one of the many needs voiced during the 2024 Producer Advisory Council meeting on Jan. 25 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. The annual meeting serves as a forum for agricultural producers to discuss their needs with university administrators, researchers, specialists and Extension agents.

A woman kneels beside a small horse that she is hugging.
January 29, 2024 - Filed Under: Equine

Although much of civilization is intertwined with the use of horses, these animals are much more than beasts of burden, and research today continues to look at the bond between horses and humans.

A yellow branch is lined with green needles.
January 29, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I absolutely love looking for different types of plants for my landscaping. In home landscapes, the usual suspects like hollies, ligustrums, azaleas and camellias often take center stage. While these are excellent choices, there’s a world of possibilities waiting for those willing to explore the realm of conifers.

People in an auditorium watching a person give a presentation.
January 22, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Producers should anticipate tighter profit margins in 2024 as agricultural commodity prices decrease and financing costs climb. However, experts expect the industry to be buoyed by its economic strength, which has grown 6% since 2021.

Ducks in a marsh
January 22, 2024 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Where are all the ducks?” It’s a question James Callicutt fields with more frequency and urgency from hunters and birders in Mississippi by the year.

Callicutt, a Mississippi State University Extension Service instructor specializing in waterfowl and wetlands ecology, said aerial waterfowl survey data show duck abundance in the southeastern U.S. is well below average.

A branch with green leaves has tiny red flowers.
January 22, 2024 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

In the world of ornamental shrubs, Distyliums are a hidden gem, prized for their evergreen foliage, adaptability and understated charm.

January 19, 2024 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi blueberry producers have two opportunities during February to learn more about production of the state’s largest fruit crop. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting an in-person workshop and a virtual workshop.

A map shows plant hardiness zones in Mississippi.
January 18, 2024 - Filed Under: Planting, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Gardeners careful to select plants that thrive in their area have an updated U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map to use.
Released in late 2023, the zone map features an updated chart that was previously drawn in 2012. Much of Mississippi is now in zone 8b. This zone has average low winter temperatures of 15–20 degrees.

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