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Feature Story from 2004

September 23, 2004 - Filed Under: Disaster Response, Lawn and Garden

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi plant nurseries mostly succeeded in minimizing damage from Hurricane Ivan, but their biggest challenges still may be ahead of them.

Fred Croom has been running Croom's Nursery in George County for four years. As Hurricane Ivan approached, he removed the shade cloth and plastic from his greenhouses and waited out the storm. After Ivan passed, Croom's 19 greenhouses, 10,000 mums, 4,000 ferns and 20,000 pansies were mostly fine, but his market in Mobile was gone.

September 24, 2004 - Filed Under: Peanuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The wind and rain brought by Hurricane Ivan did not hurt the state's peanut crop, and producers in South Mississippi are expecting a 2-ton per acre harvest to match last year's yield.

Mike Howell, area agent for agronomic crops with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said harvest is just starting. Howell covers a 21-county area from headquarters in Covington County, and said the year appears to have been a good one for peanuts.

September 30, 2004 - Filed Under: Biofuels

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Record high oil prices are focusing a lot of attention on alternative energy sources, including biodiesel, a fuel derived from vegetable oils.

Since soybean oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in biodiesel, it would seem soybean producers would be among its biggest fans. Farm use of biodiesel, however, is not widespread, and that concerns Thomas Howarth, who grows soybeans on his Circle H Farm near Cleveland.

"I would like to see more farmers aware of biodiesel," he said. "I'm lucky to live in an area where it's available."

September 30, 2004 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Equine

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A team of Mississippi State University veterinary researchers hopes to find the genetic defect responsible for a devastating skin disease in American quarter horses.

September 30, 2004 - Filed Under: About Extension, Technology

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's Extension Service employees still travel dirt roads, but they are also on super highways; their communication efforts have made similar progress.

New video conferencing lines are enabling the Mississippi State University Extension Service to save costs in travel and time as well as expand their reach into communities throughout the state, nation and world.

October 1, 2004 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's shrimping industry dodged the worst of Hurricane Ivan, but other parts of the Gulf of Mexico were not as fortunate.

Hurricane Ivan in September made an indirect hit on the Mississippi Gulf Coast while hitting Alabama and Florida. Three others hit Florida this season.

Dave Burrage, Extension fisheries specialist at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said Mississippi fishermen weren't affected by Ivan nearly as much as those farther east.

October 7, 2004 - Filed Under: Trees

By Tricia Hopper

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Trees provide shade and beauty and are considered an asset to most campuses, communities and homes, but they can become a liability as they age.

Mississippi State University is home to hundreds of trees of numerous species used to beautify areas and provide shade and shelter. Whenever a significant storm comes through, trees may be damaged or lost. In the concentrated area of campus, falling trees and limbs pose a significant danger to cars, buildings and people.

October 7, 2004 - Filed Under: Trees

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Trees often are left in cattle pastures for shade and beauty, but research has shown that they can be planted there as a second crop without hindering the first.

Cattle, hay and lumber can be produced on the same ground at the same time. Known as silvopasture, it is the practice of growing widely spaced pine trees on land that is being farmed for cattle and hay production.

October 7, 2004 - Filed Under: Pets

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When Mississippi State University President Charles Lee bought his wife Pat a puppy for Christmas, the family grew in much the same way as if a child had been born.

Little Grands Yeux -- that's French for Big Eyes -- celebrated her first birthday Sept. 20, and Mrs. Lee said the standard schnauzer is a beloved part of the Lee family.

"I absolutely do consider her a member of our family and, frankly, I give her everything I would give a child," Lee said. "She's a bit spoiled, actually."

October 7, 2004 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some are spooky, some are funny, some are just strange, and they're all waiting to greet visitors to the Scarecrow Trail at the Northeast Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

The Scarecrow Trail opened to the public Sept. 25 and will remain open through Oct. 25. The trail winds though gardens filled with flowers and landscape plants.

October 8, 2004 - Filed Under: Sweet Potatoes

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's sweet potato crop will finish like it started: at the mercy of the weather.

Bill Burdine, area agronomist in Chickasaw County with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said above-average rainfall in late May and early June divided the 2004 sweet potatoes into two distinct crops.

October 14, 2004 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean producers are learning that planting fewer seeds can mean higher profits.

Rising seed technology fees are encouraging soybean producers to be frugal as they plant.

Soybean seed costs about $26 to $27 a bag this year, but there is speculation it will rise to as much as $35 as seed companies pass on a higher cost of research and development.

October 14, 2004 - Filed Under: Soybeans

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Soybean yields that once would have seemed phenomenal now are a little disappointing for a Tupelo producer.

Keith Wiseman knows how to manage his crop the SMART way -- with the Soybean Management by Application of Research and Technology program. SMART is provided through the Mississippi State University Extension Service and funded by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board. Wiseman said he has seen dramatically increased yields on his 300 acres of soybeans since adopting SMART management techniques.

October 14, 2004 - Filed Under: Food

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Entrepreneurs who dream of creating and manufacturing food products can learn how to make those dreams reality at a day-long conference offered in Meridian in November.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring Food as a Business Nov. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kahlmus Auditorium on the MSU-Meridian campus. Registration for the conference is $35 and includes lunch, breaks and conference materials. Speakers represent the Extension Service, the Mississippi Development Authority, and retail and manufacturing industries.

October 14, 2004 - Filed Under: Family

By Linda Breazeale

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The national flu vaccine shortage will eliminate the single best option for preventing the flu for some Mississippians, but officials are encouraging the state's residents to consider all their health options.

Liz Sharlot, director of communications with the Mississippi State Department of Health, said people who are most at risk for the flu and its serious complications should make every effort to get vaccinated.

October 15, 2004 - Filed Under: Cotton

cMISSISSIPPI STATE -- After a season of unprecedented weather challenges, the biggest uncertainty remaining for Mississippi's cotton growers is whether or not they will top last year's record yields.

2003 went down in the record books with yields averaging 932 pounds per acre. 2004 will go down in the record books for the wettest June and coldest first week in August. Then growers faced a Category IV hurricane as it bore down on the state on the eve of the harvest season. While some fields took a hit from Hurricane Ivan, the bulk of the state's crop was spared.

October 21, 2004 - Filed Under: Corn, Beef

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers have traditionally worked hard to keep cows out of their corn, but Dr. Steve Redding is glad to see part of his herd grazing in corn.

Redding is a full-time veterinarian and a part-time cattleman in Lafayette County. For the past two years, he has devoted seven acres of his pasture to corn planted with just minimum tillage. He grazes heifers on the standing corn from late summer through early fall. The results, he said, have been good and he plans to put more of his herd on corn grazing next year.

October 21, 2004 - Filed Under: About Extension, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Translating research findings into useful educational programs has been the Extension Service's priority throughout its 90 years, but today's challenge includes an additional step: reaching the state's growing population of Spanish speakers.

Katrina McCalphia, 4-H agent in Newton County with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is starting a Spanish 4-H club. She has recruited a Hispanic mother to be the volunteer leader for the club, and she is seeking Hispanic/Latino and American youth to join it.

October 21, 2004 - Filed Under: Wildlife

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians anticipate it all year long but often fail to consider the safety and legal issues that come along with deer hunting season.

Ben West, wildlife professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said tree stand safety is one of the most often overlooked areas of hunting safety.

"Many more people are injured each year falling out of tree stands than in firearm accidents," West said. "It's very important to give a good inspection first if you're using a tree stand that's been up for a while."

October 22, 2004 - Filed Under: Nuts

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's pecan growers were expecting a light crop in 2004, but zero is significantly worse than some were anticipating.

David Ingram, Extension plant pathologist and research professor with the Central Research and Extension Center in Raymond, said pecans are an alternate-bearing crop, meaning good years are typically followed by smaller crops the next.


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