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Feature Story from 1997

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Family

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The holiday season brings joy to most families, but every year the spirits of some are dampened when a burglar strikes the home.

Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said creating a "lived-in look" is the best way to deter burglars from an empty home.

"If you leave your house looking as if someone is home, you have taken a big step in protecting against burglary," she said.

The specialist offered tips to make the home look occupied.

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Capture those cherished holiday memories with a familiar camera, as first-time or once-a-year attempts can have disastrous results.

Jim Lytle, senior photographer with Mississippi State University's Office of Agricultural Communications, said many holiday photographers have disappointing results. Many common mistakes result from not knowing the camera well.

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Holiday guests may pick over or guess about some hors d'oeuvres, but cheese trays provide a comfortable "safe" place for nibblers to return to.

Many cheese varieties contain a protein value equal to red meat. In today's health-conscious world, however, many people shy away from cheese because of its fat content. Cheeses at the top end of the fat scale can have a fat content up to 75 percent, while most are about 40 to 50 percent fat.

Problems with taste and texture have limited the acceptance of recently developed low-fat cheeses.

October 27, 1997 - Filed Under: Community, Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The resolute bulldog and cowbell are widely recognized symbols of Mississippi State University, but at the holidays, MSU's distinctive 3-pound Edam cheese "cannon ball" is not far behind.

During the holiday season, MSU sells more than 46,000 balls of Edam cheese. Another 5,000 are sold around Easter.

Noel Hall, MSU dairy plant superintendent, said the Edams have always been popular, but getting one was difficult in the early years.

October 31, 1997 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Catfish processing in the state and country is up this year, but production is not as cool weather in the growing season means the fish are smaller.

Nationwide, catfish processing is up 12 percent from September 1996 with 43.5 million pounds processed in September. But the industry is expected to run short of large catfish by spring, given the numbers being processed now and the amount of feed gotten into the catfish.

November 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Cotton, Soybeans, Agricultural Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Like a real roller coaster ride, 1997 left some farmers saying, "Let's go again," and others saying, "No way."

Cold, wet conditions at planting time had row-crop growers struggling to plant fields. As the conditions persisted, the young plants struggled to mature.

"Early season conditions resulted in about 30,000 acres of cotton being destroyed -- mainly in Northeast Mississippi," said Dr. Will McCarty, extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University.

Growers planted much of the state's cotton later than ideal.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eating junk foods and forgetting to exercise can cause health problems much more serious than simply being overweight.

Americans are aware of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity, but many don't realize that neglecting those habits can lead to health risks, such as type 2 diabetes.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Youngsters planning to participate in the Mississippi junior livestock program in 1998 have some studying to do before the season begins in January.

Dr. Joe Baker, extension animal science specialist at Mississippi State University, said 4-H and FFA officials serving on an ethics task force committee decided in February 1997 to make the junior livestock program truly a program for the juniors.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Livestock, Animal Health, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heavy acorn crops may delight wildlife enthusiasts, but cattle producers recognize the deadly threat to their animals pastured with large numbers of oak trees.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said it is common for cattle to eat acorns, but few are poisoned by them in the state. Most happen when acorns are abundant and pastures offer little forage.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Farming

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some farmers still receive advice from their neighbors, but many are turning to certified crop advisors for help in making decisions that will impact their pocketbooks and protect the environment.

"Certified crop advisors take field management decisions up to a whole new level," said Dr. Larry Oldham, extension soils specialist at Mississippi State University. "CCA advice results from research-based training."

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Youngsters planning to participate in the Mississippi junior livestock program in 1998 have some studying to do before the season begins in January.

Dr. Joe Baker, extension animal science specialist at Mississippi State University, said 4-H and FFA officials serving on an ethics task force committee decided in February 1997 to make the junior livestock program truly a program for the juniors.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heavy acorn crops may delight wildlife enthusiasts, but cattle producers recognize the deadly threat to their animals pastured with large numbers of oak trees.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said it is common for cattle to eat acorns, but few are poisoned by them in the state. Most happen when acorns are abundant and pastures offer little forage.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Environment

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cutting firewood can be a cost-effective way to warm homes in the winter, but never compromise safety in an attempt to cut home heating bills.

Dannie Reed, Choctaw County extension agent, said using chain saws is a hazardous and sometimes deadly activity. Chain saw accidents are a leading cause of emergency room visits, and some result in fatalities in Mississippi.

"Chain saws are probably the most dangerous of the portable power tools since it has more horsepower and exposed cutting blade than most anything else you can use," Reed said.

November 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Nutrition

By Allison Powe

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most everyone strives for a slim figure, and some people have enough discipline to maintain good nutrition, but eating concerns can go too far.

Dieting can lose its value as a tool for maintaining health, and it can even be destructive if people continues to lose weight beyond their healthy weight range.

Dr. Barbara McLaurin, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said people should consider overall nutrition when starting a weight-loss diet.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Christmas Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Years of hard work are about to pay off for Mississippi's 140 Christmas tree growers.

Unlike the state's annual crops, farmers have a long wait before reaping the harvest rewards. Six-foot trees take about four years to grow.

Dr. Steve Dicke, extension forestry specialist in Raymond, said the enormous effort involved in growing trees has reduced the number of Mississippi Christmas tree growers over the years. The state had 450 growers in 1985 when the industry was in its infancy.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Environment, Food, Food Safety, Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When a hunter's goal is a tasty meal, success will depend on more than an accurate aim.

The wild taste is not necessarily something game meat naturally has, but results from improper care of the game. A few preparations can ensure the successful hunt is enjoyed on the dinner table.

Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension food safety specialist at Mississippi State University, said field dressing is the most important step in preserving the flavor of the meat.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family, Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sometimes Old Man Winter doesn't just knock at your door. When he barges right in, some extra efforts can help people stay warmer in cold houses.

Whether your home is without electricity following a winter storm or simply a cold house, several steps can make it more bearable during the winter.

Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said clothing, nutrition and special insulation can help people stay warmer in cold houses.

November 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Farm Safety, Family

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- On winter evenings, few things can top the warmth of a wood heater, but these can turn dangerous if not installed and maintained properly.

Andy Sharp, a Starkville fire fighter and chimney sweeper, works both with preventing and putting out chimney fires. On average, Starkville has five to 10 chimney fires a year, he said.

"Very rarely does the house catch on fire, but nine times out of 10, the chimney is damaged by a chimney fire," Sharp said. "The chimney is not designed to have a fire, and a fire inside it can crack the inside and outside."

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When families get together for the holidays, it's easy to forget the furry members of the group.

Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said the holidays can be traumatic for house pets. Decorations offer a wide range of potential dangers.

"Be prepared for odd behavior because sometimes guests in the house upset the pet," Hopper said. "Pets can become jealous and aggressive towards children, quit eating or have bad behavior such as soiling the carpet."

December 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Family, Food and Health, Nutrition

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians will have many opportunities to celebrate during the holidays, but take extreme caution when alcohol is served.

Nutrition guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not recommend the consumption of alcohol. For those who intend to drink anyway, USDA recommends only moderate drinking.

Dr. Barbara McLaurin, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said USDA's definition of moderate drinking is different for men and women.

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