Feature Story from 2001
MISSISSIPPI STATE &endash; A better-than-expected national forecast for cotton production is not helping the troubled price outlook for growers as they approach the harvest season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released production estimates on Aug. 10. The outlook for corn and soybeans appears more favorable than that for cotton. The report predicts a 7 percent national decrease in corn production compared to the 2000 crop. Soybeans are only increasing slightly, up 4 percent nationally. Cotton will make the biggest national increase, up 16 percent.
By Carrie Reeves
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Whether baked, boiled, stir-fried or steamed, vegetables are a vital part of a healthy daily diet, and the storage and preparation methods are the keys to retaining nutritional value.
Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said vegetables are important to healthy diets, but their nutritional value depends on how they are prepared.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some state dairy producers have been given the opportunity to manage risk through cost share participation in the milk futures market.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Confirmed cases of encephalitis and the potential for the West Nile Virus in Mississippi have health officials at a state of heightened awareness to the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many soybean farmers across the state are seeing great yields cut in half or more as heavy rains are causing seed deterioration before the crop is harvested.
Group 4 soybean varieties that were ready for harvest are being hit the hardest from a week of rains that came near mid-August. Specialists have identified the disease that is deteriorating the seed in the pods as phomopsis. Yield losses are estimated as high as 50 to 60 percent in some fields.
By Carrie Reeves
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Companion planting to keep harmful insects out of gardens is an old practice gleaned from years of experimentation and folklore passed down through generations.
Gardeners use this practice to camouflage, confuse and repel pests and disease by planting vegetables, flowers and herbs that compliment each other.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farms seem like beautiful, safe places, but they can present dangers to those living and working on them.
Children can be at particular risk unless precautions are taken. Sept. 16 through 22 has been set aside as National Farm Safety and Health Week with the theme this year of "Kids #1 in 2001."
Herb Willcutt, agricultural engineer with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said Mississippi has relatively few children working in agriculture, but two or three children are killed in farm-type accidents each year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A two-year trial pitted kenaf against pearl millet and a mix of dallisgrass and bermudagrass to see which forage brought the best results in cattle production.
More questions may have been raised than were answered, and Mississippi State University researchers would like to conduct the tests over a few more years to learn more.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent rulings on Canadian lumber trade could have far reaching effects on Mississippi landowners considering the timber market this fall.
Bob Daniels, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the bottom of the pine sawtimber stumpage market is probably behind, thanks in part to the recent tariff imposed on Canadian softwood lumber imports.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Caregiving is an act of love that takes a lot from a person who provides care to someone who cannot look after themselves.
According to the most recent figures available from the National Long Term Care Survey, 65 percent of older Americans who live at home and need assistance are cared for by family and friends. Thirty percent have some paid help, while just 5 percent rely completely on paid help.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heightened awareness and crime prevention measures may be the keys to comfortable, independent lifestyles, especially for vulnerable individuals.
Herb Willcutt, an agricultural engineer with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said there are several ways homeowners can make their homes more secure. These are especially good practices for elderly people and women living alone.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Late summer rains are pushing Mississippi yields to the verge of a multi-crop disaster.
Will McCarty, leader of Extension plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University, said the list of rain-related problems or potential problems is a long one. Excessive moisture and warm temperatures are causing seeds to rot and/or sprout in the heads of grain sorghum, soybeans and cotton in some areas. Saturated soils are increasing the risk of winds putting some crops on the ground and complicating the upcoming harvest.
By Carrie Reeves
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With hurricane season underway and the potential for flooding across parts of Mississippi, now is a good time to put together emergency food supplies and other necessities in the case of a disaster.
Food items with a long shelf life are recommended, but prepare early, because these products disappear from stores quickly when disaster warnings are issued.
By Charmain Tan Courcelle
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A research and outreach program at Mississippi State University is helping the state's poultry industry meet new federal food safety regulations.
The food safety program, a partnership between the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the College of Veterinary Medicine, will also enable the industry to continue to provide safe and wholesome poultry products for the consumer.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The joys of winning the big game and celebrating with an impressive picnic meal can fade quickly if a foodborne illness is part of the post-game aftermath.
The physical effects of a foodborne illness can hit quickly or days after consuming food that has not been handled properly. Often, the culprit cannot be seen, smelled or tasted when the meal is being enjoyed. Some of the more at-risk foods include meats, milk products and eggs, or foods that contain those items.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Ensuring the safety of the food supply is a never-ending effort that requires the participation of everyone involved with food.
Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said everyone is a partner in making sure the food eaten is safe.
"It's not the responsibility of the government, growers, farmers, restaurants or consumers. It's everyone's responsibility because somewhere in the process, we all handle food," Mixon said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children often need extra attention whenever catastrophic events dominate the news and generate increased concerns among adults.
Louise Davis, family and child development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said children often realize when parents are concerned or scared by disasters such as the United States has experienced. Children often experience great feelings of insecurity and need special attention to calm their fears.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Late August rains that devastated much of the state's row crops at harvest appear to have spared rice from much of the losses.
Joe Street, rice specialist at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said 15 to 20 percent of the rice is down, or lodged, because of the rains.
"Harvest was just getting started when the rain began," Street said. "It delayed harvest for 10 days or so and caused some lodging. Much of the rice that is down and some of the rice still standing has germinated."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Companies trying to remain competitive look for every way to be more efficient and increase profits, and one way to do that is to become lean.
Lean production is a concept learned from Japanese automaker Toyota that emphasizes producing more with less effort, raw materials, space and waste. It is also a concept being taught by the Food and Fiber Center at Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new program that fulfills outdoor dreams of youth with life-threatening diseases got a boost from friends of a youngster who died participating in an outdoor activity.
Sixth grader Josh Thurman died in March in an ATV accident. Not content to remember him through a traditional memorial, his class at Brookhaven Academy decided to make a gift to the Catch-A-Dream Program in Josh's name.