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Feature Story from 2004

May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A veteran crop scientist has been named head of Mississippi State University's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Michael Collins assumed his new duties in April, following more than 25 years in research, instruction and administration at the University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin.

May 27, 2004 - Filed Under: Green Industry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Wholesale greenhouse growers, retailers and landscape professionals from Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas will benefit from an upcoming conference at Hinds Community College in Raymond.

The Mid-South Greenhouse Growers' Conference at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center will begin with a 1 p.m. general session on June 8 and conclude at noon on June 10. The educational programs are co-sponsored by Mississippi State University's Extension Service, the Louisiana State University AgCenter and the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

May 28, 2004 - Filed Under: Rice

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry conditions during March enabled growers to plant much of the 2004 rice crop ahead of schedule and produce hopes for another good season -- this year with better price potential.

Mississippi rice growers harvested a record average in 2003 of 6,800 pounds per acre. The average price for the market year was $6.65 per hundredweight, which was a couple dollars more than the previous two years, but still low.

June 3, 2004 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year, June Dairy Month celebrates the "Power of 3" -- the number of dairy servings needed each day and the number of weeks experts say it takes to develop a healthy dairy habit.

Incorporating milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products into daily eating routines helps build strong bones and keep bodies healthy. The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association encourages families to serve these healthy foods at daily snack times for three weeks to give children and adults the opportunity to develop this healthy eating habit.

June 3, 2004 - Filed Under: Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most towns do not boast about losing, but West Point residents earned some serious bragging rights in a weight-loss challenge this year.

Prompted by Mississippi's recognition as the "fattest state in the nation," Clay County Extension Director Donna Cliett wanted to reverse the growing trend. In a showing of sincere commitment to healthier lifestyles, community residents lost nearly 6,000 pounds during the first three months of 2004.

June 4, 2004 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dairy producers finally have good reasons to celebrate June, National Dairy Month, as milk prices reach record levels and their heifers bring top dollar.

June 10, 2004 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In a country where animal agriculture makes up nearly one-third of the gross national product, quality veterinary care is a life-or-death need.

That's why veterinarians like Dr. Cory Langston volunteer to visit Third-World countries and assist with various issues affecting the animals there. Langston, a professor of clinical sciences at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently took a 10-day trip to Mongolia to evaluate laboratory needs and make recommendations for improvement.

June 10, 2004 - Filed Under: Soil Testing

By Bonnie Coblentz

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soil sampling provides a classic example of how a "one size fits all" approach to farming often is not a good idea.

Soil sampling involves taking small amounts of soil from representative areas of a garden or field and chemically processing it. The process determines the crop nutrient status of the soil, and provides a basis for recommendations on improving its production capability.

June 11, 2004 - Filed Under: Corn

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- "Pretty" is a useful adjective for describing a girlfriend or a Mississippi sunset, but this year's corn fields are producing similar admiration from crop watchers dreaming of a second year of record yields.

June 17, 2004 - Filed Under: Forages

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A common part of rural scenes in Mississippi alongside grazing cattle and picturesque houses and barns are the round bales of hay dotting pastures.

While it may look pretty, hay is not made for its beauty, and storing it outside can cut its value as a feed in half.

Richard Watson, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said hay stored outside typically loses 40 percent to 50 percent of its nutrients in one year. Losses come from weather, mold and animal waste.

June 17, 2004 - Filed Under: Forestry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newly elected officers for Mississippi State University's College of Forest Resources alumni are planning a "grand" 50th reunion for July 31.

Throughout the day, groups will tour campus locations such as the newly renovated Montgomery Hall, the Forest Products Lab, the wildlife holding pens and aquaculture unit. MSU baseball coach Ron Polk will be the guest speaker during the evening banquet in the Bost Extension Center.

June 17, 2004 - Filed Under: Forest Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new wrinkle in the tax code allows timber owners to deduct the cost of fertilizer as an ordinary and necessary business expense.

Deborah Gaddis, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said before the Internal Revenue Service ruling, fertilizer costs were treated as a capital expenditure and handled differently. Landowners now can deduct this cost all at once, up to certain limits, rather than recovering it over the expected life of the fertilizer, generally three years.

June 17, 2004 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most snakes in Mississippi are not venomous and many help keep mice populations down, but very few people want reptiles slithering near family homes.

Instead of purchasing questionable repellents, homeowners should invest their time in cleaning up their yards and eliminating snake habitats.

June 18, 2004 - Filed Under: Watermelons

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's commercial watermelons appear to have avoided significant disease problems despite frequent summer showers and are ripening in time for Fourth of July picnics.

Charles Waldrup, Smith County director for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said rains and humidity promote several diseases in watermelons. As the late spring rains steadily arrived across most of the state, growers noted only slight cases of diseases, such as gummy stem blight.

June 24, 2004 - Filed Under: Dairy, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A dairy farmer in Forest quadrupled the size of his herd and took advantage of technological innovations to give his production an edge in a financially tight industry.

Quinton Mills of Mills Dairy in Scott County recently completed construction on his expanded, state-of-the-art dairy facility. He went from milking about 100 cows four years ago to milking 400 today.

Making that increase in production meant he had to do some things differently.

June 24, 2004 - Filed Under: Dairy

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The heat of Mississippi summers presents a challenge to dairy farmers trying to keep their cows cool enough to produce abundant milk.

Traditional dairy barns are built with high ceilings so heat will rise and open sides that allow the free movement of air. Fans and water spray are used to cool the cattle.

June 24, 2004 - Filed Under: About Extension

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University is using its resources to help the state's manufacturers become more effective in a highly competitive global community.

The university is officially launching its new Industrial Outreach Service with the naming of Duane Motsenbocker as interim director. IOS will be staffed by a core group of professionals who will provide assistance directly to state industries. IOS will also provide a connection between industry and MSU faculty, students and researchers who can help solve a variety of technical and management problems.

June 25, 2004 - Filed Under: Wheat

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite worries caused by a wet winter and suspected herbicide drift, Mississippi's wheat crop will meet, if not exceed, 2000's record yields.

"I expect we will probably set a new record state average yield," said Erick Larson, grain crops agronomist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "I imagine we'll exceed the 2000 record of 55 bushels per acre. If we don't exceed it, we'll at least be very close to it."

July 1, 2004 - Filed Under: Animal Health

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A Mississippi State University veterinary graduate pledged to serve the U.S. Air Force as a public health officer during a June ceremony at the Wise Center.

Dr. Misty Purvis, a May 2004 College of Veterinary Medicine graduate, will be based at Eglin Air Force Base, one of the largest military bases in the world, near Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She will be responsible for the health of the troops based there, dealing mainly with zoonotic and communicable diseases.

July 1, 2004 - Filed Under: About Extension, Cotton

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The new Extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University is a weed scientist who is no stranger to MSU or agronomic crops.

Before Tom Barber was named the MSU Extension Service cotton specialist on July 1, he spent three and a half years at MSU working with cotton and corn. Most recently, he was responsible for managing 170 acres of remote sensing, site-specific precision agriculture and weed control field and plot research.

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