Feature Story from 2004
By Tricia Hopper
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wedding are among the most important events in most people's lives and often one of the most expensive, but careful planning can help reduce the costs without diminishing the enjoyment.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wedding guests love two sights: a beautiful bride walking down the aisle and scrumptious cakes at the reception.
Wedding cakes and grooms' cakes have challenges that brides do not face. They must be more than pretty; they must be tasty. Cakes served at 21st century weddings can be as individual as the happy couple themselves.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When selecting a caterer for a wedding, no detail is too trivial to consider when making decisions about the potential quality and cost for the service.
Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the food bill can be as much as 45 to 50 percent of the wedding expenses. Couples should select their caterers with a budget in mind as well as a clear understanding of everyone's expectations.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gone are the days when most wedding bells rang for first-time newlyweds with dreams of starting a family together. Today, many weddings join divorced or never-married parents and create newly blended families.
Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said communication is a major key to making the new grouping into a family.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While it's an honor to participate in a wedding, bridesmaids often must spend excessively for a gown that will only gather dust once the ceremony ends.
Phyllis Miller, associate professor of apparel, textiles, merchandising and interior design in Mississippi State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said recent trends could transform those pink chiffon horrors into outfits that can actually be worn again.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Three agricultural agencies are bringing Mississippi farmers together in six upcoming meetings to consider issues affecting their industry in 2004.
Mississippi State University's Extension Service, the Mississippi Farm Bureau and the National Resources Conservation Service are organizing the meetings between Jan. 27 and Feb. 27. Meeting sites will be in Tunica, Grenada, Stoneville, Hattiesburg, Raymond and Starkville.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- 4-H in Mississippi is looking for four young people to spend a week in Jackson supporting the operation of government during the 2004 legislative session.
Eligible candidates are 4-H youth ages 15 to 17 as of Jan. 1 who have at least a B average in high school. Participants will stay in Jackson and work as legislative pages or executive department interns March 15-19. Jan. 30 is the deadline to apply for the program.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many of Mississippi's row-crop farmers depend on the information gathered at the annual Delta Ag Expo in Cleveland to help them make farming decisions for the upcoming season.
This year's two-day agricultural exposition and educational event will be Jan. 20 and 21 at the Bolivar County Exposition Center. Admission is free, and the doors open daily at 8:30 a.m.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- It looks like an average camper trailer from the outside, but a new food safety lab at Mississippi State University lets veterinary researchers find ways of reducing bacteria in poultry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Each fall for the past 21 years, Mississippi State University students have managed a sale of top-quality livestock from herds of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. The latest sale was a record-breaking event.
"There were a record 600 people on hand for the November sale," said animal science professor Mike Boyd, whose students conducted the sale.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Insects, diseases and wild animals are among the pests that challenge horticulture crop producers. An upcoming workshop in Jackson will provide the latest recommendations for successfully managing these obstacles in 2004's crops.
Mississippi State University's Extension Service is sponsoring the General Pest Management Workshop at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum on March 2. Registration is $10 and begins at 8 a.m. for the full-day event to be held in the forestry building.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippi residents face more challenges to their success than others, but a Feb. 17 conference in Jackson is being designed to prepare workers to narrow the gap.
The Children, Youth and Families At Risk project, part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will conduct a one-day conference to enhance knowledge and skills needed by those trying to help at-risk groups.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The 2004 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions was an event for the record books as buyers set a new high total and paid a record price for a market hog.
More than 60 buyers at the Feb. 12 sale paid $197,684 for the 35 champion animals displayed by 4-H and FFA members. The previous record of $186,701 was set in 1999.
Gov. Haley Barbour told exhibitors that lessons such as self-reliance and responsibility learned raising and showing livestock will serve them well the rest of their lives.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Imported fire ants are a fact of life for Mississippians and most of their neighbors across the Southeast.
Scientists believe imported fire ants first arrived in the United States during 1918 at the port of Mobile, Ala., as stowaways on a ship from South America. Since then, the invaders have spread across most of the Southeast. Their name comes from the "fiery" sting of their bite.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While imported fire ants are a problem across the South, most species of ants are actually beneficial -- helping to aerate soil, disperse plant seeds, control insect pest species, and aiding in the decay process of dead plants and animals.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The deadline for catfish producers to apply for cash assistance to offset import competition and the required technical training is fast approaching.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Full accreditation of the Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory System confirms the state's animals receive the level of care they deserve.
In December, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians granted full accreditation to the four-laboratory system that includes labs in Jackson, Pearl, Starkville and Stoneville. The AAVLD accreditation committee conducted on-site inspections of the laboratories in September.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mad cow disease will be one of the health concerns dairy producers will discuss during an in-depth seminar on herd diseases Feb. 19 in Tylertown.
In addition to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), producers will learn about Johne's disease, the U.S. Animal Identification Program, biosecurity concerns and other issues related to dairy herd health.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most consumers never consider what happens to animal by-products that accumulate as farmers work to deliver safe, affordable food to their tables. But a recent meeting offered a platform for agricultural stakeholders to review efforts and consider future needs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When AgrAbility fitted a step onto Donald Vowell's all-terrain vehicle, he joined the group of about 60 Mississippians served by this program for people with a disability who live or work on farms.
Vowell, an Ackerman native, was 20 when he suffered a spinal cord injury in a car wreck. He was paralyzed from the chin down, but five months of spinal cord rehabilitation helped him learn to walk again.
"Now I can walk with the aid of a cane -- not real good, not real far, not real fast -- but I can do it," Vowell said.