Feature Story from 2006
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cool spring temperatures may have contributed to an increase in herbicide drift damage to Mississippi's rice fields this year.
“We may have had more wind this spring, and the cold weather probably weakened the plants and made them more susceptible to drift,” said Don Respess, Bolivar County director for Mississippi State University's Extension Service. “Uninjured plants have responded well to fertilizer and water applied in the last weeks of May and are looking good.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers trying to stay ahead of the Asian soybean rust threat to their Mississippi crop have a new information resource.
Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said as of late May, the disease had not been detected in any of Mississippi or Alabama’s sentinel plots, although it has been detected in five patches of kudzu in Alabama. Those monitoring the disease have not seen it move yet to any soybeans this year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A forestry timber tax specialist at Mississippi State University was named Extension Forester of the Year by the Forest Landowner Association.
Debbie Gaddis, associate Extension professor in the College of Forest Resources, received the honor at the recent annual meeting of the organization in San Antonio, Texas.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Heat and humidity make it uncomfortable to work or play strenuously outside during Mississippi summers, but the high temperatures can be more than an inconvenience.
Jane Clary, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said heat exhaustion, heat stroke, also known as sun stroke, and heat cramps are all caused by physical exertion without adequate hydration. All are caused when the body fails to cool itself adequately. While most common in the summer, they can occur in cold weather, too.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's commercial watermelon producers enjoyed an early start for their crop, but now nonirrigated melons are reaching a critical need for water to finish maturing in time for the
Fourth of July.
Smith County Extension director Charles Waldrup said watermelons had excellent conditions early in the season, but they are facing an urgent need for water. This year's melons should be very sweet because of the growing conditions.
MISSISSIPPI STATE-- A Mississippi State University economist has been named a Fellow of a nonprofit organization working to improve the economic health of agriculture.
Darren Hudson, an associate professor in MSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics, is a 2006 Farm Foundation Fellow. This is the program’s first year and the MSU economist is one of three named to the initial class.
Founded in 1933, the Farm Foundation’s mission includes funding and promoting research to produce practical tools for improving the well-being of people in rural America.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Good intentioned Mississippians try to rescue hundreds of baby birds and animals they find each year, but wildlife experts caution that often these tiny animals do not need help.
The first thing to remember when finding a baby animal or bird is that it is against state law to keep the animal, even just to save its life. Contact the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine or a local, licensed wildlife rehabilitator to rescue the animal.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hot, dry conditions are not unusual for Mississippi summers, but the rapid change from mild spring weather is increasing stress on crops, pastures and livestock.
The need for rain spreads from the top of the state to the Gulf Coast. Farmers who dreaded the start of hurricane season now find themselves wishing for a mild tropical storm.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Community leaders and residents looking for ways to diversify an area’s traditional agriculturally based economy may find their answers at an upcoming summit on regional tourism.
The 2006 Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Summit will be Aug. 9-11 in Natchez. This summit targets the area of eastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. Predominately situated along the Mississippi River, this region boasts a natural, rural setting that is rich in history, beauty and attractions. The educational program will focus on the importance of tourism to a region.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Beautiful lawns and gardens show that experienced gardeners know how to use fertilizer, but the novice often finds the array of options, timing schedules and application rates confusing.
Horticulture specialists with Mississippi State University shared some tips on fertilizer use to take some pressure off gardeners who want to do what is best for their plants.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry weather throughout the early growing season has commercial tomato growers thankful for fewer foliar diseases, less tomato spotted wilt virus and their irrigation systems.
“Almost all of Mississippi's commercial tomatoes are grown with drip irrigation, so they are doing well,” said David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. “Some growers in north Mississippi still have had a challenge keeping up with water demands because of the northerly winds.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians learned the hard way last year that what they thought was enough supplies for a disaster was not.
When a storm approaches, those in the path can expect to see long lines at gas stations, a run on plywood, and stores sold out of bottled water, bread and batteries.
Last-minute preparations carried most people through the majority of storms in recent history. But last August, Hurricane Katrina showed the nation why it is important to truly stock up on supplies in advance and have a working family disaster plan.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane season under way means South Mississippi residents living in portable housing have a greater-than-ever need to pay attention to the weather.
Months after Hurricane Katrina changed the face of the Gulf Coast, many communities have the majority of their remaining residents living in manufactured homes, travel trailers and Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Scattered rainfall brought relief to crops in some areas of Mississippi during late June, but drought conditions continue to grip most of the state.
“The crop statewide needs a good rain,” said Alan Blaine, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “The potential for this crop in general is still better than many may think, but fields that have not caught some of the scattered showers and are not under irrigation are just a few days away from the point of no return for reaching anywhere near normal yields.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most people looking at the new U.S. Department of Agriculture horticulture laboratory in Poplarville see brick, concrete, glass and steel. Jim Spiers sees something else -- cooperation.
Spiers is the USDA-Agricultural Research Service research leader at the facility, which was dedicated in May as the Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in honor of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- They are an unlikely pair -- a man with a career dedicated to discipline and a pup whose first months of life were spent running with a pack of strays. How the man and the dog came together also involved unlikely circumstances.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Dry weather statewide since mid-May has stressed Mississippi's corn crop and is expected to push yields well below recent levels.
“The thing that really broke farmers' backs this year is it's been a lot drier than normal,” said Erick Larson, small grains specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We got into a summer weather pattern in mid-May where all we saw was scattered showers, and we usually don't get into that type of weather until after the Fourth of July.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many college freshmen enjoying their first taste of real freedom find themselves caught up in some habits they will struggle to overcome later.
The social opportunities of college combined with freedom from parental limits make being a freshman an exciting time. While some young adults handle the transition well, others living alone for the first time start eating poorly, do not get enough rest, and drink or smoke for the first time or to excess.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Students expand their skills and knowledge of the Internet every year, so parents need to increase their efforts to monitor their children's activity and help them use this technology in a safe manner.
Ted Gordon, a Mississippi State University Extension Service safety specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, said parents should not only establish Internet rules, they should monitor its use.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Schools are making sure children have healthy food options during the day, and parents should do their part to see that healthy eating continues at home.
The U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Child Nutrition Act, is requiring all schools this year to adopt a wellness policy, and is encouraging all schools to offer only healthy foods and drinks off serving lines and in vending machines. To continue the day's healthy diet, parents are being encouraged to stock healthy snack and supper options at home.