Feature Story from 2001
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some veterinary students are going the extra mile academically and experientially to prepare themselves for careers improving food animal production.
Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is in its sixth year of a dual-degree program designed to prepare future animal health leaders. Dr. Skip Jack oversees the program that allows students to earn their doctorate of veterinary medicine and a master of science degree together in five years, rather than separately in six.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recently revised estimates indicate that last year's Mississippi farm and forest products values continued their three-year decline from 1997's high of $5 billion.
The total estimated value of Mississippi agricultural and forestry production for 2000 was $4.7 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Instead of showing a 2000 crop value increase from the previous year as earlier predicted, the state came in 1.2 percent lower than the $4.76 billion value registered in 1999.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Training opportunities and internet access are coming to several unlicensed home child-care providers across Mississippi in a project offering educational support on how best to care for their young clients.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Entomologists and exotic food connoisseurs alike are anticipating the arrival of the 13-year cicada in southwest Mississippi.
These insects live underground for 13 years before emerging for an adult life that lasts about two weeks. Brood 22 of periodic cicadas is expected to surface in Adams, Claiborne, Jefferson, Warren, Wilkinson and possibly Rankin counties in mid- to late-May.
Some people considered them a delicacy. The newly emerged adults can be fried, either battered or plain, dipped in sauce and eaten.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi veterinarians are sending scientific books, surgical instruments and X-ray machines to help an Albanian veterinary college recovering from the 1997 civil riots.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rice acreage is inching back toward 1999 levels, and April conditions helped propel the crop to a strong start for the 2001 growing season.
Mississippi growers planted 323,000 acres of rice in 1999 before poor market prices caused a 30 percent decline last year. This year, the prediction is for growers to plant 225,000 acres, about 5 percent more than in 2000.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The call an umpire makes in a close game pales in comparison to the call parents often must make when their child wants to quit sports.
Sports can teach youth teamwork, coordination, discipline and many other life skills. Early involvement in sports can set them on the road to life-long physical fitness and introduce them to something they'll continue to enjoy the rest of their life. Sports is also a great way to meet new people and make friends.
By Allison Matthews
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A lack of uniform freshness standards in the seafood industry and an intriguing visit to Dauphin Island, Ala., led Mississippi State University food science professor Douglas Marshall to brainstorm methods of improving seafood testing.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gardeners anticipate each spring as a time to get their plants off to a good start, but problems with weather can put a damper on the season.
Spring is usually a wet time in Mississippi, but this year was dry across much of the state. Gardeners trying to get a good start to their flowers and vegetables may have been disappointed. Specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service said the season is not lost even if it got off to a poor start.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Harvest conditions are about the only bright spots in the hay and pasture outlook in Mississippi.
Timing is everything in hay production. Pastures and fields need rain for growth, and producers need sunny days to preserve the quality of hay cuttings. Hay harvests are running ahead of schedule, but the lack of rain and cool nights are slowing pastures and second cuttings.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Like most lessons in life, children develop their eating habits by what they experience at home.
"When children are exposed to certain foods (healthy or not) in the home, they are much more likely to accept the same foods later," said Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Exposure may need to be as many as 18 to 20 times before a child accepts the food."
By Bonnie Coblentz
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Insects and humans seem to have the same idea about the nice weather in Mississippi since both are out in number when temperatures are pleasant.
Mosquitoes, wasps, horseflies, deerflies, chiggers and ticks are abundant in the state from late spring to mid-summer. These nuisances make their presence known at picnics, walks outside, swimming holes and other places people like to congregate and relax.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Researchers at Mississippi State University's Agribusiness Institute are in the process of determining consumer attitudes to genetically modified foods.
Genetic modifications of food are typically done to make the item easier for the farmer to produce or to make it more desirable for the consumer because of new or enhanced traits. For example, tomatoes have been modified to stay fresh on the shelf longer, a benefit to consumers, and soybeans have been developed to be resistant to a common weed killer, a benefit to farmers.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi farmers have the rest of the season to wait and see if the state's earliest soybean planting ever will pay off in a good crop this year.
Ideal spring planting conditions enabled state farmers to get about 85 percent of the crop in the ground by the middle of May, a pace that was 30 percent ahead of normal. Much of what remains to be planted will go onto fields that are double-cropped with wheat or are waiting on much-needed moisture.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi youth are doing what it takes to earn gold medals, but these awards are for personal improvement and service, not athletics.
Seven Mississippians are being honored with the gold Congressional Award, the U.S. Congress' only award given to recognize the outstanding achievements of youth. Seven other state youth received silver and bronze medals in the same program.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In a state where insects outnumber humans, it may be surprising that only a few Mississippians get sick every year from diseases carried by insects.
Dr. Mike Williams, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the best way to avoid getting an insect-borne disease is to prevent pests from biting.
"Watch the time of day you're outside and wear insect repellant," Williams said. "There are some diseases that are possible to get from insects we have in Mississippi."
By Charmain Courcelle
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A search for alternative fuels may uncover an additional source of income for Mississippi farmers and provide a solution to the waste disposal problems encountered by the state's agricultural industry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry conditions in April and May, especially in the Delta, played havoc with Mississippi's corn crop this spring, leaving the root systems confounded about which way to go.
Erick Larson, corn specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said wet conditions delayed planting some, but most of the crop was in the ground by the end of April.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Students typically come to teachers for education, but technology is enabling the education to come to students, especially in rural areas.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy products are among the best sources of calcium and many other nutrients, but not everyone consumes the recommended amounts of these products daily.
Health experts recommend that Americans eat three servings of dairy products daily. This quantity helps the body receive the calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, protein and vitamins A and D that it needs daily.