Feature Story from 2006
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Christmas trees need special attention before, during and after their magical season under the lights.
Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said producing Christmas trees is labor intensive. Growers have to be good retailers during the holiday season, and good farmers during the entire year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Christmas tree growers are facing a new and welcomed challenge in the coming years: keeping up with the increasing demand for their fresh products.
Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers have been surprised by the recent surge of interest in live trees.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Two Egyptian food safety officials have visited Mississippi State University as part of the Cochran Fellowship Program.
Dr. Abdel Azim A.E. Bayoumy and Dr. Safwat A. El Hadded were in Mississippi almost two weeks during November for training sessions and tours of agricultural facilities.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A carpet of red poinsettias and other holiday plants will great visitors on Dec. 1 at Mississippi State University’s annual horticulture open house.
Poinsettias in all shades of red, pink and white, as well as a few novelty-type plants, will be on display from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the greenhouses on Stone Boulevard behind Dorman Hall. Poinsettias also will be on sale at the greenhouses.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Freezing foods before company arrives can reduce stress during the holiday crunch.
Brent Fountain, a nutrition professor with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said cooking ahead of time and freezing dishes is much easier than exhaustive efforts the day before or the day of a large holiday meal. Proper wrapping for freezer storage is important in maintaining the food's quality.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's pecan trees endured the summer's drought to produce more nuts than expected for holiday meals this year.
David Ingram is an associate plant pathologist at Mississippi State University's Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond. He said most commercial growers are surprised with yields following the hurricane damage to trees in 2005 and the drought of this summer. He said rains during pollination and nut setting time helped load trees before the drought hit.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Little potted plants placed in temporary classrooms in south Mississippi are doing more than beautifying the sparse atmospheres -- they also are improving the air quality in these small buildings.
The 4-H Youth Development Program, part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, recently launched a new effort, the 4-H Grow Fresh Air Project. The initiative is operating in Hancock County, with plans to expand it across the state next year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cutting-edge genetic research by a Mississippi State University animal scientist may help solve a problem that costs livestock producers millions of dollars each year.
The research by Erdogan Memili, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, is aimed at improving fertility in cattle and can be applied to other mammals.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crow control in commercial pecan orchards, soybean rust and termites are among the topics that will be discussed in the upcoming Integrated Pest Management workshop in Raymond on Jan. 24.
Mississippi State University’s Extension Service is sponsoring the General Pest Management Workshop at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center. Registration is $10 and begins at 8 a.m. for the full-day event that will be held in the auditorium.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hundreds of growers, crop consultants and scientists will journey to Vicksburg on Jan. 5 when Mississippi hosts the 50th annual Tri-State Soybean Forum.
The event is sponsored this year by Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Research and Extension, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and Soybean South magazine, among others supporters of the soybean industry.
By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE -- The increasing global demand for corn, a primary ingredient in catfish feed, will cause production costs to continue to rise, making it more difficult for producers to earn a profit.
“Our feed prices are not going to go down,” said Mississippi State University agricultural economist Terry Hanson. He was speaking to a crowd of catfish farmers and researchers at the recent National Warmwater Aquaculture Center fall 2006 seminar at the MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.
By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE -- U.S. farm-raised catfish land top honors as an environmentally friendly product in the fish and seafood category.
Researchers Craig Tucker and Jimmy Avery explained some of the benefits of these accolades to a crowd of catfish producers and researchers at the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center fall 2006 seminar held recently at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Flooded markets and dry fields were leading causes of an estimated 11 percent decline in Mississippi's farm value of production for 2006.
John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, is predicting a total agricultural value of $5.8 billion, which includes a 29 percent decline in government payments. Mississippi's total farm-gate value in 2005 was $6.5 billion.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton's reign as king of Mississippi's row crops remained unchallenged in 2006 as it posted an estimated $583 million production value, but growers paid a high price to bring it to harvest.
Cotton's estimated value rose 9 percent from the state's $533 million production in 2005.
“It was a real frustrating year,” said Tom Barber, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Some people picked the best crop they've ever picked, but it was probably the most expensive crop they've ever paid for.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane-damaged trees that flooded the market and drove prices down are the primary cause for an expected 9.6 percent decline in Mississippi's timber harvest value.
Marc Measells, a research and Extension associate with Mississippi State University's Department of Forestry, recently predicted the state's timber harvest value at $1.3 billion in 2006, compared to $1.45 billion the previous year. He based his estimate on timber severance tax collections and timber prices through October.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Worldwide, unrealized fears of an avian influenza outbreak hurt exports of Mississippi poultry, bringing the estimated value of the state's largest commodity down 10 percent.
Poultry posted an estimated 2006 value of almost $2 billion, down 10.4 percent from the $2.2 billion value posted in 2005. Broilers took the biggest hit, down almost 12 percent to $1.8 billion from the $2.1 billion posted in 2005.
“We had a challenging year,” said Tim Chamblee, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Careful Mississippians know that the usefulness of a Christmas tree does not have to end with the holidays as the tree can serve other purposes after the decorations come down.
The National Christmas Tree Association calls Christmas tree recycling treecycling and states online that more than 33 million real Christmas trees are sold in North America.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A multidisciplinary effort at Mississippi State University to create an agricultural genomic database has resulted in a million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The funding will support ongoing efforts to enlarge AgBase, an online database developed by College of Veterinary Medicine researcher Dr. Shane Burgess and College of Engineering researcher Susan Bridges. Burgess and Bridges are also co-directors of the Institute for Digital Biology at MSU.