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Feature Story from 2000

September 5, 2000 - Filed Under: Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Getting Internet access can be a simple chore if only one option is available, but in Mississippi's larger cities, consumers have to decide among an array of options.

Dan Brook, head of computer applications with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said which one to choose depends on a variety of factors.

September 5, 2000 - Filed Under: Family

By Crystel Bailey

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Update wardrobes this fall with preppie styles and shiny fabrics, but don't throw away those animal prints just yet.

Everlyn Johnson, apparel and textile program leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said to look for animal prints, plaids, gold jewelry and leather this fall.

September 8, 2000 - Filed Under: Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A dry growing season means Mississippi cotton matured a lot faster than normal, but with this early maturing came reduced yields.

Will McCarty, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said cotton is being harvested three weeks earlier than normal this year.

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The damage isn't nearly as dramatic as that caused by an earthquake, but Mississippi soils have the capacity to harm foundations when they get dry.

Frances Graham, housing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said shifting ground can crack foundations. This damage often shows up as cracks or separation around doors and windows or brick veneer, or as cracks in the cement slab of the carport or garage. This damage is especially evident during droughts.

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Crops

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- It's too late to do anything for this year's crops, but farmers hurt by two years of drought should begin to act now to reduce their susceptibility to future drought.

Short of installing irrigation systems, there are options that can give crops a little relief during blistering, dry summers. These include early planting, the use of early maturing varieties and a departure from clean tillage systems.

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Soils

By Crystel Bailey

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi may experience long-term plant loss and severe soil moisture depletion if plentiful rains do not come in time to heal the drought damage.

"Parts of Mississippi are experiencing the worst drought since 1954 and 1980. The Delta, northeast Mississippi and some parts south of Jackson have suffered the most from the lack of rainfall," said Charles Wax, head of geosciences at Mississippi State University.

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A hay season like this year's leaves cattle producers with only one thing to cut: cows.

Most Mississippi cattle producers who were holding out hope for a decent hay cutting before fall now realize it is time to cull herds before they are left with too many mouths and not enough feed to last the winter.

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Irrigation

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Doing a rain dance doesn't guarantee rain, but there are ways to water yards and plants more effectively in a drought.

"Many plants and shrubs are suffering right now from a lack of water," said Norman Winter, a horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Most of us would like to alleviate the pain of our precious plants in hopes of saving them from the raging dry heat."

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Water Quality

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians are not in the habit of keeping track of water supplies, but a second summer of drought is taking its toll on the underground water stores.

Most of the state gets its water from underground aquifers. A few areas use surface water for their supply, but most municipalities dig wells to serve the needs of communities, industries and agriculture.

September 11, 2000 - Filed Under: Water

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Reduced water levels in Mississippi farm ponds can be both negative and positive.

"A very common concern among recreational farm pond owners is the impact reduced water levels have on fish," said Marty Brunson, Extension fisheries specialist at Mississippi State University. "No fresh water entering Mississippi farm ponds means no water to dilute the common nutrients and metabolic wastes from fish. Increased concentrations of ammonia, for example, can be potent and dangerous to fish even at low levels."

September 15, 2000 - Filed Under: Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cattle producers are making their annual fall pilgrimages to markets earlier than normal as the drought leaves them little choice.

Charlie Forrest, marketing specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said market activity is running about a month ahead of schedule. Producers traditionally cull cattle between late September and October to reduce the number of mouths to feed in the winter.

September 18, 2000 - Filed Under: 4-H

By Crystel Bailey

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- More and more Mississippi 4-Hers are pledging their head, heart, hands and health toward improving themselves and their communities through special programs.

"Membership totals for 2000 are not yet in, but membership increased by 38 percent from 1998 to 1999, totaling 100,896 youths involved in 4-H in Mississippi last year," said Susan Holder, 4-H state leader at Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

September 18, 2000 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi businesses fighting a never- ending battle to stay competitive got some help from specialists brought to a conference at Mississippi State University.

Thirty-two Mississippi manufacturers were represented at MSU's Extension Service Food and Fiber Center's Lean Manufacturing Conference in September. They came to learn ways to reduce waste and increase profitability in manufacturing, a concept known as lean manufacturing.

September 22, 2000 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

By Crystel Bailey

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi sweetpotato farmers can expect variable crops this year, depending on the amount of rainfall each of their fields received.

"Most farmers can expect an average crop, but it will vary because some fields received more rain than others. There will probably not be as many bigger potatoes because of the drought. Not only do dry conditions stunt their growth, but it allows timely harvest that prevents oversizing," said Paul Thompson, Extension horticulture specialist for Mississippi State University.

September 25, 2000 - Filed Under: Equine

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A relatively new form of therapy holds promise for individuals with various types of physical and mental disabilities and movement dysfunctions.

Therapeutic riding, or hippotherapy, offers an alternative to conventional treatment and sometimes is even used with conventional therapy.

It can be valuable at any age to persons with amputations, autism, Down Syndrome, emotional disabilities, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and a variety of other conditions.

September 25, 2000 - Filed Under: Farm Safety

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The fall harvest season and the preparation for winter mean an increase in farming activities and the risks that come with them.

"Harvest season usually results in an increase in farm accidents nationwide. Many accidents occur when farmers are in a hurry. A large percentage of farm accidents are fatal," said Herb Willcutt, agricultural engineer with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.

"The fourth leading cause of non-highway accidental deaths in Mississippi is farm-related,"Willcutt said.

September 25, 2000 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new Internet radio network is up and running, and offers programming from Mississippi State University specialists on a wide variety of topics.

RadioSource.net is a portal website posting audio programming that can be downloaded for rebroadcast or streamed for consumer use. It is provided through the cooperation of MSU and 11 other participating institutions.

September 25, 2000 - Filed Under: Wood Products

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Biofilters may be the key to protecting Mississippi's air quality and wood industry as each new decade brings stricter regulations to protect the environment.

Susan Diehl, associate professor with the Forest Products Laboratory at Mississippi State University, said the 1990 Clean Air Act focused on air emissions from dry kilns and wood presses. The Environmental Protection Agency has mandated use of multimillion dollar incineration units on kilns for all new companies and those not in compliance with air quality standards.

September 29, 2000 - Filed Under: Fruit

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi blueberries proved this year that a drought isn't a bad thing if you have irrigation.

The state had a good blueberry crop this year with about 4 million pounds sold. John Braswell, Extension horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's South Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Poplarville, said about 80 percent of the state's 1,600 acres are located in the drought-stricken southeast part of the state. The drought actually was a benefit at harvest.

October 2, 2000 - Filed Under: Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If the start of fall were determined by hardwoods, fall came a couple months early across much of Mississippi this year.

Hardwoods began showing fall yellows, oranges and browns and dropping leaves by early September this summer, about six weeks ahead of schedule. Stephen Dicke, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said these trees weren't necessarily dying from the drought.

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