Feature Story from 1998
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Producers with insured crops in South Mississippi damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Georges can get relief for the loss by following the proper claims process.
Dr. John Robinson, ag economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said Mississippi has about 60,000 acres of corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat in the 15 southeastern counties.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newlyweds can avoid the common problem of gaining weight by eating healthy and exercising as a team.
"Exercise is important for everyone's physical and emotional condition," said Linda Patterson, extension health specialist at Mississippi State University. "It's a great way to relieve stress and control weight."
Patterson said early in a marriage is a good time to develop a habit of regular exercise.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- One of the biggest and most immediate challenges facing newly-married couples is choosing and paying for their first home.
Couples have several housing options from which to choose. They may choose to rent an apartment or a house, or they can buy or build a house.
Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said most young couples choose to rent at first. They need time to decide and agree on their preferences and tastes for a more permanent home.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the thought of an expensive wedding is discouraging, consider a variety of alternatives to keep costs down.
Dr. Beverly Howell, extension family economics and management specialist at Mississippi State University, said many young couples today choose to keep their wedding budget as low as possible in order to save money for other things.
"Many young couples are asking themselves if they want to put a lot of money into the wedding," Howell said.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Even though preparing for a wedding is usually a stressful time for the bride and groom, stress does not have to take control. By staying organized and healthy a couple can overcome stress and have a joyful wedding.
Linda Patterson, extension health specialist at Mississippi State University, said stress is created by the mind and couples should watch their thoughts.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children can add a precious element to wedding ceremonies, but adults first need to have realistic expectations for a child's behavior.
Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said children require special considerations for being in a formal ceremony.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Once the wedding is over and the couple is back from the honeymoon, it's time to start playing together.
Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said couples should make a habit of spending time together. Communication grows with shared interests.
"Treat your spouse as your deepest and best friend," Davis said. "Learn to enjoy each other's interests and find an activity of your own to do as a couple."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In reality, outdoor Mississippi weddings are often very different from the imagined clear skies with a cool breeze rustling through the flowers.
Mississippi has many beautiful outdoor wedding settings with fresh air and open spaces. But it is very hot in the summer with humidity, bugs and afternoon rains that must be planned for.
Ann Stevenson, area extension agent in the northwest district (Panola County), said outdoor wedding can be successful, but require more time and effort.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Couples are no longer the only ones adjusting to new marriages. Children from previous relationships often have the hardest time adapting to a new parent in the house.
Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said effective communication early-on is the key to helping children accept step-parents.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's rich soil has a reputation for producing impressive cotton crops, but Georgia's boll weevil-free fields have rapidly become the top Southeast producers.
"When the market is not strong, growers need all the breaks they can get to make a profit," said Dr. Michael Ouart, extension state program leader for agriculture and natural resources at Mississippi State University. "If boll weevils are not a control factor, growers can invest that money in other ways to produce higher yields."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's catfish industry already leads the world in production, and in 1997 increased 22 percent to record a $380 million farm gate value in the state.
The latest figures show that Mississippi had 102,000 acres of catfish ponds as of Jan. 1, 1997. The United States had a total of 177,300. Twenty years ago, Mississippi had just 17,000 acres of catfish ponds.
Jim Steeby, area extension aquaculture agent in the Delta, said no other place in the nation is so uniquely equipped for catfish production.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather and Mississippi State University played major roles in the record yields state farmers have produced in recent years among Mississippi's top row crops.
In 1997, cotton farmers saw their highest production with 896 pounds harvested per acre. Soybeans matched 1996's second highest production with 31 bushels an acre, while corn set a new record at 107 bushels per acre. Rice and wheat also set yield records in the past two years.
By Rhonda Whitmire
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean farmers have relied on variety testing results for many years, and now they can view the latest results on the Internet.
Since 1982, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, in cooperation with Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, has tested various soybean varieties. Farmers receive the results through MAFES and extension publications and by word of mouth.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Few areas of the financial world remained untouched by Asia's economic troubles that started in October, but Mississippi farmers are weathering it well.
Agricultural markets were shaken when Asian stock markets plummeted last fall. Hardest hit were Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan. These countries along the Pacific Rim have traditionally been strong consumers of American grain, cotton and poultry.
By Bonnie Coblentz
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The topic of many causal conversations this winter is no light matter to farmers who must make decisions for the upcoming year based in part on the weather.
January has not brought the freezing temperatures it usually does, and warmer weather means more crop pests can survive until spring. But a lack of cold weather did not stop the rain, which has brought area flooding to some portions of the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Company is coming to Mississippi in the form of hundreds of thousands of tourists, and Mississippians are encouraged to have the state ready for visitors.
First Lady Pat Fordice initiated the Splendors of Mississippi program last fall to complement the upcoming Splendors of Versailles and the International Ballet Competition, both to be held in Jackson this year. Her two-part beautification program is encouraging the planting of yellow, white and gold flowers all over the state, and keeping roadways free of litter.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good health practices and cleaning habits can help protect people from widespread colds and flu during the peak of the season.
Dr. Mary Currier, state epidemiologist, said Mississippi has experienced an average flu season. The best news is that reports have been on two strains of Influenza A, which are easier to treat than Influenza B. Unfortunately, one of the strains (A-Sidney) could not be controlled by the vaccine.
By Kelli McPhail
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- All-terrain vehicle accidents claim lives and cause hundreds of injuries each year, and young operators especially need to learn responsible habits to avoid deadly accidents.
Recreational use of ATVs, better known as three- and four-wheelers, increases as temperatures warm and days lengthen.
Dr. Dannie L. Reed, Choctaw County extension agent, said kids often see ATVs as toys. However, ATVs carry severe consequences if not carefully operated.
By Russell Hood and Bob Ratliff
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Choice is usually a good thing, but sometimes a person doesn't have the time or information to make the right decision, whether it be choosing a flavor of ice cream or the best weed-control method.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the ground is so muddy gardeners don't want to put their hands in it, they shouldn't put their shovels in it either.
Dr. David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said wet ground is seriously damaged when it is worked.
"Anytime you can squeeze water out of the soil, it is too wet to work with," Nagel said. "If you step on soil and water comes around your shoes or you can rub soil between your thumb and forefinger and make a ribbon that holds together, you probably need to wait before you start gardening.