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Feature Story from 1997

July 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming, Farm Safety, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If farming is in their blood, an organization new to Mississippi is determined to keep people with disabilities doing what they love.

AgrAbility for Mississippians, funded by the federal extension service as a grant to the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Easter Seals, works to prevent disabilities from taking farming away from farmers. It helps farmers, farm families or farm workers with disabilities function more easily in agriculture.

July 25, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cotton growers have been battling boll weevils for almost 100 years, but the real war is just beginning.

Cotton growers in Mississippi's hill section and south Delta voted last January to join other Southeastern states in an intensive boll weevil eradication program. The effort in the hill section begins the first week of August with aerial spraying of all cotton fields to prevent weevils from entering diapause, the stage of overwinter preparation. South Delta efforts begin in the fall of 1998.

August 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rain across the state has made 1997 a difficult year for sod producers around the state, but demand has not slowed.

Mississippi has about 3,500 acres of commercial sod farms and 2.5 million acres of turfgrass. Selling and maintaining this turf is a $728 million industry each year.

Lee Taylor, Forrest County extension agent, said this year's weather has caused problems for South Mississippi yards.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The idea of a roomful of excited, squealing kids can make some parents vow never to throw a child's birthday party, but these events can be fun for everyone.

Planning is essential to having a child's party. Plan the time, the activities, the food and how gifts will be handled. Arrange to have a few parents on hand to help with crowd control.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many reduced fat and fat-free foods have become available for consumers during the past few years, but cooks can reduce fat intake simply by altering recipes at home.

"Creative cooks who know which ingredients can be switched around in recipes can significantly alter the fat content in many foods they prepare at home," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forestry

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forestry industry set a production record in 1996 of almost $1.2 billion as actual figures released in July exceeded the previously estimated values.

"Mississippi's forest industry recorded an all-time high for timber production," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University. "Due to a strong fourth quarter, the figures were higher than originally estimated.

"The actual figures of $1.18 billion for 1996 were 7 percent higher than in 1995," Daniels said.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The product is often trampled and always underfoot, but that's because the turfgrass industry is alive and thriving in the state.

With its 2.5 million acres of turfgrass, the industry has a more than $728 million impact on Mississippi's economy. Annually, the industry's gross sales reach about $375 million.

The turfgrass industry employs almost 6,000 full-time and nearly 14,000 part-time workers. Maintenance of the turfgrass costs more than $353 million in materials and labor.

August 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Fisheries

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The average angler fishing along a river probably doesn't realize this pastime is profitable business in Mississippi and a great use of natural resources.

The most recent statistics show that in 1991, anglers spent $236 million to fish in Mississippi, or about $360 a person. This amount includes everything from fishing licenses and bait to equipment, travel expenses and memberships. Sixteen percent of Mississippians fish each year, compared to 14 percent nationwide.

August 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn

By Rhonda Whitmire

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's corn growers anticipate respectable yields, but they are harvesting about 140,000 fewer acres than in 1996.

"The prices and expectations at planting time were down from 1996," said Dr. Tom Jones, Mississippi State University extension agricultural economist. "Growers planted corn on 490,000 acres in Mississippi this year, compared to 630,000 acres in 1996."

August 15, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The harvest season is approaching for Mississippi's "big three" row crops, and it's been a difficult year for some producers.

"There's a lot of variation in this year's soybean crop," said extension soybean specialist Alan Blaine. "Depending on who you talk to, it's either one of the best ever or one of the worst. On average, the 1997 soybean crop in Mississippi is a good one."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimate for the state's soybean crop is about 55 million bushels, up from more than 54 million harvested last year.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Farming, Soil Testing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Testing soils in the fall means better prepared soil and one less thing to do in the spring.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said there is very little difference in results between spring and fall testing. Because of this, he recommended getting soil testing done in the fall.

"If the soil test calls for corrective action, you have an entire winter to plan your fertility program," Oldham said. "It's often easier to get into the field in the fall for samples than during the more hectic spring planting rush."

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A lot of emergency first aid that works for injured humans also helps hurt animals.

Dr. Roger Wilbur, community practice veterinarian at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said people can do a lot to help injured animals. The goal is to quickly and safely get the animal to a veterinarian.

Common injuries requiring first aid for animals are bite wounds, gunshot wounds or injuries from being hit by a car.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the adorable puppy in the window of the pet store is an aggressive breed, prospective owners should think twice before taking it home.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension leader of veterinary medicine at Mississippi State University, said genetics and environment contribute to a dog's aggressive nature.

"Some dogs have a greater tendency towards aggression than others, but aggression usually is promoted or worsened by the dog's environment and experiences," Hopper said.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Food, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Americans are realizing that better diets lead to better lives, but after making it clear they aren't willing to sacrifice great tastes they've enjoyed for years, the food industry has been compelled to respond.

As many Americans try to form better eating habits, the food industry is using modern technology to ensure healthy foods also taste good.

Dr. Zahur Haque, professor of food technology at Mississippi State University, said Americans started moving away from high fat diets about ten years ago.

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soil Testing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Testing soils in the fall means better prepared soil and one less thing to do in the spring.

Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said there is very little difference in results between spring and fall testing. Because of this, he recommended getting soil testing done in the fall.

"If the soil test calls for corrective action, you have an entire winter to plan your fertility program," Oldham said. "It's often easier to get into the field in the fall for samples than during the more hectic spring planting rush."

August 18, 1997 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Enthusiastic dove hunters should not let the excitement of the first major fall hunting season cloud their judgement for a safe and legal hunt.

Dove shoots traditionally trigger the beginning of the fall hunting season.

Mississippi is divided into two hunting regions with three different dove seasons each. Dove season will be legal in the northern portion of the state from Sept. 6 through 27, from Oct. 11 through Nov. 9 and again from Dec. 27 until Jan. 3.

August 22, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- You've got to make hay while the sun shines, but Mississippi producers have not seen many clear skies at key hay cutting times.

Despite a late start, many state farmers were completing the second or third cutting of the hay season by the middle of August with hopes weather will allow one more. Mississippi's hay production probably will reach just 90 percent of normal levels.

August 29, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When heat and humidity challenge the state's poultry industry, broilers lose every time, but this summer has been kinder than usual on the birds.

Up until the first of August, Mississippi broiler growers had not seen serious losses to heat stress. Before that, the cooler weather was a blessing to poultry growers, keeping deaths to a minimum.

Bill Goodwin is the extension agent for Scott County, the state's leading poultry producer. He said some broiler deaths to heat stress are unavoidable each year.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Technology, Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People are becoming more cautious when they read the want ads, but they should not let their guard down when surfing for opportunities on the Internet.

The increase of computers at home and the increasing desire to work at home is driving many opportunity seekers to the Internet.

Dr. Beth Duncan, extension home-based and entrepreneurial business specialist at Mississippi State University, said the Internet is one more avenue scam artists use to hook people.

September 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Unusual, offensive pet behaviors can shock and bewilder owners, but look for a treatment plan before giving up and getting rid of the animal.

Any animal can resort to undesirable behavior, even an adult pet that has been well behaved for a long time. In fact, many owners have the animals euthanized.

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