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Feature Story from 2001

February 12, 2001 - Filed Under: Youth Livestock, 4-H Livestock Program

JACKSON -- Mississippi's young champion livestock exhibitors received top dollars for their market animals at the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions, but the total sales seem to parallel the growing concern in the agricultural economy.

Young people in 4-H and FFA recently concluded their 2000-2001 season in Jackson with the No. 1 youth livestock sale east of the Mississippi River.

February 12, 2001 - Filed Under: Catfish

By Chantel Lott

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Computer software can ease the burden of paperwork in fish farming, and the latest release of Fishy 2001 will continue to help farmers make the most of their ponds.

On April 1, Fishy 2001 a microcomputer program developed at Mississippi State University will be available for fish farmers. Fishy records, analyzes and makes reports for fish farmers to keep track of fish numbers, feedings, weights and sizes.

February 12, 2001 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The howls of coyotes in the night may sound eerie to some, chilling to others, but for animal owners, the howls may be a reminder of a problem.

Coyote population has expanded across the United States. Their highly adaptable nature has helped them cope with widely varying habitats. The predator is common in Mississippi, where a few decades ago it was unknown.

"When I was a kid growing up here in Mississippi there were no coyotes," said Dean Stewart, Mississippi State University Extension wildlife associate.

February 19, 2001 - Filed Under: Turfgrass and Lawn Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eighteen-year-old Jonathan Greer runs his own wholesale turfgrass business from his wheelchair with help of partners brought together by Mississippi State University's AgrAbility.

Jonathan's father, Grover Greer, farms about 1,750 acres of cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat in Sharkey County. About a year ago, Greer said they looked for occupations where Jonathan's cerebral palsy would not be a disadvantage.

February 19, 2001 - Filed Under: Equine

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Lush, green fescue may look ideal for livestock before summer grasses are available, but beware of the invisible threat for pregnant horses lurking inside the winter grass.

Peter Ryan, assistant professor of animal science at Mississippi State University, said fescue is a common forage grass for horses and other livestock in the southeastern United States, but it is frequently infected with a strain of endophyte. The fungus is not harmful to the grass, but it can be hazardous to grazing animals and their offspring.

February 19, 2001 - Filed Under: Farming

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A farmer has a much greater need to know local weather information than someone trying to decide whether or not to carry an umbrella, so for the last four years, Mississippi State University has provided this detailed data to Delta growers.

In 1996, the National Weather Service stopped offering agricultural weather and climate services from Stoneville and other similar locations nationwide. When this happened, farmers no longer could get ag weather forecasts, advisories and observations, frost forecasts, 30-day ag weather outlook or specialized ag services.

February 19, 2001 - Filed Under: Food

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Old wives tales make great claims about honey's health benefits, but one undisputable aspect of Mother Nature's product is its pure-tasting sweetness.

Melissa Mixon, Extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said honey is useful to have handy when cooking, and it can often substitute for much of the sugar in recipes. Honey is up to twice as sweet as sugar. It gives food a golden quality, and many people's tastebuds can't get enough of it.

February 26, 2001 - Filed Under: Rural Development

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Economic development is high on the priority list across the South, but some experts believe a contributor to this success is being overlooked.

Home-based businesses annually bring millions of dollars to the rural economies of the South. These are the earliest business form, and offer rural communities the opportunity to develop local assets and keep residents in the community.

February 26, 2001 - Filed Under: Community

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The dream-granting program Bruce Brady envisioned while fighting his own battle with cancer was realized this year when 13-year-old Richard Dickson Jr. of Greene County experienced an outdoor adventure to remember.

February 26, 2001 - Filed Under: Waste Management

By Charmain Tan Courcelle

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Research conducted at Mississippi State University will soon alter existing state nutrient management plans for Mississippi broiler producers since broiler house conditions are different than what was expected.

February 26, 2001 - Filed Under: Children and Parenting

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children love watching favorite television programs or movies, but when they are glued to the screen too much during development years, experts say the results get two thumbs down.

"Many studies are showing that media in large doses can have a significant negative impact on children," said Linda Patterson, Extension health specialist at Mississippi State University.

March 5, 2001 - Filed Under: Plant Diseases

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tomato spotted wilt virus is a persistent and growing problem for commercial tomato producers and home gardeners, but new resistant varieties are available for this growing season.

Alan Henn, Extension plant pathologist at Mississippi State University, said spotted wilt is a common strain of tospovirus that is becoming a more costly threat to many crops in the South and the rest of the nation.

March 5, 2001 - Filed Under: Farming

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Local cooperatives are as much a part of the agriculture scene as are farmers, but changes in agriculture are prompting similar changes in these businesses.

Darron Hudson, MAFES agricultural economist at Mississippi State University, said co-ops are formed when a group of producers pool their resources to gain a market advantage.

March 5, 2001 - Filed Under: Nutrition

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Neglecting nutritional needs at any stage of life is risky, but for senior adults, the results could reduce their quality of life significantly.

Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said older adults should watch their diets closely, especially if they are prone to heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.

March 12, 2001 - Filed Under: 4-H

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Something fishy in Mississippi schools is motivating students to learn all about the state's fishery resources.

A new school enrichment module, "Something's Fishy in Mississippi," is now available to fourth grade classrooms through local 4-H agents. The traveling module features a large interactive display accompanied by two personal computers and CD-ROMs, as well as lesson materials to help teachers plan for two weeks of learning activities.

March 12, 2001 - Filed Under: Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- What goes into farmland as additives impacts the The Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is the amount of a particular pollutant that can be released safely to surface water per day. TMDLs are set by the state Department of Environmental Quality, and are designed to ensure that state waters continue to meet quality standards.

March 19, 2001 - Filed Under: Pesticide Applicator Certification

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hundreds of Mississippians apply pesticides for private or commercial purposes, and training sessions help ensure applicators handle chemicals safely for humans and the environment.

March 19, 2001 - Filed Under: Soils

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rising fertilizer costs brought on by natural gas price increases are no longer a future worry but a present problem for Mississippi farmers.

Natural gas prices rose from $2.30 per million British thermal units to almost $10 between January and December 2000. Much of that increase came in the last couple months of the year. But why do high gas bills affect farmers more than workers in other industries?

March 26, 2001 - Filed Under: Water

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two years of drought lowered Mississippi's underground water supplies, but recent rains have stopped the loss and should be helping replenish formations.

Aquifers are underground water stores found in sand and gravel confined between layers of clay or solid rock. These geologic formations overlap each other at varying depths and extend for miles. Individuals and municipalities tap into these aquifers with wells to supply the population's water needs.

March 26, 2001 - Filed Under: Food and Health

By Allison Matthews

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soft drinks, fast foods and super sizing are among the bad snacking habits of most Americans, and the rate of obesity in young people reflects the trend.

The increasing number of obese and overweight children is so significant that many health officials consider it an epidemic. With the extra pounds, children also gain an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

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